Who We Are

Astrum Wine Cellars is widely recognized as one of the United Kingdom’s best specialist Italian importers. We are proud to exclusively represent over 90 producers in the UK market. The majority of these are Italian wineries, but we also have a growing selection of wines and spirits from Central Europe and beyond.

Astrum was founded in 1997 by Bruno Besa, together with long-term friends and former colleagues Max Folli and Stefano Benato. Soon after, in 2005, Sales & Marketing Director Mark Perna joined the company. His team is completed by Christian Robertson as Business Development Manager, Pandora Turbett as Marketing Manager, Julian Bicknell as Sales Team Manager, and Anna Martinello as Sales Representative.

Marco Michieletti has been overseeing the company's logistics department as General Manager since 2013. Marco is assisted by Wanda Henderson and Francesco Longo in the office, and Marcello Baio and Tundee Tatham in the warehouse. Lastly, we have a team of dedicated in-house drivers – the friendly faces you see making those all-important daily deliveries, some of whom have been with Astrum for 10+ years!

Bruno Besa

Managing Director

Bruno BesaBruno Besa

Bruno started out working in restaurants when he was just 15 years old, which is where he began to find a passion for wine. Bruno has now worked in the wine trade for over 25 years. A former sommelier at The Dorchester collection, he is a regular contributor to The World of Fine Wine magazine and he judges for the Decanter World Wine Awards. He loves the passion that everyone in the industry has and the people who make it so special. He loves to taste and drink wines, and as time goes he finds himself preferring more and more restrained, elegant white and red wines, ranging from traditionally crafted Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir to Central European aromatic whites.

Stefano Benato

Finance Director

Stefano BenatoStefano Benato

Stefano has a long and distinguished career in the world of food and wine, starting out young working in Italy and throughout Europe first as a waiter and in catering, in simple restaurants but also 1 to 3 Michelin starred ones, and then honing his wine skills. “…But my full immersion in the wine business became reality early in 2001, when Bruno literally snatched me from my hometown and got me back into UK!”. Stefano loves wine for it’s  “ … a never ending story, developing everyday with new frontiers”. His favourite wines are Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Germany, Pinot Blanc from Alto-Adige and Fiano and Greco from Campania as well as Aglianico from the South of Italy. “…but of course Barolo complements them all!” he laughs.

Max Folli

Company Director

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Max has been involved in wine since he was very young, opening his first restaurant when only 18 years old. “…and London, with the amazing array of wines one can taste from all over the world, has opened my eyes even further!” He loves the complexity of the wine business, and over the years has come to appreciate that there are so many different people with so many different tastes: “… which makes our job more challenging and satisfying. However we who love wine all speak the same language, and ultimately, quality speaks for itself and we can all agree: I think this is quite wonderful!” His personal loves have gradually narrowed over the years: “At the very beginning I was very open minded and keen to try it all. But now I have the answer! I absolutely love traditional Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. As for the whites: Riesling, Gruner Veltliner and top Chardonnay”.

Mark Perna

Sales & Marketing Director

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“My beginning in the wine industry came when I was asked to work part time at my local winery, Brown Brothers, during school holidays. Over this time I was introduced to their Cellar Door Manager, Russell Green, who took me under his wing and delighted me with his passion, knowledge and enthusiasm. I haven’t stopped working with wine and sales since!” Mark loves the fact that all those in the industry relish the opportunity of opening and sharing great bottles of wine with other passionate people, and is still excited about the thrill and satisfaction gained from introducing people to completely unknown wines or wines from regions previously unknown. He’s another Nebbiolo-lover in the Astrum group, though that means Nebbiolo- based wines too, not just Barolo and Barbaresco. “… the attraction is in their complexity, perfumes, purity, structure and ageing capabilities. A close runner-up is Riesling, wines that are great young or with age and display amazing diversity from different countries, regions or simply producers". After fourteen years with Astrum, Mark has taken on new responsibilities and his role has evolved to both Sales and Marketing Director.

Marco Michieletti

General Manager

Marco MichielettiMarco Michieletti

Marco was born in Asti in the southern part of Piedmont, an area renowned throughout the world for the production of many white and red wines. After finishing his financial education, he realized how passionate he was about the F&B industry. He began his professional career in Italy working at various restaurants as a Chef Trainee, before deciding to start a management trainee program with the Michelin starred group of La Smarrita in Turin. Marco decided to carry on with the training abroad, so he moved to Switzerland. In 1991, he moved to London where he has worked for the prestigious Ritz Hotel, The Lanesborough Hotel, The Capital Group, as part of the Management Team, as well as, The Hempel Hotel, Myhotel Bloomsbury, as Food & Beverage Operations Manager. Marco’s vast experience, enthusiasm, and passion for the industry and desire to succeed make him a vital part of Astrum Wine Cellars.


