Castello Banfi of Montalcino, Tuscany’s premier vineyard estate, has been awarded the Premio Speciale Vinitaly Regione 2011 for Tuscany. The prize is presented to a single producer from each region of Italy, credited with achieving top results at the Concorso Enologico Internazionale tasting at the annual VinItaly wine fair in Verona. The same accolade was also awarded to Vigne Regali, Castello Banfi’s sister estate in the Piedmont region of northeast Italy. Castello Banfi enjoys an exceptional record of success at Vinitaly. In 2010, the property was designated Italy’s Top Wine Estate, when it received the coveted Vinitaly Nation award. It represented the 13th occasion in less than 20 years that Castello Banfi has been declared Italy’s best winery. In addition, Castello Banfi has earned the Premio Gran VinItaly an unprecedented four times. Castello Banfi is also the first winery in the world to be awarded international recognition for Exceptional Environmental, Ethical and Social Responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as an International Leader in Customer Satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000) by the International Standard Organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The family-owned Castello Banfi estate in the southwest portion of Montalcino comprises a constellation of single vineyards encompassing over three dozen sub-soils. Castello Banfi is renowned for its work on pairing noble grape varieties with their optimal terroir, in addition to over three decades of research dedicated to isolating a selection of superior clones of the native Sangiovese grape, designed to produce consistently outstanding Brunello. Castello Banfi has become an important center for regional hospitality and a key player in introducing trade and consumers the world over to Italy’s wine culture, opening its doors to over 80,000 visitors a year. The 12th century castle at the heart of this magnificent estate boasts an enoteca/wine bar, restaurant, balsamic cellars and a world-class museum dedicated to the historic relationship between glass and wine. The historic Vigne Regali winery and vineyards in Piedmont were acquired by the Mariani family in 1979. Most famously known for its best selling Rosa Regale wine, a unique sparkling red, Vigne Regali is also a leading name in Dolcetto and Gavi, with the popular Principessa Gavia label. Lately the Vigne Regali portfolio has expanded to include two innovative new wines: La Lus, made from the Albarossa grape, a cross between Piedmont’s signature Nebbiolo and Barbera varieties, and Cuvée Aurora, the first Metodo Classico sparkling rosé to debut from Piedmont’s Alta Langa DOC.