San Pietro di Feletto (Veneto), Italy
Beniamino Maschio used to define himself as a “lover of monovarietal grappa”.
For several years now, the company has been run by Beniamino’s children, Alessandro and Flavia: Alessandro – himself the father of five children – is one of the most active and innovative distillers in his home region of Veneto, where distilleries are plentiful.
As president of Istituto Grappa Veneta, Alessandro has worked to promote the production of monovarietal grappa made from grapes such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, Manzoni bianco, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco or Sauvignon, while also creating gems such as the grappas produced in Amarone, Prosecco and Cartizze (aged for around 3 months in small casks of wild cherry) and Brenté, a blend of Pinot and Prosecco grappas (aged for 3 to 9 years in oak casks).
The story of the family business begins in the mid-19th century when an ancestor of Beniamino Maschio, newly-married and living with his young wife in a house owned by his father in Cismon on the slopes of Monte Grappa, accepted an invitation from Franz Joseph to go and work in Transylvania (Romania), where there was a demand for labour for the construction of a new railway.
The Romanian branch of the Maschio family grew, and once the railway was completed its members sought work in other areas – including the distillation of fruit liqueurs and pomace on an estate owned by the descendants of Prince Vlad, better known as Dracula.
Later, pining for home, some members of the family decided to return to Veneto. It was 1892 when Antonio Maschio arrived in Vazzola in the province of Treviso. Before long, he’d built his own small distillery, and it was here that the family’s great adventure in the fascinating world of grappa began.
One of Antonio’s sons, Giuseppe, married on 17 February 1900 and brought twelve children into the world as he expanded the distillery. Among his children were Bonaventura (later to found his own distilling business in Gaiarine, Treviso province), Aurelio (who became a Salesian missionary and was known as the “John Bosco of India” in recognition of the charity institutions he founded there, all of them still in operation) and the youngest child of all, Beniamino, future master distiller and the father of Alessandro, who now runs the family distillery in San Pietro di Feletto near Conegliano (Treviso province).