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Angelo Cane

June 14th 1964 - March 26th 2024

With great sadness, we report that Angelo Cane passed away last Tuesday, far too young. Here, we share tributes from a number of friends who knew him well from years of working, eating, drinking, and laughing together. First, however, a short disclaimer – Angelo would not have liked the fuss!

Those who knew Angelo have been mourning the loss of a friend, boss, colleague, customer, supplier, and mentor this week – for many people, there was significant overlap, as Angelo meant so much to so many. His passing at the age of 59 has come as a shock, making it that much harder to process – our thoughts are very much with his wife, Valeria, his children, Reuben, Edith, Omar, and all his family.

This week has been tribute-filled but we open with one that the humorous side of Angelo would have enjoyed the most: cuneo24.net reported that the world of wine had lost one of Italy’s greatest oenologists. We can hear him laughing in absence at this! After graduating as an oenologist from Umberto I Scuola Enologica Alba and leaving his beloved Piemonte, he founded, from a flat in Muswell Hill, the business that would become Vinum in 1991 with his friend and business partner, Paolo Nolasco. Angelo was proud of and fought for Vinum’s enduring independence and size, working with a dynamic range of businesses, both small and large, from his friends Roberto Bianco of Cascina Morassino and Luciano Piona of Cavalchina to Gaja & Castello Banfi. Dynamic and shrewd in business, Angelo had an eye for a great opportunity, a great nose for quality, and just enough rough-around-the-edges Piemontese charm that producers who have been with Vinum since its first portfolio in 1994 remain. Further recognition of this is that Angelo was as comfortable making jokes with the waiters in whichever one of his friends' restaurants he was in, as he was making jokes with the buyers at Marks & Spencer's or Selfridges – the latter, in his opinion, started by selling fridges. So many jokes repeated deliberately!

Angelo was the eternal optimist, always able to find a solution, remain calm, and help colleagues. Perhaps this positivity came from his ability to, as an ex-colleague and friend put it this week, ‘connect with his inner child’ or from a developed calmness over three decades of import, trade, and export, or something learned from his beloved Juventus, who won nine Serie A titles in a row after the calciopoli scandal and subsequent relegation... But perhaps, it was simply that for Angelo, his passion was his work, every challenge was an opportunity, always excited for the day ahead and the encounters they would bring.

Weekly or daily updates could often start and finish with banter on the football (normally jesting about how poorly he'd seen your team do), or with interest in the film he had just seen, questions about anything but work. And this is why he is and will remain as Angelo, the boss who created a comfortable space where people are inspired to believe in the power of family.

The messages of condolence, support, and disbelief have been numerous, and we thank you for all of them and send our support back to you now. We thought it appropriate to end with notes from a number of his closest friends made through work, who were so kind to send longer pieces, while our thoughts are also with those who could not find the words. Angelo, rest in peace – we will all miss you greatly and in your words:

Vendere, vendere, vendere!

Ivan Bragagnini, The Italian Orchard

Angelo,
What can I say, too many stories to tell. We met over 30 years ago by chance at a London wine fair with Paolo, your business partner and friend. Two reserved young men starting out on an adventurous journey in the world of wine. Well, I thought reserved but how wrong I was. Angelo was anything but!
Over the years Angelo became a great friend to myself and all my family. A sparring partner when it came to football, me Inter and him Juve. Recently he even persuaded me to subscribe as a Juventus supporter so I could go with him to Torino and watch our teams play against each other. Fortunately, it was a draw. However, we’d had a little bet and not long after I returned home, a package was delivered with my winnings! Thanks for the Gaja Angelo!
So many great times spent together and with each other’s families. Gatherings for mutual Birthday’s, Christmas parties with ‘the gang’, and often without reason, it was just good to be together. Plenty of delicious food and all the very best of Vino. Nail biting rides driven by Angelo at breakneck speed around tortuous Piemonte hillsides and through London City in a variety of his different vehicles. Life was never dull in your magnificent company Angelo!
Fortunately for us, Angelo’s pit stop was our restaurant in Preston as it was halfway between his journey from London to Scotland. Our trips together to his beloved Alba will remain amongst so many unforgettable, wonderful and vivid memories to recount. Angelo we will never forget you. Such a warm, generous, charismatic friend. As they say in Italian ‘Un Mito!’
For this one time only FORZA JUVE! Rest easy Carissimo Amico. Buon Viaggio.

