Lia Tolaini Banville was born in Canada and introduced to Italy and wine at the age of 6 when she and her father visited Aunt Laura in Lucca (Tuscany). Her aunt introduced her to cooking, wine and business. Graduating from the University of Manitoba in Canada, with majors in art and economics, Banville traveled to Florence to study art but turned to wine in 2004 when she started Donna Laura Chianti wines in Castelnuovo Beradenga in memory of her aunt. Lia started Banville Wine Merchants as a boutique importer of Italian fine wines and Menabrea beer in 2004. Lia had the desire to grow her company yet keep regional exclusives with her suppliers, which led her in 2016 to expand the portfolio outside of Italy. Dissatisfied with the wholesaler options in New York and New Jersey, Lia and her team created the Banville wholesale division in 2011. This momentum then brought expansion of its direct distribution in 2017 to Washington D.C. and Virginia. Banville Distribution now partners with well-regarded wine importers to add breadth to the Banville wholesale portfolio. Lia believes that business is built on a handshake, hard work and honesty.