Who is Panizzi? Above all it's its people. After the portrait of owner Simone Niccolai, let's move on to another one of #panizzipeople: Susanna Santini, #supersusanna for our social media friends. She is the face of the company, the one that represents it in Italy and abroad, a true Ambassador for quality Vernaccia di San Gimignano throughout the world. She covers the five continents promoting Panizzi's wines that have marked a quality leap of our historic vine. It's impossible not to hang off her words, when you get overwhelmed by her passion and expertise. But in addition to her vocation for a job well done and her passion for great wine, Susanna is so much more. Let's find out what it is.
#panizzipeople episode 2: Susanna Santini
What's your job at Panizzi?
I am the Sales Manager for Italy and the rest of the world.
What is the skill that those who do your job cannot absolutely lack?
The will to communicate and discover, curiosity.
What is your favorite element in your work?
Travelling. I believe the most important and valuable element of travelling is the journey, opposed to the destination: with you journey you get into contact with cultures, customs and traditions, languages, smells and tastes that are different from those that normally surround you. Diversity, existing in any kind of journey, enriches me. Understanding and appreciating this aspect makes the difference for those who do my job, because it creates a privileged channel of communication between two people.
What did you do before working in Panizzi?
I used to travel! Yes, travelling has always been my great passion. Hence my education as a travel agent and the study of foreign languages. In fact, professionally speaking, I started out as travel agency director and then moved on to contribute to my family business: a racing car team.
This second experience was a great school of life. I collaborated with professionals at the very top (BMW, therefore McLaren and Williams, just to give an example); I participated in top-level events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I learned a lot, both in terms of management, logistics and organization, and in terms of public relations.
Surely the most important teaching I carry within is the importance of teamwork. Today more than ever, I know that every single person on the team, any team, has a unique and key role, each one functional to the success of any project. In the end, in fact, we are all together under the podium celebrating, or we all cheer each other up when the result is not what we have hoped for.
Taking a step further, I think ... Are not all functional to one another?
After this experience I landed in the world of agriculture, moving from machinery trade to winemaking, where I am today. My very personal passion for wine contributed in an important way to this change: over the years I trained as Sommelier and Taster with AIS.
The work at Panizzi was a further disruption of my life and the beginning of a new one: I started from scratch again, doing back-office work and taking care of reception. But when I was offered a sales role, I immediately accepted. How could I say no? It was like a dream come true.
What do you do in your free time? What are your passions?
I have many passions. Since I was a child, I have been attracted to music and dance. Almost twenty years ago I approached oriental calligraphy, a journey within the journey! In recent years, however, my interest turned to the understanding of the relationship between people and nature, then to the study of how we men and women function in relation to the environment around us.
Then I started hiking ... Around San Gimignano there are plenty of opportunities, starting from Larniano, west of the city center, where Panizzi owns a receptive structure made of ancient paths and wonderful restored farmhouses, how marvelous! I just pack some essentials, and I start walking.
What is your favorite wine in Panizzi? Which wine do you identify with most? Why?
Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG. It's like a child: simple, pure and spontaneous, but already capable of great things.
What is your favorite place at Panizzi?
Santa Margherita, the place where it all began, the heart of the company. My office faces on Santa Margherita vineyard, the oldest vineyard, or - as I say - the wisest. On the other side, the view is over San Gimignano's skyline. There is a special energy, difficult to explain ... One must live it to fully understand it.
What is your favorite place in San Gimignano?
There is a place in San Gimignano that I find very feminine, at least for the use that was made of it until recently. It's Le Fonti. It is a place located within the historical center, but outside the most popular tourist paths. It dates back to the fourteenth century, created to allow women to draw water and wash clothes: ten Romanesque pointed arches hide an ancient water fountain dating back to Longobard times. Here the women of San Gimignano took water and did laundry daily up to the last century. Who knows how many of my ancestors passed through these arches. When I want to get out of the buzz of everyday life and find peace and calm, that's where I go. The atmosphere is magical.
And then I align myself with Simone Niccolai, saying that the other place of my heart in the city is Piazza Pecori: there my maternal great-grandfather, Teodoro, more than a hundred years ago, had a carpenter's shop. He built and repaired wine barrels. What to say? Perhaps my career path was a return to basics!