Banfi is a private concern, founded in New York in 1919 by John Mariani, Sr. and today owned and operated by his grandchildren. The company is focused on the production and import of wine.
Banfi Vintners is the sole U.S. importer of the Mariani family’s internationally renowned wine estates in Italy — Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany, and Banfi Piemonte of Strevi, Piedmont — as the exclusive agent for the family’s domestic properties from the Northwest: Pacific Rim, Rainstorm, Silver Totem, and Sweet Bliss. Banfi also imports the wines of several other producers, including category leaders Bolla, Florio, Fontana Candida, Placido, Riunite, and Sartori from Italy, Emiliana from Chile, Wisdom & Warter Sherries from Spain and Stone’s Ginger wine from England. The company has ranked as one of North America’s leading wine importers for more than three decades.
When he established the company on Spring Street in the heart of New York’s Little Italy, John Mariani, Sr. named the company after an aunt, Teodolinda Banfi, a woman of eclectic tastes who supervised his early education and greatly influenced his views toward fine wines. Until her retirement, she had served as head of the household staff of the late Pope Pius XI, and is distinguished as the first lay person ever to hold that post.
Tuscany’s most honored vineyard estate, Castello Banfi’s award-winning wines are exported to over 90 countries around the world. Lauded for groundbreaking research on the Sangiovese vine to produce superior Brunello and super Tuscan wines; producing healthy, more organic wines that are low in sulfites and histamines; and developing cutting edge winemaking techniques, Castello Banfi is the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an international leader in customer satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000). Castello Banfi is a beacon for hospitality in the region, with a full service enoteca, glass museum, winery tours, informal La Taverna for lunch, fine dining at La Sala dei Grappoli, and luxury rooms and suites at the highly acclaimed Castello Banfi – Il Borgo.
Banfi Piemonte is the name of the family’s sparkling wine cellars in Strevi, Piedmont, run in conjunction with the nearby single-vineyard estates of Principessa Gavia and Rosa Regale.
Banfi’s success has enabled the company to play a broad philanthropic role through the Banfi Foundation. The Foundation provided seed money to help Catholic Relief Services build a technical school and an orphanage as well as an 800-unit housing project in Potenza, Italy, where thousands were left homeless after a devastating earthquake in the early 1980s. It also generously endows select charities and universities around the world, and sponsors annual scholastic tours to study the food and wine culture of Italy.
Banfi is led today by the founder’s granddaughter Cristina Mariani-May, who is president and CEO. Her father, Chairman Emeritus Dr. John F. Mariani, continues as active counsel to the executive committee and is a member of the firm’s advisory board. Banfi’s world headquarters is a 60-room Elizabethan manor located on a 127-acre estate and vineyard in Old Brookville, New York.