First, to brief you on my background, years ago, during the tragic 9/11 attack, I had studied abroad in Italy while I attended Bentley University. At that point in time I had never been overseas and even though I am of Italian heritage and appreciated the culture, I didn’t speak the language or have a love for Italian wine. Here I am thirteen years later where I write an Italian wine blog called Vino Travels, sell all-inclusive trips to Italy and also work for an Italian wine importer, PSP Imports. I chose PSP Imports to work for because I had met so many wonderful small- and medium-sized quality wine producers traveling throughout Italy that didn’t either export or have a venue to do so. This is where PSP Imports comes in.Growing up in Italy and having also lived in the United States, brothers Nicola and Giuseppe Savignano both had the opportunity to live the dream of many by buying real estate and a vineyard in Tuscany and making their own wine. Nicola and Giuseppe’s parents came to Boston in the mid-to-late ’70s. Their dad was an importer and distributor of Italian foods into the States, including the popular brand Barilla. Around 1987, the Savignano family, after having spent 11 years in Boston, returned to Italy where the sons — including Nicola and Giuseppe’s younger sister — all went to college and grad school as well as the military service.
In 1996, they moved back to Boston, where they were involved in separate business ventures for about 10 years. At the same time that Nicola was leaving the company he was working for after it was bought out and relocated, Giuseppe was getting out of the ownership of a restaurant and wine bar that he owned in Rome. This is when they had the opportunity to purchase Tenuta Santo Pietro.They had known of the land where Tenuta Santo Pietro was situated from their interest in buying and developing old ruins that they could renovate and build as vacation homes. They were finding beautiful farms that were not being utilized well and were growing grapes in bulk and selling off to cooperatives to make peasant wines. These were the wines where you would stop at the side of the road with big jugs and fill up with wine and consume them rather immediately.
One estate was of particular interest to them. It had been poorly taken care of, with inefficient vine growth. The beauty of the building and views were completely overgrown and the view of the Tuscan town Pienza was completely obstructed. It took close to two years of the Italian bureaucratic system and obtaining permits along with renovations to get the business going. After their purchase, they went through a lot of transformation: vines were replanted and they cut back on yields to be able to start to produce quality grapes. During renovations, they uncovered one of the walls where tons of ivy had been growing and a plaque was discovered with the name Tenuta Santo Pietro and so the estate was named.
The inn at Tenuta Santo Pietro was opened in 2009. The brothers started making small quantities of wine with the first vintages in 2007, including Chianti, Pio and the “Super Tuscan” Viper. These vintages were first brought over to the Boston area by Nicola at the end of 2010 to see how the market would receive them. The next vintage was in 2009, after skipping one year to cut back on yields. This vintage was kept in Italy since they still weren’t producing a whole lot. An on-site restaurant was opened in 2011, the same year their first white, a vermentino, came out. In 2013, the vermentino was introduced to the Boston area as well as the international blend, Perceptum.
From that point forward, a portfolio of 20 wines from Tenuta Santo Pietro was assembled, along with three other small- to medium-sized family owned wineries from the Tuscany and Abruzzo regions (I Lauri, Fabrizio Dionisio and Antico Colle).
PSP has since expanded throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is in discussions with distributing to other states as well, including Texas, Minnesota and Maine. By the end of September 2014, PSP Imports will have doubled their portfolio in size expanding to other regions including Piedmont, Veneto, Sicily and a wider range within Tuscany. The company will consist of a little over 50 labels from eleven different wineries. Future discussions include doubling in size again with wines from other winemaking regions in France, Spain, South American and possibly some wines from the United States.
Nicola and Giuseppe’s strong passion behind building the PSP Imports brand and portfolio has driven the company to what it is today with many opportunities ahead. The mission is to not only sell wine, but build relationships with their customers and create a personal experience and go the extra step with a smile.
For more on PSP Imports, please visit their website: pspimports.com