Upholding A Legacy: How Greg Bennati Is Bringing A New Age Approach To A Classic Wine With Bennati Wines

For Greg Bennati, the founder behind Bennati Wines, starting this brand was inevitable. With a rich family history in hospitality, wines, and the joie de vivre of the Italian lifestyle, Bennati was destined to make a name for himself in the wine industry. Today, Bennati is bringing a fresh perspective to classic wines, starting with a pinot grigio like no other. Already making waves in the industry, Bennati Wines has secured a place in some of Miami’s top Italian restaurants and plans to expand its reach across the United States while preserving the family’s legacy of delivering exceptional quality. Ahead, Haute Living sits down with Bennati to better understand his vision for the brand and how he is modernizing classic wine, ultimately garnering a new generation of wine enthusiasts.

Upholding A Legacy: How Greg Bennati Is Bringing A New Age Approach To A Classic Wine With Bennati Wines
Greg Bennati of Bennati Wines

Photo Credit: Courtesy

HAUTE LIVING: How did you get started in the industry? Was this something you were always passionate about? 
GREG BENNATI: It all begins with my family history. My great-grandfather [Arnaldo Bennati] started his career making oil tankers and boats before he began in the hospitality industry. His hospitality career led him to owning a hotel in Venice called the Bauer Hotel, becoming a respected hotelier. He then began buying vineyards and he bought this vineyard — Tenuta Villanova — that is not far from Venice, which is where my family is from. 

The vineyard dates back to the 1500s and the positioning in Venice is actually very unique as on one side it has water, but it’s also on the mountainous side; the exact region is Friuli. [The vineyard] already produces for some of the best pinot grigios in the world who are producing and selling $40-$50 bottles of wine. I found my passion in perfecting what I think pinot grigio should taste like, creating a pinot grigio that is a little bit less acidic than usual and [overall], is a light, fresh pinot grigo with a taste that stays consistently good. 

Upholding A Legacy: How Greg Bennati Is Bringing A New Age Approach To A Classic Wine With Bennati WinesPhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: What is your vision for the brand and what sets Bennati Wines apart within the market?
GB: I saw a gap in the market — right now, no one young is starting wine brands. Everyone has been launching tequilas and seltzer mixes, so I wanted to go against the norm and make my own wine. [Bennati Wines] is from an esteemed, legendary vineyard, so the quality is already there; but, I wanted to bring a young perspective on having a high-quality wine. How I do that is through marketing the wine toward a new generation. 

From day one, I have been using new, modern ways to present a new-age approach to classic wine. The idea is to keep [Bennati Wines] in front of people and top-of-mind — whether it be through social media platforms or word-of-mouth – so that when they go to the liquor store, they see the bottle and recognize it from seeing it out. Realistically, I recognized that there was not a specific pinot grigio brand to refer to — you know, people typically just say ‘I want a glass of pinot grigio’ — and I want to become the Whispering Angel of pinot grigio. 

HL: Can you walk us through the design concept of the bottle?
GB: I knew I wanted to do something with boats — my heritage lies in boats. I’ve never not lived on the water in my life and I am obsessed with boats, boating, and the whole lifestyle. So the label captures that vibe — I want the consumer to close their eyes and imagine their on a boat in the Mediterranean or Almalfi Coast when they’re sipping this wine. 

Upholding A Legacy: How Greg Bennati Is Bringing A New Age Approach To A Classic Wine With Bennati WinesPhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: You’ve also seen impressive success within just a few short weeks of opening; to what do you attribute this? And, what restaurants are you currently in?
GB: I am currently in Cipriani Miami (including the Mr. C Miami Hotel), Casa Tua, and Forte de Marmi — the three best Italian restaurants in Miami, in my opinion. We plan to certainly move around with these restaurants in the US (ie, Casa Tua in Aspen), but the plan is to focus on specific restaurants that share our vision. For instance, I am working on Lucali in Miami Beach right now, which I think is the best pizza in Miami. 

While my family heritage and connections are very strong, at the end of the day the restaurants would not have taken [Bennati Wines] if the wine did not taste good. I did tastings at all of these [restaurants] with the owners, and each time, they would give me a shocked look at how good the pinot grigio tasted. In fact, I posted a caption over the summer stating “I can’t wait for people to tell me this actually tastes good,” because I am new in the wine space (coming from real estate), building my own reputation. My family has been in hospitality forever, so I have a good pulse on what people like — I knew making this wine would be something everyone would approve of without having to ask for a favor. 

I actually launched [Bennati Wines] by putting it in Portofino Wine in the South of Fifth neighborhood and I became the number one selling pinot grigio since they put it in. I think the ultimate testament to the taste and caliber of this pinot grigio is that I’m by the glass in those restaurants, which is extremely impressive for a brand-new wine brand to be on the by-the-glass menu immediately. It was so important to me to build the foundation, the name, and the legacy first by going to high-end restaurants like Cipriani and then looking to scale.

Upholding A Legacy: How Greg Bennati Is Bringing A New Age Approach To A Classic Wine With Bennati WinesPhoto Credit: Courtesy

HL: Speaking of scaling, how do you plan to continue evolving the brand?
GB: I definitely want to have a rapid expansion. I am going to start working on a red wine as well. This white wine came from my vineyard, but I want the brand to be known for its high-quality wine that I can continue to make accessible due to my infrastructure. I also want to come out with a Super Tuscan red wine and rosé that are made in Italy, because I want to prove that Italian rosé is just as good as the French. I am also exploring maybe creating a prosecco — all while maintaining the high quality in the name.

The ultimate goal is to be at the top of everyone’s mind in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles.

HL: In building Bennati Wines and growing the brand, how important is it to you to preserve your family’s legacy?
GB: It’s everything to me. It’s important to keep the taste consistent and high-quality as that’s what my family is known for — it was never a quantity thing. It was always quality first. One of the most important things in this wine is the name and the weight it carries to the consumer because when they see the name, they know they can trust the product.