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The All-Italian Wine Experience of David Maione’s Vino Italiano in Waltham

David Maione and Jennifer Martin (photo courtesy vinotravelsitaly.com)

David Maione and Jennifer Martin (photo courtesy vinotravelsitaly.com)

The joy of writing this column is being able to present you the world of Italian wines in and around the Boston area. This month, I met with someone living out one of my dreams: owning and operating not only a wine shop, but an Italian wine shop. It doesn’t get any better than that when you have a passion for Italian wine like I do. With David Maione, owner of Vino Italiano located on Main Street in Waltham, we discussed what got him into the business and peaked his interest and love in Italian wines.

Maione’s family originates from the Campania region in southern Italy. I could feel the connection he has with Campania and how it makes him feel just by the way he said “it’s different even in the way the light hits the buildings there.” I feel the same way when I get off a plane in Italy and the air even smells a certain way. A piece of me feels strangely at home. Maione always knew in his heart that the day would come where he would be the owner of a business promoting Italian culture and products.

It all started growing up as a child and spending his summers in Italy. Let’s admit it: when most of us travel to Italy for the first time we fall in love with the country. Even more so when you have roots there you feel like you leave a piece of Italy behind when you leave. Maione’s father was the youngest of seven older sisters growing up in Campania. One of the older sisters had met an American man that originated from Waltham, Massachusetts, so she uprooted and moved to America. After sensing the opportunity available in the United States, she intrigued her brother, Maione’s father, to seek out opportunities in America as well. When his father came to America he worked as an engineer until he was laid off. It was then that he thought back to the way he was raised in Campania, working in his family’s restaurant and dried goods business. He decided it was time to make a change, so he opened an Italian restaurant in Waltham called Campania that still operates today.

Getting back to David Maione, the two of us found out that we’re both Bentley University graduates. After graduating, he worked for Andersen Consulting, which involved extensive training, including etiquette, food and wine courses to entertain future clients. The wine course reminded him of his days in Italy. After some time, Maione’s father’s business was really taking off, so Maione took a leave of absence and started assisting his father in the restaurant business. He got so involved in the business by building the wine list and meeting winemakers there for dinners that he soon left the consulting world for good.

Interior of Vino Italiano in Waltham (photo courtesy vinotravelsitaly.com)

Interior of Vino Italiano in Waltham (photo courtesy vinotravelsitaly.com)

Five years ago Maione broke off and opened an Italian wine shop in Waltham called Vino Italiano. I loved the uniqueness of the shop. It has a library-style format, where all the wines are sectioned by regions, including all 20 wine regions in Italy. It is very different from your typical cluttered wine shop and is clean and organized with single wines sitting on the shelf with a clear description for each one. Throughout my time there, the employees were more than helpful to offer suggestions and walk customers through some of the unique wines that they carry.

I’m always seeking out unique wines of all the regions in Italy that can be challenging to find here in the United States. Maione also works with importers outside of Massachusetts to bring in specific wines through local distributors so that he can sell them to his customers, providing a great overall experience of true Italian wines. Some of these wines you won’t find in any other retail stores in the area because of this reason. What’s even better is that in addition to the retail shop, he holds free tastings on occasion, as well as wine classes and wine dinners.

He will be expanding in the near future to the office space next door, which is where he will solely focus on his classes and tastings. So there is no better time than the present to check it out for yourself and experience what Italian wines have to offer.

www.vinoitaliano.com

About Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin is a Boston-based Italian wine blogger. Her love of wine first started years ago when she studied abroad in college in Florence, Italy. She's traveled to Italy a multitude of times now and her love and passion for Italy not only comes from her experience of living there, but also due to her Italian heritage. Jennifer now runs her own company and website, Vino Travels, specializing in wine travels to Italy.