The Giusti Group of Companies provides construction services across heavy industrial, commercial and multi-family residential in Canada; but their influence is not limited to Canadian soil. Overseas in Italy, Giusti Wine continues a tradition of excellence that goes back to the 1600s. Whether it is construction on a state-of-the art facility or producing some of the world’s best wines, where the Giustis are involved, excellence follows.
The Giusti Group is celebrating a milestone anniversary: 45 years. It all began in B.C. in 1975 when Dr. Ermenegildo (Joe) Giusti arrived in Canada with little more than big dreams and $20 in his pocket. After a few short months as a welder in his newfound country, Joe looked towards the construction industry. He decided to forge his own path and launch a custom home building company.
Today, Giusti Group of Companies is based in Calgary and has grown to include Giusti Group Limited Partnership, Giusti Wall Tech Limited Partnership, Viper Concrete and Julian Ceramic Tile. Brothers Gildo, Jiuliano and Roland focus on the construction group while Joe spends most of the year in Italy overseeing the rapid expansion of Giusti’s award-winning wines.
Business in Calgary first spoke with Giusti Group on their 40th anniversary. Now, five years later, Gildo, Jiuliano and Joe talk about how their brands have evolved.
“A lot has changed!” says Gildo. “The daily management of Giusti Group is now run by the brothers. Over the last five years Joe has focused on Giusti Wine and in a short period of time he has pushed the brand to over 40 countries worldwide.”
It’s clear that the second generation has the same ambition and passion for construction as their father. Under their direction, Giusti Group has expanded into B.C. and has grown the concrete and prefab wall division.
“In the last three years the Group has expanded to Vancouver Island and interior B.C. Additionally, we have grown a new division called Giusti North, which is a concrete division based out of Edmonton,” says Gildo. “Giusti North has seen impressive growth and secured relationships with some of the biggest developers and clients in that market. The division is embarking on its first 14-storey midrise under the Giusti umbrella.”
While the growth of the Group and Giusti Wine have been positives over the last five years, COVID revealed some challenges.
“The pandemic really magnified the importance of people in the trades,” says Jiuliano. “During a time when most people had to stay or work from home, construction was deemed an essential service.”
“It should be recognized that the younger workforce has proved difficult to recruit because of the government subsidies, especially for entry level positions where the difference between the wage versus the subsidy is negligible,” adds Gildo. “This caused a worker shortage and it’s a challenge we saw in all of our markets in Canada.”
Giusti Group was built on hard work and the motto of “giving our best every day.” The brothers were not about to sit in an office and bemoan the lack of labour. They had obligations to fulfill and teams to take care of, so without hesitation they rolled up their sleeves and went into the field.
“We jumped into the trenches whenever we had to,” says Gildo. “We ran projects, got on the tools, managed schedules – whatever we had to do.”
Jiuliano adds, “We were committed to keep building throughout the pandemic; we had a responsibility to our clients to ensure their projects didn’t slow down or struggle even though we were short on labour. It would have been easy to hide behind the veil of COVID and not perform, but that is not how our family business works. We have an unfaltering resolve to do our very best every day for each and every client. The key to our success is giving our best every day.”
Giving their best meant that despite COVID, Giusti Group completed several major projects at or under budget, and ahead of schedule. Two landmark accomplishments during this time were West District Block 23 and Bellewood Park.
Bellewood Park in Victoria gave the Group the opportunity to enter the region’s luxury building market to deliver, in under a year, several structures for the property including high end units, a six-storey low rise and a four-storey wood frame building.
While the brothers grew the Group during COVID, patriarch Joe was busy managing the rapid expansion of Giusti Wine.
“The wine business has been doing amazing!” smiles Joe. “We have completed a state-of-the-art cantina (wine production facility). We continue to receive awards along each product line.”
Joe is, as always, modest. In 2020 alone, international wine critic James Suckling rated three Giusti wines, scoring each 90 or above. The Drink Business hailed Giusti Asolo Prosecco Superiore Docg Extra Bruit as one of the 10 best Proseccos of 2020 and awarded the bottle with a gold medal at the Prosecco Master.
In February 2021, Joe was knighted by the President of the Italian Republic, a distinction awarded to the very few that achieve a high level of friendship and collaboration between Italy and other countries. The President, in recognition of Joe’s passion and dedication in growing the brand around the world, is pleased to count Joe among his knights and bestow upon him the Order of the Star of Italy.
“It is an honour for me to receive this distinction for the continuous support and love for my land,” said Joe at the time. “My greatest passion is to help my country; promoting Made in Italy in the world is a real mission.”
“We are growing straight up,” says Joe. “We have added 125 hectares of vineyard. My dream was to bring to the world the best wine our land can produce without the use of chemicals and in harmony with nature, like the old days. And I’m having fun! I love the land. I love the vineyards. When you are the child of farmers, it always pulls you back. The vineyards, the grapes, the community we have here – we are really fortunate.”
Italy was strongly impacted by COVID. While tourists were not present for tours as in previous years, Giusti Wine focused on their internal processes. As always, Joe focuses on the positives. “COVID gave us time; I couldn’t imagine how to manage our growth if we didn’t have time to organize. But I do miss the tourists. When things open up, they can visit the vineyard again.”
Joe reflects on Giusti Group’s 45-year milestone.
“I have dedicated my whole life to trying to be the best in the industry. I was very blessed. I have worked with great companies and great partners in Canada. We have always had a multicultural team. I have been blessed to work with great, great people. Now my children are continuing the family business and continue to bring the best products to market in the most efficient, affordable ways. My children are really hard workers. There are ups and downs, but we always stick together and focus. Construction is in our DNA and I look forward to the grandchildren joining the company and carrying it on.”
He continues, “We are so blessed in Canada. I want to thank everyone that was so good to us, and remind young people starting out in business that to succeed you need to focus and have passion.”
The brothers are also very thankful for their team, clients and the hard work their parents put in to build the company and entrust it to the second generation.
What comes next for the Giustis? On the construction side, work on landmark projects with Canada’s top builders will continue, and Gildo, Jiuliano and Roland do not plan to let the lessons learned during COVID go to waste. They will advocate for change in the market to build up trades in Alberta.
“The narrative must grow and change,” says Gildo. “People must realize that a career in the trades can be very rewarding. We will continue to help people find their place and be proud of their involvement in the trades.”
On the Giusti Wine side, Joe will continue to grow the brand around the world, visiting countries in person when eased restrictions allow so he can give people all over the globe a taste of Made in Italy.
Together, the family and the business will never stop giving their best and working with passion and dedication now and through the next generations. They raise a glass to a future where they can continue to make a positive impact with their brands, for their teams, for their communities and across the world.
Learn more at giustigroup.com and giustiwine.com/en.