PRECIOUS WINES FROM UNIQUE TERRITORIES
AND VINEYARDS IN SICILY
Giacomo Rallo, fourth generation of this family engaged in wine-making since 1851, established Donnafugata with his wife Gabriella; he led the wine estate till he passed away in 2016.
Now Donnafugata is run by the fifth generation of the family represented by José, pr and marketing, and Antonio Rallo, wine-maker.
Donnafugata has three productive sites: the family’s historic cellars in Marsala where wines are aged and bottled; the winery of Contessa Entellina in the heart of western Sicily, with 270 hectares (667 acres) of vineyards and 9 hectares (22 acres) of olive groves; the winery of Pantelleria, with 68 hectares (168 acres) of vineyards; in this volcanic island between Sicily and Africa, Zibibbo grape is bush-trained (alberello pantesco, listed as Unesco world heritage).
With the harvest 2016 Donnafugata realizes its ambition to produce wines in eastern Sicily from the prestigious appellation areas Etna (15 hectares, 37 acres at Randazzo), Cerasuolo and Frappato di Vittoria (18 hectares, 44 acres, in Acate).
The name Donnafugata that means “donna in fuga”, woman in flight – refers to the novel by Tomasi di Lampedusa entitled Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), and to the story of a queen who took refuge in that part of Sicily where the Estate’s vineyards are today. An adventure that inspired the corporate logo.
Donnafugata’s iconic wines are the red Mille e Una Notte and Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria.
Donnafugata passionately welcomes the wine tourist that visits the historic cellars in Marsala or the vineyard estates in Contessa Entellina and Pantelleria. Guided visits, professional wine tastings, refined Sicilian dishes and original combinations of wine-music, all in an impressive and relaxing atmosphere. Many annually events not to be missed at Donnafugata. Those that stand out are Contine Aperte (Open cellars), the last Sunday of May and the great Calici di Stelle, August 10, when the estate at Contessa entellina prepares for the night harvest and opens to public to give life to a moment of great fascination and a strong educational experience.
Donnafugata welcomes you in a spacious Marsala courtyard of a real 19th century baglio dotted with citrus trees and olives. The visit begins outside, under the truss-beamed roof, the work of old master carpenters, and continues inside the cellar where, along with cement tanks, there is the gleam of stainless steel of the more advanced technology. A few more steps and there is the new underground barriccaia: soft lighting, muffled sound, an atmosphere with a wealth of scents. From the elevated gangway, there is a superb view of the barrels for Mille e una Notte, Tancredi, Angheli and Chiarandà. Guided by enthusiasm, the visitor is introduced to the secrets of Donnafugata. Then comes the Sala delle Botti (Hall of Casks), an extensive and welcoming setting, rich in testimonials of the arts and culture of Sicily, a place for tastings and for identifying food/wine combinations. At the end, the visitor returns to the open air of the courtyard, which is used as the setting for concerts and other events. At Contessa Entellina, the vineyards and winery can be visited by appointment in the spring and autumn. In the mansion, a small but well-equipped kitchen for use by young cooks and master chefs who are able to reinterpret the finest expressions of typical Mediterranean cuisine. On Pantelleria Donnafugata opens its Khamma cellars from July to September, offering visitors the opportunity to taste its wines and make guided visits to vineyards typical of the island, including some more than a century old.