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Save the date 18-19 October 2021
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Mark Fornatale

Mark Fornatale

Italian Portfolio Manager at Skurnik Wines and Spirits

Mark Fornatale, Italian Portfolio Manager for Skurnik Wines & Spirits, was in his twenties when he put his toe in the wine business while writing freelance for Playboy.com. In 2001, he landed a job at Morrell & Company in New York City and in a short time became the buyer for Italian wines. In 2004, in order to better promote the Italian artisanal producers whose wines he loves so much, Mark moved into the import and wholesale side of the business with Skurnik Wines & Spirits, an importer of the finest estate bottled wines from across the world. Mark speaks fluent Italian and has played a key role in expanding Skurnik’s selection of Italian producers, as well as spearheading growth for the company in markets relatively new to Skurnik as a distributor: Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and California, most recently. Mark lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and young son.

"The Future of American Tariffs: A Trump Phenomenon or Here To Stay?"

Skurnik has been importing wines and spirits from the EU for 33 years, and not once were tariffs considered a serious threat until last year. Now, with the Trump Administration initiating trade wars all over the globe, the threat to EU wine and spirits producers is very real, as evidenced by the October 2019 imposition of a 25% tariff on Spanish, French and German wines, based on the so-called Airbus dispute. Going forward, additional tariff threats loom, due mainly to the Digital Services Taxes being proposed throughout the EU, which the US government calls “discriminatory against US companies”. This situation threatens to bring about new tariffs of up to 100% on wines and spirits throughout Europe, and this time, on Italian wines as well. As a founding board member of the United States Wine Trade Alliance, a trade group doing everything in their power to avoid new tariffs and remove current ones, Harmon is well-equipped to give you the latest updates on this fraught situation, including what the tariff landscape will look like in 2021 and beyond.

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