Vincenzo “Vinko” Sandalj, who took over the Italian coffee company Sandalj Trading Company for his late father in 1979, passed away unexpectedly last week, on July 2. Born in Trieste, 64-year-old Sandalj was responsible for creating Sandalj Trading Company SpA, and helped grow the company to more than 1,000 clients in 50 countries.
An active member of the Trieste Coffee Association and Trieste Coffee Cluster, Sandalj was also a founding member of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE), where he later became a board member and president. He also served on the board of directors of the Association for the Cup of Excellence in the United States.
“His spirit and vision of life made him an innovator and forerunner in the world of coffee,” friend and 23-year coworker Edy Bieker said in a company announcement of Sandalj’s passing. “In a sector that was looking static and run-down when he first set foot in the business, Vinko followed his own ideas, aiming at culture and quality, bringing new life and dynamism to this world.”