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Anthony Terlato (born May 11, 1934) is an American wine executive who is now chairman of Terlato Wines, a Lake Bluff, Illinois-based wine importer, producer and marketer. He has been called "The Father of Pinot Grigio" for his early role in bringing the now-ubiquitous varietal to the American consumer beginning in the late 1970s, when it was practically unknown outside Europe, and has been credited as a key figure in the shift in American wine tastes from "mass-produced, sweet, fortified jug wines ... to the likes of classified-growth Bordeaux, top Italian estates, and the best wineries in California that are enjoyed by many today."
Terlato's career began in 1955 on Chicago's North Side at his father’s wine and spirits store, Leading Liquor Marts. While there, he saw an emerging market for fine wines in the United States. In 1956, Terlato joined his father-in-law’s wine-bottling firm, Pacific Wine Company. He soon established relationships with Alexis Lichine and Frank Schoonmaker – two pioneer importers. At age 29, Terlato was named president of Pacific Wine Company.
In the late 1960s, Terlato expanded Paterno Imports, which imported olive oil, to import fine wines. In 1979, he introduced Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio to the United States and over the next 25 years turned it into one of the most successful wine imports in American history – it was the most popular imported wine in Wine & Spirits magazine's annual restaurant poll from 1995 to 2008.
In the late 1980s, Terlato began adding wines from producers throughout Europe. In 1996, he made the family’s first winery purchase: Rutherford Hill Winery in Napa Valley. In 2000, the Terlato family purchased Chimney Rock Winery, also in Napa Valley, and in 2002, they added Sanford Winery in the Sta Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County to their portfolio of wineries.
For his role in introducing Italian wines to America, Terlato was conferred the decoration of Cavaliere Ufficiale, Motu Proprio in 1984, the first American in the wine industry to receive this decoration.
In the course of his career, Terlato was exposed to and/or befriended many of the wine and food industry’s notable participants and innovators, including winemakers Baron Phillippe de Rothschild and his daughter Baroness Phillippine de Rothschild, Christian Moueix, Jean Michel Cazes, Angelo Gaja, Michel Chapoutier, Michael Twelftree and Robert Mondavi and chef/Restaurateurs Julia Child, Jean Joho, Charlie Trotter and Lidia Bastianich.
Honors and awards
- Cavaliere Ufficiale, Motu Proprio, Government of Italy, 1984
- Wine Enthusiast’s Man of the Year Award, 2002 
- Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award, 2004
- Horatio Alger Award, 2006
- American Chamber of Commerce in Italy Wine Excellence Award, 2010 
- Wine Enthusiast's Lifetime Achievement Award, 2015
- Barr, Lisa, Michigan Avenue (June 27, 2014). "Catch Up with the Father of Pinot Grigio". Michigan Avenue.
- White, David The Terroirist (June 24, 2014). "Tony Terlato Is Betting on Millennials".
- Raven, Mike In the Mix (September 2013). "Tony Terlato An American Wine Icon".
- Gray, W. Blake The Gray Report (May 11, 2015). "Wine trade rumor".
- Murphy, Linda San Francisco Chronicle (June 30, 2005). "Tony's World".
- Illinois General Assembly, House Resolution (HR1048), March 23, 2006 Archived September 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Taste: A Life in Wine, Agate Publishing, Chicago 2008 ISBN 978-1-57284-097-3
- Illinois General Assembly, March 23, 2006 Archived September 30, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
- Wine Enthusiast, August 23, 2012
- Wine Spectator, July 31, 2004
- Amcham.it, March 4, 2012
- Reuters, November 11, 2014