Alessio Planeta, Planeta Winery’s CEO and Technical Director, has been awarded the prestigious title of “Winemaker of the Year” an accolade that is a component of the Wine Enthusiast’s 24th annual Wine Star Awards initiative and that boosts Italy into first place after 16 years.
Planeta brings the prestigious Winemaker of the Year” award back to Italy after 16 years
Each year, the authoritative U.S. wine journal pays tribute to the most influential members of the wine, spirits, and beverage industry through its annual Wine Star Awards, one of the most coveted recognitions on the North American wine scene. Preceding winners of the coveted title have ranged from New Zealand’s Helen Masters and Portugal’s Ana Diogo-Draper to Doug Margerum Paul Hobbs from the U.S. and Nicole Hitchcock of Australia.
Thanks to this prized international accolade, Alessio Planeta becomes the fourth Italian to bear this title.
That last Italian to win Winemaker of the Year was Carlo Ferrini in 2007, currently winemaking consultant to a number of leading Italian wine producers.
Before him only Riccardo Cotarella, president of Assoenologi and founder, together with his brother Renzo, of the Umbrian company Cotarella, and Renzo Cotarella, CEO at Marchesi Antinori, received the same award in 2001.
About Alessio Planeta
Born in 1966, Alessio Planeta studied Agrarian Sciences, then took over the helm of the family wine concern in the 1990s. His personal and professional interests focused as well on the history of Sicily and its viticulture, with the goal of continuing the invaluable work begun by his uncle Diego Planeta and of gaining international appreciation for Sicilian wines.
Following a brief period in Burgundy working with M. Xavier Bouzeraud, he traveled through and studied various wine regions in France (Champagne and Bordeaux), Argentina, California, and Tuscany. In 1995, he introduced to the markets his first wines, which included the now-iconic Chardonnay; in opening the doors of the fledgling family wine firm to non-native grape varieties he adopted a philosophy of diversification that has become a distinctive hallmark of the group. He has directed Planeta winemaking since 1998, and currently oversees a 2.4 million-bottle annual production, complemented by cultivation of olives, almonds, and chickpeas.
The overall production activities are guided by a business philosophy innately oriented to sustainability, based on a thorough understanding of best cultivation practices, and on promotion of biodiversity. At the same time, he supports numerous high-profile cultural and hospitality initiatives in the sphere of enotourism, all designed to disseminate the positive values that inspire Planeta products and to assist visitors and consumers to fully appreciate the Planeta universe.
“I am deeply honored by the award that the Wine Enthusiast has bestowed on me this year,” stated Alessio Planeta, “a recognition that I am happy to share with my family and with our entire staff. It is thanks to them that we have built up our family winery, day after day, through our shared commitment, dedication, and passion. Next year, we will be celebrating our 30th anniversary, and receiving such a prestigious tribute at this time fills me with emotion and makes me proud of the solid reputation that the wines of Sicily have won across the globe.”
The winners of awards in the 13 categories of the Wine Star Awards will be feted at a Wine Star Gala on 5 February 2024 at the Eden Roc Miami Beach Resort in Miami, Florida.