Leonardo LoCascio, BS '71
Named one of the most influential wine personalities of the last 20 years by Robert M. Parker Jr. in 1998, Leonardo LoCascio is America’s foremost authority on Italian wines. As President and CEO of Winebow Inc., America’s leading importer of premium Italian wines and a major distributor of wines from around the world, Mr. LoCascio’s masterful knowledge of the wines of Italy is unsurpassed.
In 1980, Mr. LoCascio left a successful career in corporate finance to become a wine entrepreneur, giving up a position as a vice president at Citibank – a position he attained at age 30 – to launch Winebow. Prior to his four years at Citibank, he worked in corporate finance at Rockwell International and as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.
For 25 years, Mr. LoCascio has been selecting wines for his portfolio with the same care he once brought to corporate finance. Along the way he has earned a reputation for uncovering the best wines of Italy, often looking beyond the obvious wine regions of Tuscany, Piedmont and the Veneto to discover hidden gems worthy of importation. He is especially proud of having introduced Americans to the great wines of Italy’s southern regions.
Mr. LoCascio makes frequent trips to Italy throughout the year, scouring the countryside for undiscovered treasures. His meticulous selection process is geared to finding wines that combine high quality and good value. The result is dozens of wines turned down for every one selected. The process tends to favor small to mid-sized wineries, often independent and family-owned.
Today, Winebow’s Leonardo LoCascio Selections with its 75 prized Italian producers is widely considered the most impressive Italian portfolio of any importer in the U.S. Indeed, the Leonardo LoCascio Selections logo on a label has become the de facto seal of approval for Italian wine enthusiasts.
Mr. LoCascio embarked on an exciting new chapter in 2002 when he became a vintner in a joint venture with the Allegrini family with the purchase of Poggio al Tesoro, a wine estate in the Bolgheri area of Tuscany. The vineyards have been planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Vermentino, and the first releases are expected in late October 2005. Another milestone occurred in June of 2004 when Mr. LoCascio brought on investment partners to facilitate Winebow’s expansion as a distributor.
Mr. LoCascio received the 2002 Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Farleigh Dickinson University and was a 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalist. The International Institute of New Jersey honored him with its 2003 American Dream Award, given to foreign-born individuals who have made significant contributions to American society.
Born in Palermo, Sicily, Mr. LoCascio has spent most of his adult life in the United States, aside from his time spent traveling among the vineyards of Italy. He graduated cum laude from NYU Stern in 1971 with a BS in International Business and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.