Raised in New Jersey, Ana Fabiano received her undergraduate education from Douglass College for Women at Rutgers University, and went on to pursue a Masters degree in Foreign Commerce of Spain from the University of Madrid. Living and studying in Spain during the years just following General Franco’s death, the period known as the “transition years to democracy” (1975–82), Fabiano became enthralled with the changing political and cultural landscape, the nation’s civic fervor and raw passion for life. She soon married into a Spanish family and grew to learn and appreciate even more of the country’s great cultural tumult of the time, as Franco’s appointed predecessor, Juan Carlos I, became Spain’s figurehead monarch.
As a stable foundation for democracy took hold, Fabiano returned to New York to start her early career, and by way of a fortuitous connection in Madrid, approached the Spanish Trade Commissioner about her vision for the marketing of Spanish goods in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Fabiano became the first American employed by the Embassy of Spain’s trade office in 1984. As one of the three founding members of Wines from Spain, Fabiano inaugurated many promotional programs, developed key relationships with trade professionals, wine writers and a variety of artisan producers in leading many trade missions back to Spain.
Following her tenure at Wines from Spain, in 1990, Fabiano founded SANA Associates, Ltd., a marketing company exclusively dedicated to education and promotion of products from Spain throughout the United States. In that same year, Fabiano instituted the first successful field program promoting Spanish wine and spirits to on and off-premise accounts in the U.S. From this grassroots program, specially designed and implemented for Wines from Spain by Fabiano, important distribution channels and trade relationships were established. Hybrids of this groundbreaking sales promotion program that introduced Spanish wine to the American wine trade as well as to consumers remain in use today with continued prosperity.
Realizing the efficacy in expanding her professional base, Fabiano diversified her Spain-focus and became known for not only her expertise on Spanish wines, but also olive oil, cheese, and other aspects of Iberian cuisine. Gastronomy aside, Fabiano is also well versed on a variety of cultural topics including Spain’s heritage of flamenco dance and Arab and Spanish tile identification, as well as the great Spanish artists. In her unusual fashion, Fabiano demonstrates with ease that her many passions are interrelated, adding “On a trade mission to Spain, I visited the Sánchez Romate winery and discovered some beautiful old tapestries on display. These historic fabrics tell the story of how diplomat Cardenal Mendoza, confidante of Queen Isabel, influenced the finance of Columbus’s voyages. Today, the winery honors Cardenal Mendoza, a man who played such a crucial role in the colonization of our country, by naming its highest quality Brandy after him. This is just one of Spain’s fascinating stories that shows how much U.S. and world history Spain has influenced.”
With all of her years of dedication to promoting Spain, Fabiano imbues an exceptional level of historical and cultural relevance to her current endeavor, Sojourns to Spain. Combining her unyielding passion for Spanish products and culture with her contacts in the field, leading Sojourns to Spain seemed the natural “next step” for Fabiano, whose life has revolved around researching, studying and working in Spain since the neonatal transitional years to the populist government. Fabiano says, “Spain is a country that embraces you. Each travel experience makes visiting this country energizing and soul-satisfying.”
Today, Fabiano continues to lecture about Spanish wine. She received her Mastery Certification in the Castilian Language from the Cervantes Institute and Ministry of Education in Madrid Spain in 2007. She has appeared numerous times on the TV Food Network, and on the radio and in print as an authority on Spanish cuisine and culture. Ana Fabiano resides in New York with her husband, Kevin Zraly, internationally renowned wine author and wine educator, and their four children.