In June 2014, when Giovanni Borghese of Castello di Borghese Vineyards learned his father, Marco, had been killed in a head-on car crash, he had trouble processing the news. It made no sense — especially since his mother, Ann Marie, had died of cancer just 10 days earlier.
“My reaction was literally, ‘That’s impossible because our mom just died,’ ” he recalled in a recent interview. “…It’s an almost childish response. Those things don’t happen back to back.”
The shocking news rippled throughout the local wine community, which remembered Marco — a bona fide Italian prince who rarely used the title — and Ann Marie for their warmth and grace. Their Route 48 operation is Long Island’s oldest vineyard; the Borgheses purchased the property from the North Fork’s first vintners, Alex and Louisa Hargrave, in 1999.
Shortly after his mother and father’s deaths, Mr. Borghese said, there was work to do. Two and a half years later, the 31-year-old owns two-thirds of the company after buying out the interest of his older half-brother, Fernando. His sister, Allegra, controls the remaining share, although she is pursuing a Ph.D. at Fordham University while Mr. Borghese oversees daily operations.
This week, Mr. Borghese opened up about what it’s like to continue his family business, a path that hadn’t been laid out for him by his parents.
“I think on day one I knew that this was going to give me more purpose than any other role or position,” he said.