Lorenzo Scarpone was born and raised on a small family farm and vineyard in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. After graduating from high school, he studied at the renowned local culinary school, and became a sommelier. He and his chef brother opened a successful restaurant on the Adriatic coast. Eager to see the world, he then traveled the world on cruise ships and yachts, working as a floor manager and wine steward. He continued this career in the finest Italian restaurants in London and San Francisco, where he now lives with his wife Susy and three children. In 1989, he Lorenzo founded Villa Italia to import and distribute little-known small regional artisan wines in the United States. Beginning with just a few wineries, it now represents Italian wineries from all the wine regions of Italy. Recognized as a pioneer in establishing the world-wide reputation of Italian wines, he was inducted in 2015 into the Wines of Italy Hall of Fame by the Italian Trade Commission. Lorenzo also founded the oldest U.S. chapter of Italy's Slow Food movement, which has now become the leading international advocacy group for biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and support of small artisan producers of food and wine. After the devastating Abruzzo earthquake of 2009, Lorenzo organized a very substantial Earthquake Relief Fund for the small farmers and food producers whose livelihood was severely affected. He has also been active in promoting local San Francisco health and wellness projects, such as the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation and the Leukemia Foundation. He has been honored by the Italian-American community for assisting many young Italians in getting established in the wine, food and hospitality industry.
East Bay Area Region
- Since 1989-
Dan began with Wine Warehouse in 1983, and became their Northern California Import Manager. He led several sales force tours to the great Champagne houses and estates of Burgundy, the Loire, Bordeaux, the Rhone and Provence. He became the Italian wine buyer for A.G. Ferrari Foods, a chain of 13 high-end Italian food products delicatessen. Over the years he has made over 30 trips to Italy visiting the cellars of major producers and searching for top-quality small artisan producers in every region of Italy. His love story with wine started with using wine to escape the rigors and boredom of graduate school at U.C. Berkeley. He often went with friends exploring the wineries of Napa and Sonoma. With the help of Julia Child and James Beard, they prepared elaborate meals with wine pairings. They were there at the birth of Alfred Peet's Coffee, the Cheese Board and Chez Panisse - all in the revolutionary Berkeley Gourmet Ghetto. When asked Dan says the reason he enjoys Italian wines is the variety, meant to accompany specific dishes in particular places, is inexhaustible. There is always something new - and something old - to experience.
Bay Area Region
Nicodemo Gallucci was raised overlooking the beautiful Strait of Messina in Reggio Calabria. He moved to Rome for college, where he lived for nearly twenty years. He holds a degree in Legal Studies from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. Nico worked in documentary filmmaking for several years and won an award at the Docscient film festival for his documentary on Pythagoras, the ancient Greek Calabrian mathematician, and the music of Bach. Nico’s personal passion for wine became a profession when he moved to the U.S. He holds a Certificate of Achievement in Wine Marketing and Sales from Napa Valley College and a Certificate in DTC Wine Sales from Sonoma State University. While studying Nico sold wine at AG Ferrari and was Wine Educator at Cerruti Cellars. Nico became a Sales Representative at Villa Italia in 2015 and always seeks new and innovative ways to meet the needs of wine buyers across the Bay Area. Today he enjoys overlooking the beautiful San Francisco Bay from where he lives in Oakland. Interestingly, Reggio Calabria and Oakland are both are on the earth’s 38th parallel.
San Francisco Region
Originally Lucia is from the Santa Cruz mountains. After finishing university studies in painting at the Accademia di belle arte di Firenze and working doing translating for wine tours in Tuscany she returned to San Francisco in 2012 and found a job working for Villa Italia wines. Since she has furthered her wine education with Specialist certificates in both Italian and American wines. As well as obtaining her silver pin sommelier in 2018. She has enjoyed studying under mentor Ian D’Agata, gaining my Piemonte wine specialist and participating in 2019 Collisioni. It’s been an incredible journey working with small producers growing indigenous grapes and spreading the knowledge, learning from the incredible people in this industry is truly her greatest passion.
Petra has dedicated the past 12 years of her life to wine industry, as a buyer and a wine representative. As of the past three years she has honed her focus to Italian wines, one of her passions. This has led her to continue her wine education, receiving her Italian Wine Specialist certification with the North American Sommelier Association. She also is one of 200 Italian Wine Ambassadors around the world for VinItaly. Petra continues to visit her home of Tuscany, Italy as much as possible. When asked what keeps her interested in Italian wines, she replied, “I love Italian wines because of the tradition, culture and passion that is behind them. I'm also fascinated by the diversity that you can find in Italy, which you can't find anywhere else... Italy is by far the richest country in terms of number of native varietals and diversity of terroir. “
Tony is originally from Sicily Italy, he has spent his time in many places including Germany and Sweden. Since his early twenties Tony has lived and breathed food, wine, and the restaurant business. This led him to own his own restaurant in Germany for many years. He claims to have learned two things from Germany, precision and honesty. He has spent twenty some odd years in the San Francisco restaurant game and realized he wanted his weekends and nights back. This led him to start a career in just wine for the past 15 years. When asked, Tony says the reason he chooses Italian wines over others is the quality of wine for the price you pay is unparalleled.