Pandora Turbett

Marketing Manager

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Pandora started her career, like many others in the wine industry, working in hospitality which is where she found her passion for wine. In 2011 she started at Plumpton College where she studied a three year BA in Wine Business. Upon graduating, Pandora moved to London to start her career in wine and began working for Vagabond Wines, an award winning independent wine shop and bar in Fitzrovia. After one and a half years with Vagabond, her yearning to travel and desire to learn more about the production side of wine resulted in her moving to Australia for six months. Pandora worked for Margaret River Vintners as a Cellerhand where she was able to put theory into practice and gain an in-depth understanding of wine production. After the vintage in Aus, Pandora moved to Bordeaux in order to compare and contrast Old and New World winemaking, she spent three months working for Union de Guyenne. Returning to London, Pandora is very happy to be part of the expansion of the Marketing Department at Astrum. 

Julian Bicknell

Sales Team Manager

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Initially attending UCL to study Geography, Julian's career took an unexpected detour when he decided to write his dissertation on the English wine industry. Leaving university, he started off by joining online wine retailer Slurp as an intern, which soon lead to employment. Looking to learn more and immerse himself in the industry further, Julian left Slurp to work for the Hawksmoor Group as a Sommelier. During his 5 years at Hawksmoor, he spent his time developing his knowledge and advancing his career, including qualifying as a WSET trainer which led to his role as the group wine educator, helping the group expand and open new sites, and playing a key role in creating and building their wine lists. After Hawksmoor he worked for Bibendum as part of their on-trade sales team, looking after premium restaurant groups and independents. One of the reasons Julian chose to join Astrum is his passion for Northern Piedmontese wines “I love, not just your Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s, but the wines of Gattinara and other lesser-known areas of Piedmont. I am also a massive fan of Dolcetto”. In his spare time, you’ll catch Julian spending time outdoors, he loves walking and hiking, going to the pub with friends for a “proper old-school ale", cooking at home and watching films; anything from a thought-provoking foreign film to the cheesiest Christmas classic.

Christian Robertson

Business Development Manager


Christian is a highly experienced individual having worked across many aspects of the wine-trade. From farming the vineyards, cellar operations, tourism, import, marketing and sales, you name it he’s done it. Born and bred in Boise, Idaho, he comes from a family who have been involved in the wine trade for decades, his father a wine importer/distributor and many of his extended family are Vignerons in the USA. Some of his fondest memories are of travelling with his mother, father, and siblings, across Europe, visiting beautiful wineries, eating lots of delicious food, and meeting the amazing people who form the stories behind the bottles - inspiring him on his journey into wine. Christian has travelled across the world working in wine, including; USA, Chile, France, Spain, the UK, and even spent several years in Bermuda, as the Sales & Marketing Director for a fine wine importer. After relocating to the UK, he worked for Bibendum as Key Sales Account Manager for several years, and Wiston in Sussex, as Head of Production. Christian is multilingual, fluent in both French and Spanish. During his free time, he can be found venturing through the countryside on his mountain bike, spending quality time with his family and beloved French Bulldog named "Boise," or skillfully preparing a feast for all on the BBQ. 

Anna Martinello

Sales Representative


Originally from a small town near Vicenza in Italy's Veneto region, Anna's wine journey is deeply rooted in her cultural upbringing. After moving to Milan at 22, she worked for one of the city’s top wine bars, Signorvino, whilst completing her AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier) certification. She eventually ended up working for AIS as their Social Media Manager across multiple branches over the next 6 years. During her time in Milan, Anna also worked for wine merchants Il Rosso e il Nero and Degustate, meeting multiple mentors along the way. In 2020, she relocated to London, and has worked as a Sommelier for Noble Rot and Operations Manager at Keeling Andrew. Beyond wine, Anna adores her dog, Peggy, enjoys reading books on various topics from Philosophy to Activism, she relishes the outdoors, and loves cooking the traditional Italian dishes she learned from her Nonna Edwige. Fun fact, Anna is soon to become a Chevalier of white truffle! Passionate about Piedmontese wine, she is also a big ambassador for Italy’s hidden wine gems, from lesser-known areas, diverse climates, and unique grape varieties.

FRANCESCO LONGO Warehouse & Bond Supervisor

TUNDE TATHAM Warehouse Assistant Manager

WANDA HENDERSON Office Assitant Manager

HENRY AGYAPONG Warehouse Assistant