Banfi Brings Home the Hardware

May 24, 2019


Castello Banfi does two things quite well: make fine wines and raise glasses of that fine wine to toast when they win awards.

In recent months, our friends at Castello Banfi have had plenty of cause to raise a glass. Cristina Mariani-May, herself no stranger to awards, just accepted a prestigious award on behalf of her family, while Concha y Toro's Chief Winemaker, Marcelo Papa, picked up another award of his own.

At Breakthru, we are thrilled to see these industry leaders and their accomplishments receiving the recognition they so clearly deserve.

All in the Family

Banfi CEO Cristina Mariani-May has led her family’s company since 2018, though her family—and the company—has a deep, long-running connection to the world of wine. For decades, her family has championed the industry, raising the bar for wine and creating inspired wines. Along the way, the Mariani family earned the moniker “Builders of Brunello” due to their work and tireless promotion of the Brunello di Montalcino region of Italy for the last 40 years.

The family was recently recognized as “Wine Family of the year” at the Meininger Awards for Excellence in Wine and Spirits in Dusseldorf, Germany. The honor was bestowed during a ceremonial event at the opening of the ProWein trade fair, itself one of the most important exhibitions in the winemaking world, with CEO Mariani-May on hand to accept the award on behalf of her family.

Mariani-May said of the award, “This means so much to my family, and especially my father, the visionary who founded Castello Banfi in 1978. I am deeply honored to accept this prestigious award. My thanks go to the Meininger family and to the jury. I also thank the entire Banfi team who, during the last 40 years, has walked side by side with my family.”

Each year, one family earns this award, chosen by a jury of respected and influential journalists who cover the global wine trade for the magazines published by Meininger. The jury, in addition to the award, praised the Mariani family, saying in a statement, “Banfi is one of the most renowned wine houses of the world and your family has made a valuable contribution to Italian wine. Your sustainable management, tradition and modernity has allowed Banfi to play a leading role in the international wine market.”

The industry at large has taken note of Banfi’s great works, too. In 2018, Drinks Business named Mariani-May “Woman of the Year” and Castello Banfi earned the title “Winery of the Year” at both the 2019 Winemaker Challenge and the 2018 Sommelier Challenge. Also, in 2017, Castello Banfi took home an unprecedented fifth win as “Best Winery of the Year – Gran VinItaly” and was named top winery in Italy for the fifteenth time.

But who’s counting?

Hot in Chile

Meanwhile, just a scant 18 hours away by plane, another Banfi winemaker was receiving his own well-deserved award.

Concha y Toro's Chief Winemaker, Marcelo Papa, was recently choses as Winemaker of the Year by noted wine journalist Tim Atkin MW in his 2019 Chile Special Report. Atkin, himself an award-winning critic and wine journalist, bestowed this honor on Papa, confirming once again Papa’s status as not only one of the most notable winemakers in the world, but also one of the greats.

The ever-humble Papa is a major player in the global wine scene, having already scored major awards before this most recent honor. Papa graduated from university with a degree in agricultural engineering from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and joined Viña Concha y Toro in 1998, where he spent two decades as the winemaker responsible for the Marques de Casa Concha and the world famous Casillero del Diablo brands. In 2017, Papa was named Technical Director of Viña Concha y Toro’s entire winemaking team.


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