After completing her studies at the prestigious European Institute of Design in Milan, Silvia Franco returned to her native Valdobbiadene where she began working side-by-side with her father Primo.
She represents the fourth generation of the Franco family legacy. And she is also part of a growing number of women who play increasingly important roles in running high-profile Italian wineries.
Since joining the family business, which was founded by her great-grandfather in 1919, she has worked in every capacity of the winemaking process, from vineyard management and vinification to branding, packaging, and marketing.
She developed her command of English in part thanks to her mother Annalisa, an English professor, and in part thanks to summers at camp in England and Scotland. But it was during her first working trip to the U.S. in 2009, she says, that she achieved her mastery of the language.
“I believe that my background in design, my first passion, has helped me a great deal in my work,” says Silvia. “Having a ‘creative’ mind has helped me in every aspect of our work. Creativity plays such an important role in what we do, whether it’s making a decision about graphic design or even tasting the wines with my father.”
Although working full-time for the winery, she has never stopped studying: in 2008 she became a certified sommelier with the Italian Sommelier Association and she continues to study enology, business strategy, and branding.
Today, the U.S. is her focus but she travels also to Asia and South America where there is an expanding market for her family’s wines.
“We are working to show the world that the Prosecco DOCG represents the highest level of quality in the appellation,” she says. “It’s a niche category that includes only the best wines from our appellation.”
Her favorite pairing for her family’s wines?
“I once paired our San Floriano with oysters on the half-shell in the Pacific northwest. We don’t regularly eat raw oysters in the Veneto [where Prosecco is made] and so it was as surprising as it was delicious.”