Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

How a Love Story Inspired this 86-Year-Old Wine Company

Vittorio Marzotto of Santa Margherita USA talks about his family vineyard ahead of National Chianti Day.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Friday, September 3rd marks National Chianti Day. Vittorio Marzotto of Santa Margherita USA sat down with Jessica Abo to share his family's history, the vineyard and company's future and his advice for other family-run operations.

Jessica Abo: Take us back to the beginning. How did a love story inspire your family's business? 

Vittorio Marzotto: The family history started in 1935, when my great-grandfather, Gaetano Marzotto, dreamed of nature, people and technology working in synergy and his dream came to life when he began revitalizing an abandoned land in the Venetian countryside that he chose as a productive soil for agriculture. It needed reclaiming, so he put a lot of effort into that, and he nailed it. Such an aspirational place could only bear one name, his wife's name, Margherita, hence the name Santa Margherita.

How has social responsibility and sustainability played a role in your family business over the years?

Gaetano's vision that we continue today was to respect the land for the quality of the product that goes into the glass and the people who work the land and who have the passion. In a few words, he was very committed to providing a livelihood to his employees and contributing to their quality of life by building a hospital, a school and vacation homes where the employees could take their families to relax and enjoy.

On the environmental side, we were operating with sustainable practices even before the term was created. We did things like reducing the level of chemicals in the vineyards and reducing the CO2 footprint throughout the glass production, from the container for the bottle to the actual bottle of wine. He built a factory, a glass producer, a stone's throw away from the winery.

How do you think people, nature and technology play a role in the company 86 years later?

Tradition at Santa Margherita has always been at the cutting edge of wine-making, but today we really want to become a pioneer when it comes to energy savings with reducing carbon emissions, as well as water preservation. Solar panels allow the winery to be self-sufficient in terms of energy. We also built a biomass power plant that recycles renewable energy from the sediments of agriculture. We have a lot of practices in our wine-making: no chemicals, no animal agents. We have water conservation techniques in the field, in the vineyards and in the cellar.

Your family decided to found National Chianti day. What did that process involve?

You need to apply initially to the National Day Calendar and write an essay on why you would like to have a national day. It is very rare to get a seat at the table. Only 15 days are open every year. We were lucky enough last year to have National Chianti Day approved. For the first year, and now every year, on the first Friday of September, we will be celebrating National Chianti Day.

You have several family members who are working for the company. What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who are running family-owned businesses?

My advice is to communicate with each other as much as you can. My family's passion, dedication, time and effort to work together are the essential ingredients to our success. We never forget what our great-grandfather told us regarding the vision and the principles that we must commit and keep up today.


This Entrepreneur Believes the 9-to-5 Work Week Is Dead. So She Created a Platform That Matches Talent With Project-Based Work.

The founder of NuuWork shares how her company will help people navigate the future of project-based employment.

How This Company Is Helping Ecommerce Brands Scale and Grow

The co-founder of 8fig shares how his platform is helping online sellers plan and execute their growth around their supply-chain needs.

Eitan Bernath on Becoming a Teenage Food Entrepreneur and Social Media Star

In-depth interview with cookbook author, food personality, and content creator Eitan Bernath about starting an entertainment career as a child, teaming up with Drew Barrymore, and building an inspirational business empire before his 20th birthday.

Ask Marc: Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Facing Challenges, Bringing on Co-Founders and Growth

In this episode of our new series 'Ask Marc,' the serial entrepreneur and mentor offers advice on how to get started.

3 Science-Backed Ways to Break Bad Habits

Become powerfully productive with these three patterns.

Meet the Co-Founders Making Conscious Shopping Easier

Goodbuy's Cara Oppenheimer and Cary Telander Fortin share how their browser extension helps consumers buy products with both their wallets and values front of mind.

Nina Manchev of Forte Tapas on Engaging Customers with Social Video

Interview with Forte Tapas owner and entrepreneur Nina Manchev about connecting with social media, learning to be confident on video, and appearing on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

This CEO Believes We Need More Women In Crypto

Jaime Leverton, head of NASDAQ-listed Hut 8 Mining Corp., talks the future of digital currency with 'Entrepreneur.'

How to Create Your Path to Profit

Financial expert and author Michelle Jacobik is on a mission to help people be profitable, so she created the EnVision + Thrive Academy. She shares her journey to success, business tips and what you'll learn in her new book.

Toast CEO Chris Comparato on Why Restaurants Need a Tech Partner That Cares

Interview with Toast CEO Chris Comparato about leading with the customer in mind, having a digital-first mentality, and how technology like Toast is helping restaurants thrive.

The Science of Visualization: Maximizing Your Brain's Potential

In this video, we discuss why visualization is so effective and offer four tips to harness it.

How One Company Is Creating a New Financial System to Help Today's Workforce

The founder and CEO of DailyPay shares how his company is creating a new financial system to help today's employees get paid faster.

Ask Marc: Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph on Staying Motivated, Morning Routines and Setting Priorities

In this new installment of our 'Ask Marc!' video series, Marc Randolph offers inspiration and insights to new entrepreneurs.

How Tech Entrepreneur Angela Homsi Leverages Sustainable Innovation to Bridge Global Boundaries

Born between two worlds, the Ignite Power founder is helping ensure universal access to essential services.

Stratis Morfogen on Using Disruptive Technology to Improve Hospitality

Interview with Brooklyn Dumpling Shop Co-Founder Stratis Morfogen about using new technology at the Brooklyn Dumpling Shop and his other creative dining concepts, and how to be disruptive to improve hospitality.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.

  • An original series streaming weekly where you can Click-to-Invest while you watch. THEIR JOURNEY. Your decision.
  • Your favorite pitch show is back with new entrepreneurs pitching Entrepreneur's investors.
  • Host Nicole Walters interviews small business founders to discuss their unique challenges and experiences running and growing a business. 
  • How many times have you been told “that will never work”? Probably not as often as Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. The veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur provides a healthy dose of humor, and actionable advice that will benefit founders - and would-be founders - at every stage of their business journey.
  • Jessica Abo covers the causes people care about, the powerful work they do and how they got to where they are in the first place.
  • Bestselling author, Ben Angel, takes his audience on a journey into the entrepreneurial mind to uncover why we do what we do through his powerful short films and educational videos so you can unleash your ideas and potential.