Mirto Sappé (82), who founded and ran the Gorey Wine Company, was awarded the Order of the Star of Italy (L’Ordine della Stella d’Italia) for his ‘unofficial’ role as an Italian ambassador in Jersey, promoting Italian food and wine, as well as his years of voluntary work.
The accolade was introduced by the first President of the Italian Republic, Enrico De Nicola, in 1947, to recognise those who made an outstanding contribution to the reconstruction of Italy after the Second World War.
Nominated for the award by the members of the Circolo Italiano Jersey – a group founded to preserve Italian tradition and culture in the Island. Mr Sappé was president of the group for three years. He recently flew to London, where he was awarded the star by the Consulate General of Italy.
Describing his move to the Island Mr Sappé said: ‘I originally moved here to learn English for six months in 1957 and then I met my wife, who had come over from England for six months too – but we ended up getting married and together we had four children, ten grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.’
A former president of the Rotary Club, Mr Sappé first made his mark in the Island by setting up the Gorey Wine Company in 1975. He later went on to run the business with his two sons and son in law, before selling it four years ago.
The St Saviour resident, who is from Turin, said that he was delighted to have been chosen for the award.
‘I feel greatly honoured to have been recognised for this award,’ Mr Sappé added.