Richard Cuneo Sonoma, CA
Giving a century-old company a facelift was more than just a risky move, it was a brilliant one by Richard Cuneo. A man widely recognized for his career in the wine industry, Cuneo is currently Chairman of the Board of Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, and credited with helping rebuild the Sebastiani image. In 2001, with Cuneo's diligent hard work and planning behind them, Sebastiani sold off its lower-priced, value brands to focus solely on its premium wines. The upscale move gave Sebastiani just the desired boost in the market, thus establishing the name Sebastiani to be synonymous with Sonoma's finest wines.
While he may be most known for a successful and vibrant career in the wine industry, Cuneo is also strongly committed to community. Cuneo has served on the Board of Directors for several organizations including the Sonoma School Board, Hanna Boys Center, the Sonoma County Fish and Wildlife Advisory Board and the Governing Board of the California State Fair, for which he received the lifetime achievement award. Also a member of the Ducks Unlimited California Legislative Committee, Cuneo was appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to serve as a member of the U.S. Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C., representing the wine industry.
With such a large impact locally, statewide and nationally, Cuneo has also made many positive contributions to Italian culture. In honor of these accomplishments, he has been recognized by the Italian Government as a Cavaliere (Knight) Officiale, The Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta recognized him with, among other awards, the Croce di Grand 'Ufficiale Dell'Ordine (Cross of the Grand Official) one of the Order's highest honors, and in 2002, Prince Emmanuel of Savoy recognized Cuneo for his many contributions to Italy's history and culture.