When Salvatore Ferragamo, the scion of the eponymous Italian luxury fashion brand, shares his passion about wine and style, people listen. Join our Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli, with their Success With Style podcast series, as they catch up with the timeless stylemaker and vintner.
Salvatore Ferragamo is as nice as you might think. Along with the fact that he is tall, handsome and smart, his family’s name is world renowned, and he represents a fashion dynasty as well. Recently, dressed in a custom Ferragamo suit as one would expect, he visited Neiman Marcus San Antonio, as well as the Valeria Ristorante in Boerne for their Bellissimo Wine Dinner to promote his Tuscan vineyard, Il Borro, a 1000 year-old, 700-hectare luxury resort and sustainable farm in the ancient hills of Arezzo. When we caught up with him to learn about his stylish approach to life he quips, with his eyes smiling widely, “Texas is special and you have almost as much pride as we Italians do. Your state is the heart of America and I am glad to be here again.”
There’s no doubt that the Ferregamos lead a stylish life. During the week, he and his wife Tini, and their three daughters live in Florence and they spend weekends “on the farm” as he calls it, located about 45 minutes away. “If you’ve seen the film, Life Is Beautiful, that’s it, that’s what it’s like. You must come and see it,” Ferragamo shares. Originally, Salvatore’s father, Ferruccio Ferragamo wanted to renovate the property, as well as the castle, when they acquired it in the early 1990s. Now it’s a Relais & Chateaux hotel complex that’s a must-stay destination for luxury travelers and also, hosts plenty of weddings.
Even though winemaking wasn’t in his original vision, the younger Ferragamo, who garnered his MBA from New York University after cutting his teeth in the family business, saw the possibilities for winemaking as a distinct fit for Il Borro. Not only is organic wine produced, but also they harvest olive oil, honey, fruits and vegetables, beef and chicken, that is all served at Il Borro. “We think it’s a very authentic approach. You’re staying in a medieval village. So really the element of authenticity is what makes our guests feel very comfortable and they understand that they’re in a truly unique place that also happens to have a negative carbon footprint,” he says. Plus, there is the wine that has been award-winning since its first introduction in 1999.
“You know, wine is an incredible field,” Ferragamo confides. “Because you can gain so much knowledge and I think it’s important to demystify wine and not get intimidated by the complicated lingo. It has really been an incredible journey of learning and that’s the beauty of the wine business for me.” When we ask about how he likes to entertain at his wine dinners, he is quick to note, “You want to have those people that are ready to learn about wine and they’re curious also to see how the wine interacts with their food. So, that makes for the best kind of dinner parties.” The dinner parties at Il Borro have become legendary with the family surrounding itself with interesting and stylish attendees.
When asked about his own style icons, Ferregamo notes, “I have an Italian father and an English mother. “That’s a good hybrid, so I’ve had a bit of experience from both the Italians, and at the English boarding school. I also had a wonderful grandmother who was the matriarch of our family. She was incredibly stylish, kind…and a really iconic person who has been very special in my life.” He goes on to say, “She felt it was always important to have balance, which is really very closely related to elegance. And, always to feel comfortable with the incredible quality of the clothes you’re wearing and the way that you look that’s elegant, classic…and truly you.” We will keep that in mind for a future visit to Ferragamo’s Il Borro.