Donnafugata wineries between Pantelleria and Marsala

Donnafugata has about 338 hectares of vineyards in production, between Contessa Entellina and Pantelleria, in the heart of western Sicily. The Donnafugata adventure began in 1983 in the Rallo family’s historic cellars in Marsala and at its Contessa Entellina vineyards. The name Donnafugata, literally “woman in flight” refers to the history of Queen Maria Carolina, wife of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who in the early 1800s, fleeing Naples on the arrival of Napoleons troops, sought refuge in the part of Sicily where the winery’s vineyards now stand. The Sicilian author Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, used the name Donnafugata in his novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard).

In the vineyards of the estate we find both the autochthonous varieties like Ansonica, Catarratto, Grecanico, Grillo, Fiano and Nero d’Avola, and the international varieties such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah. Cultivating 17 varieties was an agronomic decision aimed at valorizing the particularities of the different areas. Soil, elevation, exposure are determining factors to produce complex wines with great personality. From Contessa Entellina to Pantelleria. On the volcanic island, the vines are trained in bush form. The grape growers’ work is one of the last example of heroic viticulture in the Mediterranean. The demand of manpower at Pantelleria is three times higher than in the vineyards of Contessa Entellina. An effort absolutely necessary to create the special case of the Ben Ryé, Passito di Pantelleria.

Donnafugata is also a destination for wine tourists. Its historic Marsala cellars and its estates at Contessa Entellina and on Pantelleria offer guided tours, professional tastings and refined pairings with Sicilian cuisine at charming, relaxing venues. A not-to-be-missed event is Calici di Stelle (Goblets of Stars) on August 10 at the Contessa Entellina estate, to prepare for the nighttime grape harvest. Donnafugata welcomes qualified wine tourists from all over the world: last year only, it counted about 11,000 wine tourists from 30 foreign countries. A journey through wines that combines art and good food, discovering the striking beauty of a landscape that only Italy can offer.


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