Rossana Di Zio Magnotta is CEO of Magnotta Winery, the company she co-founded with her late husband, Ontario wine icon Gabe Magnotta. For over 25 years, she has been an innovator of over 180 world-class Magnotta wines including Sparkling Ice™, the world’s first sparkling Icewine and Enotrium, Canada’s first Amarone-inspired red wine.
She has also launched G. Marquis, a collection of premium wines and Icewines with a unique, authentic personality, available at the LCBO. And, in a bold move, she acquired the wine assets of Kittling Ridge which enabled her to double her stores and grow her product portfolio. Under Rossana’s leadership, Magnotta products have also expanded into global markets including the United States and Asia.
She became drawn into winemaking at an early age while helping her father make his annual homemade wine. Later, as a young wife and mother with a curious spirit, she became more fascinated with winemaking which went hand-in-hand with her fondness for cooking. She experimented with anything imaginable including assorted fruits, herbs and greens – even dandelions - to make different types of wine.
I like to think I lead by example. I deal with a lot of different people every day – customers, employees, politicians, bureaucrats, competitors, Lyme Disease patients and their families – about different topics, issues and problems that I want to solve. I’m passionate about all of them. My best piece of advice: Don’t lose your human touch. You will be surprised how much that will keep you grounded, well balanced and connected to people every day.
When she began the winery with her husband, it wasn't easy advising Italian, Greek and Portuguese men on how to make wine. But she was determined to earn their respect. She wrote a winemaking instructional book in different languages and gave it away for free. Once the book took off, the men started to come around asking to speak to La Signora about their homemade wines.
Rossana always strives to create interesting wines for wine lovers that exceed their expectations. Most of all, she identified long ago the need to demystify wine by empowering consumers with product knowledge which has proven to be a key component to her branding success.
A winery is one of the most difficult businesses to sustain for a long period of time and many have come and gone but the strong brand that Rossana has built over the years has earned her loyal, enthusiastic followers making Magnotta Winery's 25-year presence in the marketplace truly unique.
For more than two decades, Rossana has also been passionate about healthcare. A long time supporter of Toronto hospitals, foundations and charitable organizations, she has launched the G. Magnotta Foundation for Vector-Borne Diseases to help establish Canada's first research facility to study Lyme Disease and eventually other vector-borne diseases. The research will lead to better testing and treatment for Lyme Disease patients in Canada. Read more about Rossana's philanthropy.