Cheerful Hawke’s Bay character still winning gold at almost 90 years old

Antonio Giugliano has always liked to keep busy and at almost 90 years old he’s still going strong and winning gold.

The amateur winemaker, who has a folder full of certificates won over many years of making sparkling wine in the garage, says he likes a good challenge.

“I don’t like to be sitting around with nothing to do,” Antonio said.

His latest success comes just weeks after rejoining the Hawke’s Bay Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Club, of which he had been a member for many years before taking a break.

He won gold in this month’s 2023 New Zealand Amateur Winemakers and Brewers Federation national competition , earning Best in Class for his W19 Dry Sparkling and Best in Class for his Dry Sparkling Feijoa.

I could have sat with Antonio and his wife Judy for hours listening to their life stories.

Many Hawke’s Bay people will know Antonio as Mr Luigi. He owned and operated several hair salons in Hawke’s Bay.

“I was the inventor of the blow dry,” he told me.

“I had a client that came from Wellington to see me and rock ‘n’ roll people from Palmerston North as well.”

The couple immigrated to New Zealand in 1973 with their three children.

Antonio’s winemaking hobby began in Italy. “My family in Italy make wine the old-fashioned way, so I had a lot of knowledge about winemaking when I came here.

“I went to EIT and studied winemaking under Nick Sage. Sadly a health problem meant I couldn’t finish the course.”
First published by HB Today. Click here to read the full article.