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Italian and Sicilian outstanding features: the Giro and Donnafugata

The Donnafugata estate and its history: from Bianca di Navarra’s legend to Giacomo Rallo’s talent and excellent wines.

reading time4 minutes

Italy without Sicily leaves no image in the soul. This is where it all begins“. So wrote Goethe, who loved this land so much. And from this land, the Giro d’Italia 2022 starts today with the Avola-Etna stage.

An uphill finish, as uphill are the vineyards of Donnafugata, an outstanding Made in Italy company that, right on the fertile northern slope of Etna, produces volcanic and Mediterranean wines that are among the best known in the world.

A distinguished name

The brand bears the name of the residence of the protagonist of The Leopard, the great novel by Tomasi di Lampedusa. It evokes the flight of Queen Bianca of Navarra, who found refuge among those vineyards, thus escaping the perfidious Count Bernardo Cabrera.

Today, it all stems from the passion and talent of Giacomo Rallo (1937-2016), from Marsala, the descendant of a historic Sicilian winegrowing family. In 1983, with his wife, he started Donnafugata, a name that also inspired the winery’s logo: a woman’s head with hair in the wind.

Giacomo Rallo
Giacomo Rallo

The company pursues the ambitious cultural project of enhancing the entire region, choosing to produce the best wines in different vineyards, from Etna to Pantelleria. It is no coincidence that the Goethe quote we quoted at the beginning is inscribed at the estate entrance.

Tradition and innovation

To the talent of Giacomo Rallo – appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro in 2006 by the then President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano – we also owe the rediscovery of the cultivation of head-trained bush Zibibbo vines, an ancient agricultural practice recognised in 2014 as a UNESCO intangible heritage. Finally, it was Giacomo’s also the idea of the night harvest (also shared in live streaming) to “capture” flavours that only the temperature difference with the day gives. This type of harvest today is the basis of the company’s two most awarded reds: the Tancredi and the Mille e Una Notte.

Over the years, this peculiar combination of culture, art, and wine has attracted experts from all over the world to Sicily. Today, the Cantina Donnafugata, under the leadership of Giacomo’s son Antonio Rallo, is an excellence that sells two million bottles each year in 60 countries, with a revenue of tens of millions of euros.

Congratulations to those who bring the culture and tradition of Sicily to the world.

The places of Donnafugata
The places of Donnafugata

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