Federico Dal Bianco, Masottina

With deep sadness and immense respect, I join in commemorating the life and legacy of Angelo, a friend, a colleague and a true pioneer in the world of wine. Every meeting with Angelo was an opportunity to learn. His experience in negotiating was incredible. In this he was a mentor for me. I always admired his ability to listen, understand and encourage people who took an initiative. He had an extraordinary humanity which was reflected in his being always available for dialogue and to find new solutions. In this time of mourning, I join his family, friends and loved ones in celebrating Angelo's life. May his lively spirit and lasting legacy continue to inspire and illuminate our path in the world of wine and beyond.
With love and gratitude

Francesco Piona, Cavalchina

Angelo mi ricordo di te fin da quando ero un bambino e ti vedevo parlare con il papà, pensando che discuteste solamente di questioni importanti, di affari e di vino. Quando sono arrivato in azienda ti ho conosciuto veramente e ho capito che le lunghe chiacchierate che vi vedevo fare erano spesso molto più di piacere che di lavoro. Abbiamo riso, abbiamo scherzato, ci siamo presi in giro per il calcio e si, abbiamo anche lavorato. Dopo tutti questi anni sapere che non ci vedremo più ci lascia un vuoto enorme. Ci mancherai tantissimo.
Grazie di tutto.

Alberto Medici, Medici Ermete

These few notes are dedicated to Angelo, the friend who, even if he is no longer with us, will continue to live through the fragments of life spent together, the unforgettable memories and the legacy of love that he passed on to us and that we will cherish in our souls.
“Angelo you were not just a friend; you were always a generous soul who shone with his extraordinary humanity, a smiling person who brought comfort and care to those he saw in a situation of a need. You were an authentic and unpretentious person, without masks, welcoming, open and understanding. Your ability to see the good in people and inspire others with your positivity was definitely contagious, dear Angelo.
I will remember the friend not only for his altruistic spirit, his commitment to the most needy people, but also and most importantly for the light-heartedness, irony and slightly mocking ways with which you faced the difficulties and hard moments that unfortunately life shows to us.
Furthermore, I will never be able to forget your huge passions for food, wine, sport, football, politics, your inseparable friends, but above all your life partners... YOUR Valeria and YOUR children. All passions, bonds and affections that made you a Rigorous, Authentic and Fiercely Proud Italian.
Although you left far too soon, dear Angelo, leaving an unfillable void, your presence will continue to survive in us. May you rest in peace, knowing that your memory will forever be cherished in our hearts. A big hug and deepest condolences to Valeria and her three children.

Sergio Trapani, VinumTerra

Angelo,
you have no idea how much I’m going to miss you. We first met in 1995, me as a restaurant manager, you as a salesman. My first impression was that I didn’t think you were that good… how wrong I was! I started working at Vinum in 2000 though a mutual friend - Massimo Rotoloni - when it was in its infancy and learned so much from you. We made a great team. I remember one time we had an appointment at Harrods, hoping to get an exclusive contract for their Italian restaurant with our main supplier from Tuscany, Castello Banfi. The day before the meeting my car had some issues and I was given a courtesy car. It was one of the worst cars we’d ever seen, and to make matters worse it was in bright green! We were parking outside on the day of the meeting in the green machine and just so happened to be pulling up at the exact same time as our main competitor, who was there to tender for the same business, was parking in the spot next to us…in a brand new Maserati Quattroporte. We exchanged pleasantries after parking, and then usual question popped up: ‘how’s business?’. Based on what we had turned up in, he must have thought: ’not very good!’. We couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. But guess who got the business. And that was you in a nutshell; never flashy or outspoken, but understated, knowledgeable and charming. Everyone that knows you will attest to this; your love of food was matched only by your love of wine. One of our favourite memories was when we visited a customer for lunch, then met another customer two hours later that same day. The owner was relived to see us and rushed us in, informing us that lunch was on the way as he’d been patiently waiting for us to arrive to eat. Of course we couldn’t refuse and so ate our second lunch of the day. From that day onwards every time one of us would confirm a lunch meeting, the other would say; ‘sure, but just one!’. The banter was non-stop, whether it be about football, food or just life, you had a wicked sense of humour. You had a gift of making everyone feel special. Your people skills were amazing. I am so glad that just recently we were able to spend a few days in Scotland together, just like the old days - something I will treasure forever. The last few months have been extremely difficult for me, but having a friend like you, always checking in and lifting my spirits was a blessing. As they say, when you’re really in need, you find out who your real friends are. And what a true friend you were.
We always used to joke with one another ‘do you realise how lucky you are to have met me?!’.. now I know that it really was me that was the lucky one. I want you to know that I feel honoured to have known and spent so much time with you. Until we meet again, (keep a perfectly chilled glass of concerto waiting for me). Thank you for everything, I will miss you.