LAKE BLUFF, Ill., May 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout his career Anthony Terlato pioneered quality wines and had an enormous impact on American's drinking habits and appreciation of wine and food. In 1979 Tony Terlato introduced American palates to Pinot Grigio and created a new category for white wine that remains in place to this day. His trailblazing career spanned more than sixty years, and he was regarded as 'The Father of Pinot Grigio'. Terlato passed away in June 2020, but the Terlato family, a proud four-generation family business, continue his mission of producing, importing, and marketing fine wines and giving back to their industry and communities. In recognition of his enduring contributions, Terlato has announced the Terlato Legacy Program: 1st Annual Anthony Terlato Tribute.
With over 40 years of leadership in luxury Pinot Grigio, CEO Bill Terlato traveled to the Northeast of Italy in 2012 to create the next chapter for their family and the category. In 2014, he released Terlato Vineyards Estate grown and bottled Pinot Grigio from Colli Orientali del Friuli, Italy's most renowned white wine region.
This year in partnership with premier beverage distributor Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, the Terlato Vineyards Legacy Program established a challenge with Terlato Vineyards Pinot Grigio, the top-selling luxury Pinot Grigio from Friuli, to fund a charity in honor of Tony Terlato. With 15 markets competing to deliver the best performance, the enthusiastic competition was won by Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of Illinois.
Their impressive efforts delivered a $40,000 donation to the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (IRAEF) Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. Terlato Vineyards and Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits will each contribute $20,000 to support this important initiative.
CEO Bill Terlato said, "Our partnership with Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits is a source of great pride, and our father would be thrilled by what we've accomplished together. It is only fitting that the Illinois sales team earned this victory. Many on the team have worked with our family for years and we are pleased that the best performance was in our backyard to honor his legacy. We are thrilled that the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund is the beneficiary of the donation as the restaurant community was near and dear to dad's heart."
The restaurant industry, the largest private-sector employer in Illinois has been overwhelmingly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Terlato Vineyards Legacy Program's generous $40,000 donation to the non-profit IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund will assist colleagues in the foodservice industry with their efforts to move forward during these challenging times.
Terry Brick, Executive VP and General Manager for Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits noted, "Our entire SGWS Family is honored to win this national contest designed to recognize the outstanding legacy of Tony Terlato. We were able to win thanks to our team's passion for this brand and also thanks to our partners at Choose Chicago, with whom we recently partnered on Chicago Restaurant Week. This partnership expanded our ability to share Terlato wines with hundreds of participating restaurants and thousands of food and wine enthusiasts. Being able to donate $40,000 to the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund is a remarkable tribute, one that we are confident Tony would be proud of, knowing how passionate he and the entire Terlato family is for the hospitality community here in Chicago and across the country."
"We are humbled and grateful for this generous contribution from Terlato Wines and Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits," said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. "Since last summer, we have actively raised funds for the IRAEF Restaurant Employee Relief Fund, which provides one-time, $500 cash grants to industry workers facing unforeseen financial crisis as a result of the pandemic. This remarkable gift will truly make a difference in the lives of others and will allow us to reach a milestone of disbursing more than $300,000 this spring."