Golden Vines is a wine importing company that focuses on wine made by real people, not corporations. Golden Vines is our dream, and we invite you to join us on our quest to make it a reality.
I was born and raised in an Italian enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. From an early age, my family instilled in me an appreciation of local handcrafted food (homemade pasta, mozzarella, and sausages were de rigueur) and, later, wine. Winemaking soon became my passion. I started making my own wine, in 1987, and continued to do so for the next twenty years. In my professional life, I crafted a successful career as a commodities futures trader.
With the dream of owning my own wine company, I set out to learn all aspects of the business. I served as manager and wine director at a Westchester County restaurant; learned the retail end of the wine business at Zachys Wine and Liquor, Inc., a New York wine institution; and worked sales for Panebianco Wines, an Italian wine importer/distributor. At the same time, I diligently studied wine and completed several professional wine certification programs. I am now a Certified Specialist of Wine, have an advanced certificate from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, an Intermediate Certificate from the Sommelier Wine Academy, and certification from the Italian Wine Masters.
I live in Westchester County, NY with my wife, Lorella, and three sons, Robert, Donald and Paul, and I coach baseball in my spare time.
I fell in love with France at an early age. After I spent a summer in Roanne when I was15, I was hooked on France; I was hooked on the history, the cheese, the people, the language, the regional cuisine, the architecture – all of it. It wasn’t until my next trip to France, at the age of 17, that I discovered and started enjoying wine, which I enjoyed in great quantity over lunch, dinner, and occasionally breakfast. Since that point I dedicated myself to learning about wine.
As soon as I graduated from college I knew I wanted to work in wine. At first, the closest I could get was pouring wine at a boutique hotel in Boulder, CO. Soon after, fellow Kenyon College alum and wine legend Jeff Zacharia offered me a position at one of the most prestigious fine wine stores in the world. While there, I earned an advanced degree from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. After working my way up from customer service to wine buyer, I left Zachys to go to France and work in the vineyards of Chablis.
With my background in wine retail and my experience in the vineyard I dreamed of starting a wine importing company. I attended the University of Texas McCombs school of business where I started the business plan that, with the help of former Zachys colleague, and co-founder Anthony Lamonaca, would become Golden Vines. While completing my MBA I had the chance to work for renowned wine broker and Burgundy legend Becky Wasserman. Immediately after graduating I worked the harvest with Blair Pethel in Savigny-les-Beaune. After that I stayed around in Meursault for 1 year as I continued to deepen my knowledge of Burguny and source wines for Golden Vines. When I am not in France hunting for new treasuries I live in Mt. Kisco, NY with my wife Emilie and three children; Finnian, Elona and Kelan.