St. Julian Winery & Distillery in Paw Paw has announced Apollo Braganini II, the founding family’s fourth generation, will assume the role of president.
He succeeds his father, John, who stepped into leadership in 2016 after his brother, David, passed away unexpectedly. Apollo, named after his paternal grandfather, is the sixth family member to head the company. Along with his brother, Dario, he will pilot the company into its second century.
“I was always fascinated with the winery, even as a child,” says Braganini II. “In 2018, I was presented the opportunity to join the family business and was tasked with revitalizing the wholesale and distribution channels. Since then, I have had the pleasure of learning this very complex business while also enjoying tremendous growth across all sales avenues.”
Founded in Canada in 1921 by Mariano Meconi, it was originally named the Border City Wine Cellars and later, Meconi Wine Co. As soon as the 18th amendment was ratified and prohibition ended, Meconi moved his operations to Detroit and ultimately to Paw Paw in 1936. It was first known as The Italian Wine Co. before being christened St. Julian Winery after the patron saint of Meconi’s birth village in 1941.
“Working with my sons was always something I wanted to do and having the opportunity to do so here at St. Julian has been a gift,” says John Braganini, who, along with his wife, Sarah and his branch of the Braganini family, has helped usher in a new era for the company.
Apollo and Dario have focused their efforts on developing the St. Julian’s wholesale business and have seen a significant increase in sales throughout the Midwest. As outstate wholesale director, Dario has guided outstate sales with continued success from his headquarters in Indianapolis.
St. Julian will continue to bring high quality products to consumers while under Apollo’s direction, remaining focused on the company’s commitment to Michigan agriculture and advancements in technology and production innovation.
“It is a privilege to work with such an outstanding group of people every day, and the team at St. Julian truly sets themselves apart from any I have worked with before,” says Braganini II. “I am also extremely honored for the opportunity to help lead St. Julian through its next chapter alongside my brother and business partner.
“We are excited to continue our family’s passion and legacy. It is a blessing to be able to work with my family every day, and hopefully — one day — my children will stand beside me at this truly amazing company.”