We met with Olga Businello in Kyiv after her long day of flights, but, nevertheless, her eyes were shining and her smile sincerely welcomed me. It was her first visit to Ukraine. This strong and at the same time tender woman is the Manager of a huge Valpolicella wine consortium, that includes more than 2000 wineries and production companies famous all over the world with its Amarone wine. She was the first lady in Italy and in Europe who got that high position. Daily challenges made her the highly professional manager of a serious business. And today this wonderful woman discovers Ukraine.
Olga, looking at you, anyone can easily assume that you work most probably in the fashion industry. How do you manage to look so good, to remain a loving wife and caring mother, to be always on top and at the same time to manage perfectly a very serious business in which traditionally all the leading positions belong to men?
In my opinion, the secret is to connect together two very different things: it is important to be organized and disciplined, and on the other hand – to be enthusiastic and creative. I think that women always have an advantage - they can use their femininity at work, in interpersonal and professional relationships. In this case you can find harmony with yourself and with the world around.
How do men perceive you in this business? What has been, and probably remains, the most difficult for you as for the General Manager of such a large wine consortium?
When I just had started working as a Director of the consortium, I was the only woman in Italy and in Europe in such a position; I was closely watched for a long time. I showed myself as a serious professional, a talented leader and a capable specialist. And all this time femininity has helped me to ease tensions in the profession, caused by excessive competition. Very often women make the mistake of trying to behave in business as men do to fit into the men's team. I do believe that women's natural easy way of communication (which should not be confused with a superficial attitude) can be very useful and soften the tensed atmosphere.
The creation of wine is an art, but no less talent requires its proper presentation for the consumer. It is necessary to represent a good story about it in order to win the hearts of customers. How did the Ukrainians meet Valpolicella wines at the tasting in October 2017? Do you see the prospects of your wines in our country, and how do you see our consumer?
Ukraine fascinated me. I think that this country has a great future and huge potential. Representatives of the wine business have proved themselves as knowledgeable people, serious professionals who want to develop and expand their impressions about Valpolicella wines. HoReCa is looking for high quality wines at good prices. Such cooperation can be useful to all parties.
If you invite Ukrainians to Valpolicella, how would you represent your region and where would you take your dear guests? What would you show them and what would they taste in that part of Italy?
Valpolicella is a happy region of Italy for two reasons – there is wonderful meal combined with exquisite red wines and proximity to major tourist attractions and cultural centers. You are in 5-minute drive from Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet, where unique events take place, such as lyric operas in the Arena, ballets and theater performances at the Roman Theater. Just 1-hour drive and you are in Venice, a UNESCO heritage city. Lake Garda is in twenty-minute drive; it is a pearl that attracts a huge number of European tourists. From Valpolicella to Milan - the city of shopping - you can get just in one hour and a half by car. There is a lot to see and to taste and it will be very pleasant to remember the visit to this region for a long time.
If we talk about wine markets, in your opinion, which of them will be promising in the next 5 years? Will there be new players such as China? Where and how is the wine industry moving? Who is the main consumer of Italian wines in the nearest future?
China is undoubtedly a market that all wine producers are now targeting. I think that especially for Italian wines, the markets of Eastern Europe and Russia are also important, because our wines are suitable for your climate, good paired with traditional food and resonate with the tastes of consumers of this region. In particular, women appreciate the softness and elegance of Italian wines.
Once I tried Amarone, I realized that I had found a new love for myself. Each winery has its own Amarone, but, of course, each of these wines has an unforgettable flavor and taste. I will not ask you about your favorite wine, because I guess there are some of them. But if you could create your own wine, what would it be like? Tell us please about the aroma, taste notes, for what cases would it be and for whom?
You said it very well. Really, it is not easy to choose one type of Amarone wine from many wonderful its types. Of course, the characteristics which attract me the most in this wine are its enveloping tenderness, softness and warmth. The elegance of this wine, which rises above the taste of alcohol, has emerged thanks to the skills of our manufacturers. Amarone is a woman's wine, because it conquers those who drink it with its softness.
Your visit to Ukraine was very brief and devoted to business meetings and negotiations. This time you did not manage to see a lot in the city and to get acquainted with Ukrainian culture too close. But still, for sure you already know something about our country. What do you like and what did impress you about Ukraine and Ukrainians?
Yes, unfortunately, I had very little time while this visit, but I promised myself that next year I would definitely spend more time to know Kyiv better. Nevertheless, I found an hour to walk along the Andriyivsky Descent, where there are restaurants and benches of local masters, artists who exhibit their works and goods. It is wonderful historical city. We were very lucky with the weather; it was sunny, which allowed me to enjoy the architecture of the buildings and our stroll. The same sunlight and cordiality I noticed in people of Kyiv.
In recent years, the role of women in our country has changed greatly. Ukrainian women are increasingly leading serious businesses, fighting in the war zone, going into politics. At the same time, they still remain one of the most beautiful women in the world, feminine and loving ones. What kind of advice, based on your own experience, you can gave to our ladies who want to run the business or are aiming at high positions in the professional sphere? How do you see a modern woman?
Today it is important to set a clear goal, to wish to reach it very strongly and to move towards it in spite of everything, but it is very important to remain a woman. I’ve already got acquainted with some of such women during my short visit to Kyiv. I think that these women will do a lot not only for themselves, but also for their country.
Photos provided by PR service of Valpolicella Consorzio
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak