Inside the Ultimate Tuscan Getaway – with Castello Banfi & Delta Air Lines

A photo taken by Stan & Janette - winners of Delta's SkyMiles Auction with Banfi

A photo taken by visitors to Castello Banfi in July, 2014.

“Want the Ultimate Tuscan Getaway?”

This rather enticing subject line hit the inboxes of millions of Delta frequent fliers in June as part of the airline’s SkyMiles Online Auction, a site that allows SkyMiles members to redeem miles for unique items – e.g., trips, events, VIP experiences, etc.

The Tuscan getaway was offered by Castello Banfi and included a two-night stay at the luxurious Castello Banfi Il Borgo – rated as a top 10 hotel in Italy by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. The experience also featured private tours and wine tastings with Banfi proprietor Cristina Mariani-May and Delta Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson; reserved space at the exclusive Jazz & Wine festival in Montalcino; a two-night stay at the Westin Excelsior Florence; and $1,000 Delta Air Lines travel voucher to use towards a flight.

This was the first-ever item that Delta offered with a winery and the total bids at the end of the auction numbered 270 – with the four winning bids combining to more than 1.4 million miles. Within the bidding category, the Banfi trip garnered the largest number of bids across both 2013 and 2014.

Huge congrats to the winners of this phenomenal auction prize!

See below for stunning photos from the ultimate Tuscan getaway, graciously shared by fellow travelers Stan & Janette, who joined us at Castello Banfi in July.

Riunite Chili Challenge – Heating Up in Retail

Football fans across the U.S. are surrendering their most notorious recipes to the Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge, which closes on September 20th. Be sure to submit your chili recipe and enter to win 2 tickets to the Big Game in Phoenix, Februrary 2015.

In case you need an additional reminder when you’re at the supermarket, check out a few examples of creative Riunite Chili Challenge displays – these from grocery retailers across Texas!





Hashtag: #RiuniteChili

Enter the Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge by Sept 20th!

Visit your local Kroger to get all the essential ingredients for the ultimate chili recipe, including a bottle of Riunite to pair with your tailgate favorites. Enter your most notorious recipe in the Ultimate Chili Challenge contest to win 2 tickets to the Big Game in Phoenix, February 2015! Check out the video below for more information:





Hashtag: #RiuniteChili

Natura Wine Partners with Keep America Beautiful to Bring Beauty and Vibrancy to Our Communities

KAB_CaseStickerPartnership Focuses on Shared Values of Environmental Responsibility and Respect for Nature

Natura Wines, produced by Emiliana Organic Vineyards, the world’s leading organic winery, and Keep America Beautiful (KAB) announce their first-ever national partnership to focus on the groups’ shared values of respecting the environment and beautifying communities. The partnership will begin this fall and will also include local beautification projects championed by KAB’s community-based affiliate network.

The program is anchored in the natural fit between the principles of Natura and Keep America Beautiful.

“Natura’s consumers are engaged and aware. They make mindful, meaningful decisions,” says Lauren Marano, Brand Manager for Natura Wine. “They also have a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for a pure lifestyle. The connection with Keep America Beautiful is a natural fit.”

As part of the program, Natura and Keep America Beautiful will focus on beautifying and “greening” projects, storm water management projects, and improving the overall vibrancy of communities and favorite outdoor spaces.

Additionally, beyond the national efforts of the KAB organization, Natura will sponsor local projects in key markets directly with respective KAB affiliates. Most of these projects will emphasize native plantings, which aligns with Natura and Emiliana’s philosophy in the vineyards. The biodiversity of native trees and flowers is fundamental to Emiliana, as native plantings are naturally more resistant to weather and water conditions, protect the land against erosion, and help to reforest the estate.

Several examples of local affiliate projects with KAB include:

  • Native planting project in Colorado Springs, CO
  • Native planting, storm water management through planting, and locally driven greening project at Rockaway Youth Task Force Garden in Arvene, NY
  • Native planting project in the heart of Phoenix, AZ
  • Native planting and locally driven greening project in Winston-Salem, NC

“In our effort to build and sustain vibrant communities, it’s increasingly important that we focus on the planting of more ecologically appropriate native species,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Keep America Beautiful’s partnership with Natura will help us toward that end as we bring people together to transform public places into beautiful spaces.” [Read more...]

Riunite’s Ultimate Chili Challenge

Riunite Chili ChallengeWith football season approaching, Riunite kicks off its second annual Ultimate Chili Challenge – a nationwide chili cook-off, culminating in a Grand Prize trip to the Big Game in Phoenix, February 2015. Home cooks around the country are spicing up their recipes alongside bottles of Riunite to create the best chili & Lambrusco pairing. With its fresh raspberry/strawberry notes and refreshing spritz, chilled Riunite Lambrusco is an ideal match for a variety of casual tailgating foods, including spicy dishes like chili.

Chili champion hopefuls are invited to submit their recipes online at by September 20, 2014 or by mail, postmarked by September 22, 2014. Fans can follow the fiery competition on Riunite’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.

Grand Prize winners and (1) guest will receive a trip to the Super Bowl including (1) double occupancy room for (3) nights at a deluxe hotel in Arizona, roundtrip economy-class airfare (where necessary), (2) upper level end zone game tickets to the big game, pre-game hospitality, $250 pre-paid gift card, deluxe gift bag, travel wallet, itinerary and coordination of pre-event details. More details about the contest are below.

