Founder Mario Fantinel was so dedicated to customer service that he decided to produce his own wines, so he could get the quality he wanted. That decision launched a multi-generation company.
In 1969, when hotelier and restaurateur Mario Fantinel set out to provide his clientele with a top-notch wine list, he went to greater lengths than normal – he bought his own vineyard. His purchase of the well-regarded land near Dolegna del Collio in the Carnia region in northeastern Italy was a remarkable display of customer service and hospitality, that also launched the Fantinel family wine business.
In a few quick years ‘Paron’ Mario’s passion and entrepreneurial enthusiasm drew in his three sons, Luciano, Gianfranco and Loris, and in 1973 they set out to expand the family’s land assets. Through meticulous selection, they bought hectare after hectare of the best vineyards in the Collio, Grave and, eventually, the Colli Orientali zones, all to solidify the foundation of a business created to produce quality wines.
The vinification of exclusive, proprietary grapes, such as Refosco – to which Mario was particularly devoted – at the La Roncaia estate in Cergneu di Nimis, has led to the production of wines of superior quality. The wines have struck a delicate balance between the historic winegrowing tradition of Friuli and the perpetual innovation of the family, which has seen numerous partnerships spun in interesting ways.
In 1994, Fantinel set up a partnership with Collio wines in Canada. In 1994 they took a bold step to launch the first joint venture of its kind to produce wines for the Cuban market.
Pane, Vino e San Daniele is probably the most visible example of the family’s innovation. An assortment of upscale wine bars that can be found throughout Italy, Pane, Vino e San Daniele – the first of which opened in San Daniele del Friuli in 1998 – promotes the slow food philosophy and the enjoyment of local products with family and friends, with an emphasis on the wines of Fantinel and the hams that are produced in conjunction with the Testa e Molinaro company.
The third Fantinel generation of Marco, Stefano and Marielena have become involved, and are now following the family tradition of leading the company in new directions with interesting projects.
One notable project is the work done for the Convention for the Use of Food Micro-Algae, Intergovernmental Institutional Spirulina Program (IIMSAM) – for whom Marco Fantinel serves as a Goodwill Ambassador – dedicated to promoting the use of spirulina to improve the lives of children in third-world nations who suffer from hunger. For the project, Fantinel released the Celebrate Life Merlot in 2008, and contributes $1.00 to IIMSAM for each bottle sold.
Marco is also part of a joint venture that has recently launched I-Spirit Vodka, “obtained from the skilled distillation of the finest cereals and selection of excellent white wines.”
Fantinel’s innovation continues through interesting partnerships and projects, but it can be argued that the family has achieved so much success in such a short amount of time because of the founding principles set down Mario Fantinel when he purchased the vineyard in Friuli back in 1969 – everything is done to provide the highest quality for their customers.
Gruppo Vinicolo Fantinel spa
Via Tesis n° 8, 33097
Spilimbergo (PN) , Italy
Tel: +39 0427 591 511
Fax: +39 0427 591 529