Importers play a major role representing wineries around the world and finding importers that specialize in Italian wines is even more exciting for myself. It provides another venue and opportunity to find potentially smaller to medium sized wineries in Italy here in Boston and the United States that one may not have the opportunity to seek out unless you're traveling throughout Italy yourself.
I came across Mariposa Fine Wine &Spirits that is based out of Boston and is owned and operated by female wine wholesaler, Judith Fabre McDonough. It was a pleasure meeting Judith and her dynamic, bubbly personality. Her passion and drive to succeed demonstrate why she is proving to be a successful, female entrepreneur in a male dominated industry not only in the Boston area, but beyond.
|Judith Fabre McDonough|
Prior to the establishment of Mariposa Fine Wine & Spirits, Judith's career had previously been involved in wine auctioning and she also had served as a sales representative of gourmet foods. Judith reached a point in her career where she decided it was time to just dive right in and begin her own business. “There’s never a good time to start your own business”, Judith states. With a passion for fine wines and food Judith started Mariposa Fine Wine & Spirits almost 4 years ago with a motto of “wine is sunlight, held together by water”.
Judith's specialty is in small family-owned wine estates primarily from within Italy. One of the first Piedmont, Calabria, Puglia, Friuli, and Lombardy and carries twenty plus different wine labels. The wineries she works with are a number of producers from the north to the south of Italy that produce around 300,000 to 500,000 bottles annual production.regions in Italy that Judith began exploring doing business with was the wine region of Lazio, home to the capital of Rome, where she represented a number of wineries in Lazio and presented the wines of those wineries at an event in Beverly Hills, CA. The event was a major hit and from there she began expanding throughout a number of different regions. She specializes in five particular regions of Italy now currently including
Judith is also expanding her wine portfolio to include wines from Australia and France. She currently serves as the Brand Manager & Ambassador to the Northeast for the Hewitson winery based in Australia.
Many folks love Italian wines, but are only most familiar with your every day common Italian wines that dominate the market like chianti, pinot grigio and maybe barolo and barbaresco. Judith finds the biggest challenge for her to be getting folks to understand Italian indigenous grapes that no one has ever heard of. Italy is home to hundreds and thousands of grapes and native grapes and to know them all is impossible. It can be overwhelming for your average consumer to understand the variety and differences available from region to region. Judith works with boutique wine shops and restaurants that respect these lesser-known varieties. This is when she is comforted to know that when she discovers wine producers and experiences lesser-known grapes and award winning wines that she loves, she can trust that the businesses carrying her wines are selling her Italian wines into the right hands of customers that appreciate variety and learning. It's very important to find a wine shop with educated employees that can help you explore these wines and bring you on a wine journey through Italy.
When I met with Judith she was also accompanied by Livio Palmieri, whom is Chairman of the Board for U.S.-Italy Food Technologies Inc. and has partnered with Judith for years in the wine business. One of the pleasures that Livio and Judith have been taking note of are how the younger generation is moving back towards agriculture, which is obviously a big benefit and great for the wine industry. It's important to preserve the traditions that have carried on in many of these families for generations. Plus, there is also a lot more organic wine growing taking place in the vineyards and sustainable farming is getting more attention in the marketplace than ever before by producers and consumers around the world and in Italy. Livio spoke with me about the younger generations within the wineries that are experimenting and bringing more modern technologies and winemaking practices to the Italian wineries with a focus to establish themselves with a stronger presence in the wine market.
Judith's future goals, in addition to expanding her importation of wines from countries like Australia and France, will also be expanding and selling her wines on the east coast starting with Rhode Island. So lots of exciting changes and expansion for Mariposa Fine Wine & Spirits and hopefully you'll have an opportunity to meet Judith at one of her events or wine tastings one day and experience some of these unique wines of Italy.
*Pictures copyright of Mariposa Fine Wines & Spirits