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Founders of Antinori, Robin Baggett and Eric Sklar

Finding out that Piero Antinori will be joining you for lunch and a glass of wine is a little like hearing that someone dropped out of your usual foursome and Tiger Woods will be teeing it up instead. There just arenít many on his level. Process this for a moment: He represents the 26th generation in an unbroken string of vintners, beginning in 1385. 26 generations! His family started accumulating knowledge about vineyard and cellar practices when Chaucer was working on The Canterbury Tales. Itís difficult to comprehend.

Dressed in the inimitable style of a successful Italian man (go ahead, you try pulling off salmon-colored pants), Antinori exudes intelligence and has a quiet confidence and demeanor that is no less than regal. And his lifetime experience cannot be overstated as he has literally been involved with wine his entire life. In fact, one of his first memories is of German soldiers shooting barrels in his familyís cellars as Europe descended into chaos at the end of WWII. He has a truly encyclopedic knowledge of what it means to be a winemaker, and he understands that he is a vital link from his familyís past to its future as the Antinori footprint expands across Italy.

Piero has passed the day-to-day operations of his many projects on to his three daughters and Enzo Cotarella, his winemaking associate for more then 25 years. However, he still participates in the overall blending and direction of the winemaking style, emphasizing a New World approach to technology and marketing in the context of valuable traditions. His motto is 'passion, patience, perseverance and product,' a synopsis of what he has learned over the years. When asked if his 12-year old grandson might one day be in his position, he lightheartedly responds, 'We give him subtle hints through splashes of wine at the table.' Whoever steps into Pieroís shadow has one substantial legacy to follow.

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2/1/2015 5:42:16 PM
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