Wine Industry Veteran Partners with Leading Italian Food Company for Acquisition of Boutique Italian Wine Importer
Enrico Colavita and Nunzio Castaldo announced Colavita’s investment for joint ownership of highly regarded Italian wine importer, Panebianco LLC. “My family has been looking a long time for the right opportunity to get into the wine business,” explained Enrico Colavita, president of Colavita SpA, which has its international headquarters in Pomezia Italy. “In Nunzio, we’ve gotten the perfect partner and, in Panebianco, we’ve found another family business dedicated to bringing great, estate-grown Italian agricultural products to the US.”
“Livio Panebianco assembled an excellent portfolio of family-owned companies that make estate wines reflective of their terroir. Taking stewardship of this great company is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Nunzio Castaldo, former Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management, and 31-year veteran of Winebow. He added, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Colavita. They’re a family-owned, agricultural company that is passionate about their business and focused on quality, authenticity and place of origin.”
Giovanni Colavita, nephew of Enrico Colavita and CEO of Colavita USA, will coordinate the US-based partnership activities with Castaldo. He commented, “This enterprise is a perfect fit for us because in Italy, and also here in the United States, wine and food always go together. We’re enthusiastic about the natural synergy inherent with these products in the marketplace.”
Castaldo will be CEO of Panebianco LLC (which is based in New York City) and run day-to-day operations including sales, marketing and supplier management. Colavita will provide the infrastructure for national sales and distribution (the company recently opened a new West Coast headquarters in Dixon, California and has operations in multiple states across the country) as well as relationships in the specialty food, restaurant and supermarket channels throughout the US. Panebianco currently has direct distribution in New York and New Jersey and sells through local distributors in six additional states.
Livio Panebianco started his eponymous company in 1997 (after, like Nunzio, working at Winebow) with the goal of bringing small production, family-owned, estate wines from Italy to the US. Before his untimely death in 2015, Livio built up his portfolio to include Marisa Cuomo from Campania, Girolamo Russo from Sicily, La Togata from Tuscany and Musso from Piedmont among many other highly regarded wineries. Wines from top quality, unique appellations that Livio helped discover such as Cinque Terre, Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius are also represented in the Panebianco portfolio.
“I believe US market trends favor focused, specialist importers with high quality wines that are representative of the regions they come from,” adds Castaldo. “Our portfolio, combined with the large-scale distribution strength and expertise that Colavita offers, gives us the ability to compete with larger companies in the Italian wine space.”
“The new Panebianco LLC has a portfolio of premium wines with strong heritage and will have the added competitive advantage of Colavita’s vast food channel experience and distribution leverage,” says Giovanni Colavita. “The company will therefore be strategically postured to present unique, value-added service, products and promotion to both on and off-premise customers.”