Notes From the Winemaker - March 11th, 2014


On the 20th of last month, at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the President of the Italian Republic conferred the nation's highest award for industry upon our founder and owner, Gianni Zonin. As you can easily imagine, I can not resist adding my gratitude to that of Italian people everywhere, for what he has done to uphold recognition for Italian excellence throughout the world. I know the friends of our wines will be just as glad to receive this news.
Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy, conferring the Premio Leonardo upon Gianni Zonin, Quirinale Palace, Rome
Order of the Cavaliere del Lavoro Umberto I

The Leonardo Award, Premio Leonardo, represents a public and private consensus, confirmed by a Board of leading figures drawn from the three fields in which Leonardo da Vinci excelled - the arts, science, and technology - and from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Cultural Activities and Heritage. It is an annual award, originating 21 years ago, for that entrepreneur who has significantly distinguished the nation, for the highest quality in manufacture and design. Previous recipients have been Sergio Pininfarina, coachbuilder to Ferrari and Maserati as well as to FIAT; Renzo Piano, master architect for many of the greatest art collections of the world; and Giorgio Armani, reigning king of ready-to-wear fashion as well as of the highest couture. It imparts the pride of the nation.


The recipient 13 years ago of the Leonardo Quality Award, and already a knight of industry,Cavaliere del Lavoro, Gianni Zonin has integrated the fine wines of all of his 9 Italian estates in a single family-directed enterprise of worldwide distribution. His inspiring passion for fine wine has extended a single high standard of management to the development and production of these wines, regardless of region, and thereby has been able to assure astonishing consistency of quality from several growing regions under a common export entity, Casa Vinicola Zonin.

This has been both revolutionary, in raising domestic winegrowing standards as well as their international reputation, and boldly conservative, in protecting with Italian ownership an acute sensitivity to regional Italian cultural influences on the character and caliber of the country's wines. 

In receiving the award, Gianni Zonin extended special thanks to his wife, Silvana, and their three sons, now engaged in his work with him. And he went on to say, "My family has always been committed - and will be even more so in the future - to promoting Italian heritage and tradition all over the world." His tradition-inspired Barboursville Vineyards Malvaxia Passito 2008 has just won Best in Class ratings at three wine competitions across America. I believe him.

Gianni and Silvana Zonin at the Award Ceremony, Quirinale Palace, February 20, 2014