To David Noto, founder of Altaneve, wine is something special. For ten generations, his family in Calabria, Italy, specialized in wine-making. Although he began his career on a different path than his family before him, David’s love for wine – sparkling wine in particular – drew him back to the vineyards of Italy. David recognized how hard it was to find exceptional, affordable sparkling wines in the US and began his mission of building Altaneve to deliver premium quality Prosecco, Sparkling Rose to the US market.
What is your business, and what problem you are solving?
Altaneve provides the highest quality sparkling wines available to US consumers. Short of smuggling bottles of Italian Prosecco into your suitcase, exceptional sparkling wines are very hard to come by in the United States. With wine-making specialists in Valdobbiadene and Prosecco, Italy, we produce our own exceptional Prosecco and Sparkling Rose.
What inspired you to start your company?
My family made wine for over ten generations. My love for Prosecco enticed me to start my own wine company, but that path was not straightforward. Originally, I had no intention to work within the wine industry and I enjoyed successful and diverse careers in engineering, management consulting, and finance technology.
While I was pursuing my MBA, a fellow student told me, “I really don’t see you in finance. I see you in hospitality. Maybe wine, yes, wine... start a wine company! You’ve been pushing Prosecco on all of us, so start a Prosecco company!” I thought about it for a while, researched the category, and eventually was hooked on the idea! I just had to do it.
I was hungry to do something I loved, and I LOVE my job. Growing up in a multi-generational wine-making family, I am very passionate about Prosecco. It excites me everyday to share my passion with others!
Who is in your core team? How did your team come together?
The quality and excellence of Altaneve is attributable to each of the team members. We all share a passion for Altaneve wines and believe in the future success of the company. I have two completely distinct core teams, one in Italy and one in the U.S.
My Italian team is made up of a small, fantastic group of people with a love and passion for their unique town of Valdobbiadene and Prosecco. We are all committed to growing the best grapes and making the highest quality Prosecco. My core team members have each made significant individual contributions to the oenology (the study of wines) and agronomy (the study of crops) of Prosecco.
In the U.S., our team is made up of digital marketing, sales support, event planning/hosting, marketing, and graphic design experts.
Please explain your edge (or differentiation) over your competition
Because we are going after a completely underdeveloped price and quality segment in the Prosecco category, our competition is two-fold. The first is lower-priced Prosecco, Cava, and U.S. sparkling wine. On the other end of the spectrum are our higher-priced Champagne competitors.
Our differentiation is that wine lovers can enjoy amazingly high-end Prosecco as an affordable alternative to entry level Champagne.
Also, I may be biased, but Altaneve wines are simply better. We are meticulous in every step of the wine-making process. Our wines are complex yet approachable, with balanced acidity and a crisp taste. This gives them great versatility and refined elegance.
We are also conscious of health as well as the environment. Altaneve wines are all natural, sustainable, and vegan. All of our wines contain low calories and the most minimal sulfites possible (about ½ that of most Proseccos and ¼ that of most Champagnes), so not only are our wines healthy and kind to your waistline, but are also less likely to give you a headache or hangover.
Favorite book? Why?
“What's Bred in the Bone” by Robertson Davies. The book makes you think about life, your place in it and how you might, unwittingly, be part of a different grand plan.
If you were an investor, how would you look at your Altaneve as an opportunity?
First, I would look at the market and realize that Prosecco has exploded over the years. With nearly 600 million bottles of Prosecco sold in comparison to 300 million bottles of Champagne, Prosecco sales will almost double that of Champagne sales in 2018.
Then, I would focus on the $20 retail price gap between Prosecco and Champagne (almost $20 Billion in U.S. wine sales in this $20 retail price gap).
Last, I would recognize that before Altaneve, the available Proseccos did not offer premium quality at an affordable price point. Altaneve, however, has the quality, packaging, and branding tackle this niche, making it an attractive investment within a highly demanded market.
Ever experienced a “life changing moment?”
Yes! Funnily enough, my life changing moment happened during the evening my classmate said, “why don’t you start a Prosecco company?” That moment completely changed my life! A light bulb switched on at that instant, and I thought, “that’s a cool idea!
Any challenges you anticipate? How do you approach them?
I have taken an interesting path, so not only do I anticipate challenges, I anticipate that I won’t be able to anticipate the challenges I have yet to face!
My approach is simple: take on the challenges one at a time, and do my best to confront issues before they become challenges.
A skill you wish you had?
Yes, to turn water into wine!
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? How about Mars?
I have been very fortunate to have traveled a lot in my lifetime, but I have yet to visit South America. There is so much new and ancient culture that I would love to see and explore!
And why go off to Mars when I am having so much fun discovering planet earth?!