“It wasn’t too long ago that only a small portion of Australians were considered wine drinkers,” starts Alain Guglielmino of possibly Australia’s most dapper bottle, Signor Vino. After all, this is the vow:
“I, Signor Vino solemnly declare to be the ultimate compliment to your lips. I promise to dine with you in style and care for your appetite’s desire. Let me stand tall and fill the silence between your conversations with satisfaction. I will deliver as your perfect companion, be I your mate, your third wheel, or your home alone date. I aim to leave a lasting impression.”
Alain and Nicholas Guglielmino, two brothers embracing their Italian heritage and Australian backyard, recently began producing Italian varietals from the family winery located in NSW Riverina region, just outside Griffith. Looking for a cheeky way to pull the interest of the curious consumer, Signor Vino was born.
“Twenty years ago, producing and selling foreign varietals was difficult,” says Nick, “It was generally always associated with upper-class society and people of a certain age or status.
“In more recent times, the wine drinking population has grown considerably across the globe but more so in Australia, and specifically among young adults,” Alain adds. “Even though Italian varietals grown in Australia only make up two per cent of the market, we dedicated ourselves to becoming expert in this niche.” He adds, seeing strength in a nose for great Italian wine and the suitability of the Australian climate.
“Young Australians are so well traveled, educated and willing to learn. We live in a multicultural society with a hospitality industry that is growing rapidly and expands across many cultures,” says Nick. “This is where we identified an opportunity to tap into the mindset of the everyday Aussie and offer them a product with a strong differentiation to others on the market.”
Not just a pretty face, the man on the bottle is as clever as he is good-looking. “We see Signor Vino as the ultimate gentleman – cultured, respectful, knowledgeable and suave,” explains Alain. “The world is speeding up, continually plugged in and distracted by phones. Signor Vino serves as a reminder of old school etiquette; basic things like eye contact, articulate conversation, punctuality, confidence… all the traits you require from being alert in the moment,” he continues. “We want to represent the balance between tradition and today’s world. Signor Vino also serves as a reminder to step back, breath, relax and enjoy life before it passes by.”
Despite exciting new distribution deals with China and plans to expand the cellar door harbour side, the Guglielmino brothers still hold dear the culture and traditions passed down from generations before. “Our father was born on the shores of Sicily and was bought up in Australia. We have been taught our traditions and live a very Italian-influenced lifestyle,” says Nick.
Keen campers, Alain and Nick can be found on the banks of the Murray, chasing fresh water cod; various quality wines, fresh Italian bread, salami, prosciutto, marinated eggplant and an array of oils, herbs and spices sitting not too far from the surfboard, BBQ and fishing rod. “We will often sit by the camp fire, smoke or grill Italian infused fresh fish over some hot coals, sip on a glass of our wine and share a laugh with our mates,” Alain says. “There are many similarities between Sicilian and Australian culture and lifestyle, including a carefree attitude, value placed on work-life balance and a love of the ocean. On top of this, our regions growing conditions are also similar. Our local climate is warm with sandy loam and soft rock soil formation, somewhat similar to that of southern Italy, where many of our wine styles originated.”
Finding synergy through lifestyle and wine style, Nick reiterates their commitment to a new wave of Italian-Australian romance. “We focus our efforts on producing varietals with origins from all over Italy, but definitely with an Australian winemaking style – generally a more medium-bodied wine compared to the Italian lighter bodied style; sometimes slightly varying in certain characteristics,” he explains. “Our intention when coming up with the Signor Vino concept was to create something personal and likeable, a wine that the market can relate to and can trust,” Alain elaborates. “Signor Vino: the label, the name and the design, are the attributes that account for first impressions and for people purchasing the wine. But, it is our delicious wine that accounts for first impression buyers becoming loyal customers.”