Record-setting Sicily. Vinitaly is always Vinitaly: with its load of appointments, meetings, tastings and, for those who sowed their seeds well, concrete fruits too – new orders, new importers, new customers. “It was a lovely Vinitaly”, comments José Rallo, winery co-owner, “with a breath of fresh air excellent for the wines that best interpret the changes in consumer tastes. Sunshine, fruitiness, freshness on the palate and elegant flavors were the winning elements revealed in tasting, especially among young people”.
The Hall 2 of the Vinitaly Fair, that one of “Sicily”, was surely one of the most visited of the entire exhibition and this year too the Donnafugata stand enjoyed an impressive inflow of dealers, journalists, restaurateurs and, naturally, the public, confirming the extraordinary appeal this longstanding premium wine brand has with wine experts and wine-lovers the world over.
The figures speak clearly: meetings with 43 importers, 1,300 bottles opened in just over 36 hours all told, 26,000 samplings served at the counter, ten pages dense with appointments at internal tables and a staff of 26 handling it all with the precision and style of a highly trained team.
But aside from the figures, what counts is the atmosphere found in that 72-sq-m booth during business meetings and encounters with journalists and many wine-lovers, especially young ones, who in the five days of the show crowded that little corner of Sicily.
Optimistic signs for the whole premium Sicilian wine movement, confirming how strong the Sicily brand is worldwide. And so Donnafugata’s Vinitaly dispelled any doubts about an uptake (albeit still slow), thanks mainly to exports and to encouraging signals from Italy, too. “The Sicily of wine is still very popular and Donnafugata is increasingly a reference brand”, explains José Rallo, head of the winery’s marketing department, “especially for consumers interested in the quality and production districts of our island”.
And yet there are some that are especially memorable, etched in the mind from segueing fine vintages: Ben Ryé, Mille e una Notte, Chiarandà, Tancredi: names and labels that arouse admiration, esteem, expectation and infinite tasting pleasure.
How they rank with wine-lovers is soon said: Ben Ryé, Passito di Pantelleria, is on the highest podium, with 400 bottles opened in honor of demanding palates, immediately followed by Mille e una Notte, the winery’s icon red, and – just behind it – marvelous Lighea, a dry 100% pure Zibibbo that for bouquet and crispness is a revelation at first taste. The perfect wine for summer, which Donnafugata offers as its white of the year.
No less felicitous is the wealth of fruit expressed by innovative Sherazade, a pure Nero d’Avola to be savored slightly chilled. Also deserving mention are the two new grappas, Ben Ryé and Mille e una Notte – sublime for elegance and fragrance – made for Donnafugata by the Marolo brothers of Alba, one of Italy’s most prestigious distilleries.
The Donnafugata world at a click. It wasn’t just by chance that, as Vinitaly opened, Donnafugata went online with its new website featuring fresh, innovative graphics, a great deal of information and viewpoints inviting users to surf the various sections: from videos of wine tastings to jazz to the intriguing “Living Wine”, a personalized tour of the Donnafugata world, with its history-making wines and labels.
Appealing to young people has become an imperative: “We invest in them because they’re tomorrow’s consumers”, says José Rallo, “and will be the ones to decide on the wines of the future, with their taste preferences and moments of consumption that may differ greatly from the traditional canons of an older, more mature public. Today you can drink a well-suited wine on myriad occasions, spurred by a mentality having the Mediterranean diet as a reference point of taste and lifestyle and where health aspects have their weight”.
Queued up at the stand’s Internet point we saw them surfing through the new website’s content, each following his/her own bent in exploring the Donnafugata world. Pleasure, knowledge and fun fused together – log on and find out!
Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0039 0923 7242267
Laura Ellwanger [email protected] te. 0039 0923 724258