Barbara Pansa

Drinking italian in NY

Growing up close to the Langhe (for the few who are not aware of it, a true paradise for gourmands), facilitated the discovery of my true passion. As a young girl, I had the desire to try new restaurants with my mom, and thanks to a dad passionate about wine, I tasted different wines to understand their characteristics. After graduation, I worked at several wineries, first overseeing the domestic market and later reaching out for the international market. I’ve spent a few years attending trade fairs and consumer events, studying wine regions, traveling, learning from many mentors, but always keeping an eye to “haute cuisine” and its best international players (I’m a woman, the “glam” part of the gastronomic system as a kind of appeal…)

While scouting for new wines and studying the new trends and new winemaking techniques worthy of note, I had the opportunity to write and build many prestigious wine lists, helping restaurateurs who wanted to “modernize” their wine programs.

Finally, after 15 years in the wine business, with a deep knowledge of the industry and an international working experience, I decided to become an entrepreneur and consultant: the dream of my professional life!

In 2016 I met a beautiful and fascinating American while he was giving a presentation of the US Wine Market at a conference in Italy… Well, boring but Galehaut was the wine speech about wine market because today, I’m happily married with that fascinating American!

Bypassing all the bureaucratic adventures that we had to face in order to get married in America (Gosh, this is totally another long story), today I work as a consultant for a beautiful Italian restaurant project, always focusing on high quality and authenticity above all.

I have to admit that Italian food in the USA has come a long way: for example, today is much easier for Americans to enjoy a real, authentic Mozzarella imported from Campania, rather than the rubbery imitation known as “Muzarell”, or indulge in the authentic flavor of Parmigiano Reggiano, rather than in the bland and insipid US made Parmesan. That’s give me the chance to “play” more easily in my job with real high quality also speaking about wine and enjoy to embrace small wineries, less known, that work in natural way.

I recently had the opportunity to meet Chef Andrea Zanin, an amazing person with unparalleled cooking skills and a great heart, who cooks for the pleasure of letting his customers experience the original flavors of our homeland: music to my ears!

The challenge for me was to build a wine list with over 200 Italian labels, on the opposite side of the Ocean, in a small state like the NJ where the availability of wines is not comparable to the nearby state of NY, and where the media popularity of a wine is still perceived as a guarantee of its quality. Due to my forma mentis, and to the desire to provide a different type of wine list, that could express the incredible diversity and variety of Italian wines, I decided to feature small producers, practicing biodynamic or organic farming, often making wine from native grapes from lesser known areas.

This last (and totally enjoyable) job opportunity it’s a clear example of what I love to do: work with people I like, talking about quality in different ways and first of all, try to not omologate taste.


Barbara Pansa

Just a few lines to tell who I am?

Let me see…

A girl who is passionate about wine and food, roams around the world for a long time, until she leaves her native home in a Piedmontese village to land in the city at the center of the world: New York.

The ingredients are simple: passion and determination, a bit of luck and, as in all respectable stories, love!

Yes, this is me!


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