A true Sicilian, Giovanni Valenti is from Catania, Sicily’s second largest city which lies on the eastern coast of the island in sight of Mount Etna. He comes from a family of sailors in Catania where Giovanni grew up. Here is where he married, raised a family, and worked. After a stint as a naval officer, Giovanni became a sales manager for Lavazza, the giant coffee producer. He studied accounting and finance. For twenty-two years he was an executive responsible for sales at Stock di Trieste, a venerable producer of wines, sparkling wines, whiskey, brandy, grappa, and an entire range of liqueurs. Alessandro, Giovanni’s son, chose sales and marketing in the fashion industry as his path. He has held marketing management positions with Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, and Gianni Versace.
The wine story begins in the 1970s. Giovanni was an executive with Stock di Trieste and was accompanying a film crew covering the Festa dell’Etna, a very large bacchanalian fest in Linguaglossa, near the town of Passopisciaro in Sicily. Although Giovanni was a well versed wine drinker, he really did not know the fine wines of the Etna region. After their film shoot, the group was offered some well-aged Nerello Mascalese from barrel. As the saying goes, it was love at first sip! Giovanni vowed then that someday he would produce a wine of this quality and show the world that Etna, too, could make great wine. At the time, little recognition was bestowed upon this tiny appellation and Giovanni wanted to prove the potential for the greatness that Etna had to offer.
Fast forward thirty years and Giovanni Valenti was ready for a second career. Alessandro was now an experienced marketer and was excited about the opportunity to work with his father. Both loved wine. To put the Valenti name on a winery and try to become one the regions finest producers would be a dream come true for both Giovanni and Alessandro.
In 2004, the father-son duo began acquiring vineyard land in the Etna region. The first vineyard purchase was a 4 hectare (9.8 acre) historic vineyard much in need of repair. They soon discovered an old distillery in Passopisciaro, built in 1890 but abandoned in 1954, with an excellent cellar for wine. Fully refurbishing the building and filling it with the latest wine making technology was the founding of Cantine Valenti. In 2009, the Valenti name was on the door of a winery with a unique mix of modern architecture enriched by the original stone walls of the ancient distillery. For the Valentis, the past, the present and the future were under one roof.
Giovanni scouted the area and soon after purchased an additional 8 hectares (19.8 acres) of land. In 2009, 6 more hectares (14.8 acres) in Contrada Bonanno planted with Nerello Mascalese was purchased. Then they were on to planting olive trees in Contrada Cottanera and a purchase of 5 more hectares (12.5 acres) in Contrada Arcuria. A Contrada Santo Spirito vineyard planted to 50 year old Carricante vines was added in 2014. 2015 saw further expansion with a purchase of 2.5 hectares (6.3 acres) in Contrada Corvo.
Being avid lovers of literature and music, the names of their wines reflect this passion.