Additionally, Riunite has teamed up with winning partners, Del Monte Tomatoes and Louisiana Hot Sauce, to help fans bring home all the perfect ingredients from their grocery store. Shoppers can find coupon offers on bottles of Riunite for up to $4 off of Riunite and partner products.

Joining in the fun, select bloggers and journalists are soon receiving special packages with Riunite samples, their own chef’s hat, wooden spoons, and mini-footballs. Stay tuned for their reviews and recipe inspirations!

Don’t forget to enter by September 20: [Read more...]

Riunite’s Patriotic Bottle – Available Nationwide for July 4th Weekend

Wal-Mart 4262- The Villages 130 cases- Chuck MyersGet ready for a fun-filled July 4th celebration with friends, family, and all your outdoor entertaining essentials, including the right wine to serve.

Lower in alcohol and served chilled, Riunite Lambrusco is a soft lively red wine and makes an ideal pair for casual Independence Day fare, such as barbecue, hamburgers, and hotdogs.

Just in time for the summer, retail outlets nationwide are featuring a new, limited-edition Riunite Lambrusco bottle, adorned with stars, strips, and soaring jets, perfect for the holiday weekend. Additionally, Riunite is donating $1 of every bottle sold this summer (through the end of July) to raising awareness of a great cause, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit assisting families of fallen military service members.

See below for sample displays at retail locations around the country.

Happy July 4th weekend – and a special thank you to our service men, women, and their families.

Banfi Vintners’ Mariani Family Awarded Coveted 2014 Icon of the Industry Award


John F. Mariani, Jr., family proprietor and Chairman Emeritus of Banfi Vintners
© Jon Reis
(more photos below the fold)

The Mariani family, founders and proprietors of leading U.S. importer Banfi Vintners and the renowned Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany, received the highly esteemed 2014 Cornell Icon of Industry Award at the sixth annual Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards gala in New York City, June 3, 2014. The award, from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA), recognizes the Mariani family for its achievements not only as a preeminent wine producer and importer, but also as a leader in industry research and hospitality education.

Since its inception in 2009, the Cornell Hospitality Icon & Innovator Awards has grown to be the largest event on the SHA calendar, attracting more than 800 of the most influential leaders and innovators in the hospitality and travel industry from 17 countries. The gala raises funds to support SHA’s scholarships and programs.

This year’s awards ceremony was attended by influential industry leaders, including Wayne E. Chaplin and Mel Dick of Southern Wine and Spirits New York; Jay M. Davis and Tom White of Republic National Distributing Company; E. Lloyd Sobel and David Drucker of Empire Merchants; Robert Epstein and Benjamin Rubenstein of Horizon Beverage; Stew Leonard of Stew Leonard’s; and Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque.

Actor, director and New York Times best-selling author Andrew McCarthy, hosted the affair and honored members of Banfi’s third generation of family management: Dr. John F. Mariani (’54), chairman emeritus of Banfi; Harry F. Mariani, president emeritus; James Mariani MBA (’91) and Cristina Mariani-May, co-CEOs; and Virginia Mariani-Kitt (’82), director of hospitality.

“The Mariani family is a leading wine producer and merchant, but—more importantly—a leader in research and education that elevates the entire global wine industry,” said Michael D. Johnson, Dean and E. M. Statler Professor of Hotel Administration.

Also recognized at the ceremony was Sandy Solmon, founder, president and CEO of Sweet Street Desserts, the largest manufacturer of frozen gourmet desserts in North America. The award is given annually by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship.

The 2014 event attracted more than 55 corporate sponsors. Exclusive Media Co-Hosts were Travel + Leisure and USA TODAY; Red Carpet sponsors were Banfi Vintners and Forbes Travel Guide; and Diamond sponsors were Delta Air Lines, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Sweet Street Desserts.

The Road to an Honor Well-Deserved

The Mariani family brings a rare perspective to the world of wine as producers of Castello Banfi wines, importers of both European and New World wines, and key stakeholders in VinMotion, producers of wines in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Steadfast in its heritage and family values, Banfi Vintners – with almost a century of expertise as America’s oldest family-owned wine importer – has consistently represented and produced best-in-class, wholesome wines that maintain longevity and respect within the U.S. market. [Read more...]

Riunite at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, June 7 & 8, 2014

big-apple-bbqRiunite Lambrusco will be poured alongside mouthwatering barbecue prepared by the nation’s top pitmasters at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party held in Madison Square Park, June 7-8, 2014.

The 12th annual celebration is New York City’s sixth largest event and attracts over 145,000 consumers. All proceeds support the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the organization responsible for the beauty, ongoing maintenance, and programming of this historic park.

Front_Lambrusco_750As America’s favorite Italian red wine, Riunite Lambrusco is a match made in (hog) heaven to another American favorite, BBQ. From North Carolina pulled pork in a tangy vinegar sauce to the Texan classics of beef brisket and spicy sausage, Riunite’s refreshing profile and lively spritz make it a perfect pair for barbecue and casual outdoor affairs.

Easy-drinking Riunite Lambrusco will be available at the park’s two beer gardens, in addition to the VIP tent, “a front-porch-inspired” seating area with food & drinks.

Don’t miss out!

#riunite #bigapplebbq

The Details:

11:00am-6:00pm, Saturday & Sunday, June 7-8, 2014

Event admission is free; plates are $9/each. Cash & major credit cards accepted.

Click here for more details and FAQs.

The Wine

Riunite, America’s #1 and best loved Italian wine for over 4 decades, is the leading source of classic wines from Central Italy’s Emilia Romagna Region. It’s imported by Banfi Vintners in Old Brookville, NY.



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