Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Importer Spotlight ~ Giulio Galli

Giulio Galli and Guido Folonari, planning for the future.

This one is easy. Recently, I worked with Giulio Galli, who has a little jewel of an Italian portfolio. What makes it even more rewarding, is that Giulio has street smarts, knows where to look, is hungry and knows how to ask for the order. Could he teach a class for the other importers and their representatives?

A young man in his late 30’s, Italian by birth, and recently, American by marriage. Well educated in the financial world, Giulio could make a ton of money doing something else. But the young man learned early about something important in life – being able to sail his own ship.

The portfolio is made up of other young winemakers, Giudo Folonari, Francesca Moretti and Stefano Baroncini to name three. And they talk regularly and happily. Good communications with his Italian partners from his American base, keeping them focused on this market and the particularities of the American market needs.

Many years ago I saw my friend Eugenio Spinozzi start his company Tricana, and struggle with his Italian-ness. Most people loved Eugenio, and he gave a lot back. But my friend wasn’t the greatest businessman, and over time his idea of how to grow the business didn’t seem to make it to the levels of folks like Leonardo Lo Cascio and Tony Terlato. Not that everyone has to make it in that scale. But after 25 years one should have a strong base. Bon anima, amico.

But Giulio strikes me as a young man who, along with his winery partners, are part of the healthy future of the Italian wine business. The FUTURE.

Small portfolio, well defined. One winery, Baroncini, which pulls the wagon. Boutique gems like Petra, L’Illuminata and Contadi Castaldi. It doesn’t hurt that these properties have resort escapes attached to them, with chefs like Alain Ducasse and Gualtiero Marchesi as anchor attractions to the upper-scale getaways. This is the new Italian elegance combined with a rural respect for mother earth. It makes one want to sell more of these wines, just to be able to spend a few days in a place where one might re-assemble their sanity.

Great architecture and great chefs. Wines aren’t too shabby either. Youth and smarts. I think this will be fun to watch, and be a part of. I’m excited. Welcome on in, Giulio & Co.

Giulio's Italian wine portfolio includes Baroncini, L'Illuminata, Davide Feresin, Campo Bargello, Franco Terpin, Carron, Germano Ettore, Corbera and Vinae Italiae.
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