Bringing You Native Grapes Grown With Respect To Tradition.

One evening, about thirteen years ago, Franco Bengasi and his friend Mauro Maschio were enjoying the summer breeze on a balcony facing Manhattan along the East River...

Franco was born and raised in Tramonti, a small village nested in the hills above the Amalfi coast.  He graduated from hotel management school in nearby Salerno and worked at Dei Capuccini restaurant, within the legendary Grand Hotel Convento in Amalfi, before leaving his beautiful land and moving to New York still a teenager.
After many years with Lavazza, where he still is missed and fondly spoken of, Franco decided it was about time to become an independent entrepreneur. He had always cultivated a passion for good wine and food, and on that beautiful evening on the balcony, shared both his intentions and a bottle of fine wine with his friend Mauro. Sip after sip the two agreed on the remarkable potential of a new wine importing company that would focus on native grapes grown with respect to tradition in lesser known areas.
In New York, Franco's career in fine restaurants and catering took an unexpected turn when he was offered a sales position by Lavazza, the renowned family owned coffee company from Turin.  During his time with Lavazza, Franco distinguished himself for his love of hard work, talent for sales and ability in establishing deep personal relationships. He was ultimately appointed National Sales Manager by Lavazza and in such capacity had the pleasure of serving espresso at a breakfast for Pope John Paul II during his historic visit to New York in 1995. The photo above shows the Pope's - who insisted on having a decaf espresso - cordial exchange with Franco.
As another bottle of wine got to be uncorked and plans were being made for this new venture, it seemed like the staggering towers of Manhattan began to look like bottles of wine - or maybe it was just the way they were reflected in the East River.
Thus was conceived the logo of the new firm, which was christened "The Wine Emporium", using an old Latin word for marketplace. Franco was then able to secure an office and warehouse conveniently located in Williamsburg, not far from that scenic viewpoint, yet close enough to Manhattan and its many restaurants and wine stores.

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