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Pantelleria, the alberello vine UNESCO World Heritage.


In Verona two exceptional vintages of Passito di Pantelleria, symbol of Italian enology:  2007 at Opera Wine, Wine Spectator event, and 2008 Limited Edition at the Donnafugata stand.


The beautiful Italy, that is worthy and rewarded: it is the case of the cultivation of the low bush vine of Pantelleria inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For the first time, an agricultural practice is considered intangible cultural heritage to safeguard and promote: a recognition of extraordinary value that rewards the nomination strongly supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and the local institutions headed by the Comune of Pantelleria.

A type of cultivation introduced by the Phoenicians, brought to perfection and handed down over the centuries thanks to the knowledge and devotion of the Pantellerian farmer, capable of growing the exceptional grape, Zibibbo, despite very extreme conditions.

On the island of Pantelleria, in fact, we speak of heroic viticulture, the viticulture that requires the grower to have a surplus of intelligence and effort to counteract the disadvantages of the geographic isolation (the island is closer to the coasts of North Africa than to Sicily) as well as the peculiar pedo-climatic conditions: the harsh wind throughout the year, lack of fresh water springs, scarce rainfall, very steep slopes.

Here the alberello vine turns out to be a highly sustainable and creative agronomic solution and UNESCO has understand its exceptionality: the vine is cultivated low alberello in a hollow, a cradle dug in the soil to protect it from the wind and nourish it with the night-time humidity that is collected and not lost; skilful pruning ensures that the plant grows horizontally, almost creeping along the ground.

A practice that is sustainable because almost exclusively manual, cultivating the alberello among the island’s terraces could not be otherwise: small plots of land wrenched from the mountain and sustained by dry built lava stone walls that paint the landscape and defend it from erosion.

A heroic viticulture that survives mainly thanks to the work of passionate producers of the wine, symbol of the island, Passito di Pantelleria: a naturally sweet wine, with extraordinary richness and aromatic complexity.

For Donnafugata Passito di Pantelleria has a well-known and evocative name: Ben Ryé, from the Arabic “son of the wind”; the company has been producing it since 1989, now counting on 68 hectares of vineyards in 12 districts of the island, as well as the winery that stands in the splendid natural amphitheater of Khamma, an example of architecture perfectly integrated into the landscape.

An icon of the heroic viticulture in the world which will be in the limelight at Vinitaly with three different vintages. Ben Ryé 2007 has been chosen by Wine Spectator for Opera Wine, the event organized in collaboration with Fiere Verona to bring together Italian enological excellence.

Instead, 2008 and 2012 can be tasted at the Donnafugata stand. Ben Ryé 2008 is a limited edition dedicated to the admirers of the “son of the wind”; the fruit of Donnafugata’s 20th harvest on Pantelleria, in 6,465 bottles that have been preserved in the company’s cellars for longer aging and to give unusual sensations, refined and powerful.

Ben Ryé 2008 Limited Edition displays extraordinary complexity and longevity; bright amber, notes of dates, dried figs, carob and hints of flowers combine on the nose; the palate is soft and enveloping, with excellent acidity that emphasizes the persistence.

This edition is distinguished by a special label that draws on the narration of the classic label, reinterpreting and enhancing it, and on which the founder, Giacomo Rallo, is proud to put his signature 20 years after the first vintage: that of 1989.

“For me, man and entrepreneur, – says Giacomo Rallo founder of Donnafugata – Pantelleria has meant a providential passion, or how an American journalist wanted me to acknowledge, sane madness. This is the territory that has absorbed investments and extraordinary commitment, always rewarded with great satisfaction in the long run. Today Ben Ryé is an icon of Italian wine in the world; with my wife Gabriella, my children Josè and Antonio, we are proud of it and we feel all the responsibility of it.”


Public Relations:

Baldo M. Palermo [email protected] tel. 0039 0923 7242267

Laura Ellwanger [email protected] te. 0039 0923 724258


  • Com_St_2015_04_13_Ben-Rye-icon-of-heroic-viticulture.pdf
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