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Wine Spectator: Harry Mariani, Pioneering Importer And Champion Of Italian Wine, Dies At 78

January 7, 2016

Harry Mariani, the former president of Banfi Vintners who helped introduce many Americans to Italian wine, died January 5 in Huntington, New York. He was 78.

Working with his older brother John, Mariani built their family wine import firm into a major player beginning in the 1970s and ’80s with a sparkling red Lambrusco called Riunite. Its success enabled the Marianis to establish their own winery in Montalcino, Castello Banfi, helping spark an American love affair with Brunello.

“My father made a great contribution to wine culture and trade, particularly in his earlier years, when wine quality management was nowhere near as developed as today,” said James Mariani, Harry’s son and current co-CEO of Banfi Vintners. “This expanded the opportunity for consumers to try and enjoy a good bottle of wine, especially from Italy.” Wine Spectator has more on Mariani’s illustrious life and career.

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