O sole mio! Deny Mainente not only looks like the legendary opera star Pavarotti – on occasion he even provides a singing welcome to guests at his wine bar of the same name.
St. Moritz: In February we all got a good scare after hearing you had supposedly died of COVID-19. The next post on Facebook brought you back to life. What happened?
Deny: I'm sure the premature announcement of my death to Covid-19 in February has helped prolong my life! Oftentimes people are just bored, and turn to gossip because of it. I'm well – maybe even better than ever.
Ok. With that out of the way, let's go back to the beginning. Where are you from, and what is your relationship to
I was born in Chiavenna in 1962. In the late 70s I started working in Badrutt's Palace, I was still a boy then. There I met my most important mentor, Mario Dacomo, and I knew: One day I want to open my own place in
St. Moritz! In the 80s and 90s I managed several clubs and restaurants in Italy, until I came back in 1997 for the opening of «El Paradiso». My family and I have owned «Pavarotti» since 2005.
What does the bar stand for?
The goal is for it to be a warm and friendly place to meet. Sometimes it gets loud here – but always in a good way. I would not hesitate to declare our bar the liveliest place in town. The people come to enjoy wine and life. And of course our Italian music!
You almost exclusively serve wine. Not even tee is on the menu. Why?
That is our concept – wine and appetizers only. Wine is our our soul, behind every bottle there is a wonderful story. My son and I know all the producers personally. That is the beauty of our job: We provide an experience when we pull out the corkscrew. We transport our guests to the countryside with our stories, at once they find themselves surrounded by wineries and ready for a sensory journey. Aside from wine we only offer a few bottled beers and a small selection of liquor. Better to leave that to those who know more. You have to stay humble.
Do you leave
St. Moritz in the off-season?
Yes, I love the beach. I also have a small house in Val Bregaglia, without TV or radio. I go withdraw there on a regular basis, to live as a hermit and chop wood – my greatest passion. Of course I have to admit that I also visit wineries with my son to stay informed.
What do you love most about
Definitely Chastè – a magical place for me. That is where I find energy and answers to all my questions, even in hard times.
What do you envision for the future of
More than anything else I wish that the nightlife scene would become more active. I can remember a time when you couldn't even decide where to go because of all the great choices. Unfortunately it isn't like that anymore, it has become harder.