Wilson Daniels Team Spotlight: Michael Traverso
In our Wilson Daniels Team Spotlight, we take a look at the team members that make this biz what it is. Get to know Michael Traverso, Senior Brand Manager and Director of the Italian Portfolio, who has been with the company almost five years thus far and has completed level 1 of the Master Court of Sommeliers.
WHAT YOU WERE DOING BEFORE WILSON DANIELS: I was working for Williams Selyem winery in the beautiful Russian River Valley serving as Business Development Manager and directing their new hospitality program.
WHAT DO YOU DO? I manage the health, sustainability, and relationship of each one our Italian winery partners. My role has been a core part of growing our footprint with the Italian wine category. My focus is to support our sales team in moving forward on goals, driving depletions, and driving value of the Italian brands.
WHAT GOT YOU INTO WINE? DID YOU ALWAYS HAVE A PASSION FOR IT? Coming from a strong Italian-American family, wine was always on the table. It was a core staple just like bread. Rarely did a meal not have wine as an integral part. At a young age I grew to understand that wine complemented the food while enhancing the flavors – that food changed with the wine. This fascinated me and encouraged me to learn more.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH WILSON DANIELS? There have been two trips that come to mind. One was right in the beginning of my career with Wilson Daniels, our Vinitaly trip in 2014. I was on a solo mission to visit our small base of producers (only four brands at the time). It was a very lonely mission but really eye opening to see what opportunity we had as a company. Four short years after our Vinitaly trip in 2018, we hosted a reception for our portfolio (now at 14 brands). Our renewed Wilson Daniels team and winery principals along with key buyers, press, and distribution partners attended. To feel the energy in the room and see in front of me what we’ve done in Italy over a short period was incredible.
WHO IS YOUR MENTOR? My grandfather Mario Volpone. Shortly after WWII he left Genoa, Italy (also leaving behind his and his wife and daughter) coming to the U.S. with only pennies in his pocket. He did not know the language or customs. Making his long journey to San Francisco he worked anywhere he could – janitor, scavenger, construction, etc. He worked harder than anyone I know. After five years of getting settled in his new country, the rest of his family joined him. He was able to pave the way for my family to have a better life. I thank him and other hardworking immigrants each day. The memories of my grandfather are what drive my work ethic and core values in my own life and career.
WHAT WOULD YOUR COLLEAGUES BE SURPRISED TO KNOW? I’m distantly related to Frank Sinatra. My great grandmother was first cousins with Frank’s mother.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WINE? WHY? Lately I’ve been enjoying dry rosé. I’ve always been a fan of the French dry rosés for consumption all year long. Easy food pairing and low alcohol make these easy to have around. Nice to see more wineries are now producing rosé which has opened many great options.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DRINK THAT *ISN’T* WINE? Espresso. Hands down.
FAVORITE VACATION SPOT, YOU KNOW, WHEN NOT IN THE OFFICE? I enjoy spending summers in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Mountains, sun, hiking…peace.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME? Biking, doing yoga, cooking, and taking my son to play golf.
July 6, 2018