Gabriella Anca Rallo of Donnafugata has won this prestigious prize.
“Wine women are an important resource for this still a bit too masculine world. Handing down our passion to future generations”.
Wine women are rising ever higher. And this is the response of “Golosaria 2008”, which on November 9 at the Melia Convention Center in Milan crowned ten “Heroic Women of Italian Vines and Wines”.
The magnificent ten – feted at the third edition of the wine & food show organized by Paolo Massobrio and Marco Gatti of the Papillon Club – included Gabriella Anca Rallo, who with husband Giacomo Rallo founded the Donnafugata winery.
Rallo received the award as an ambassadress of premium Italian enology, leader of a profound innovation process in both winemaking and communication that began in the late 1970s.
At that time, in the family vineyards at Contessa Entellina (in the heart of western Sicily), Gabriella began to reduce vineyard yield, improve the quality of indigenous grape varieties and introduce the international grapes that could express themselves best here.
These were years in which it was truly rare for Sicilian women to be involved in agriculture. But step by step Gabriella put her decisions to work, convinced that the island possessed great and still unrealized potential.
This led to an innovation like the nighttime harvesting of Chardonnay to keep all of its aromas intact. And then the remarkable achievement on Pantelleria, where Donnafugata makes Passito Ben Ryè, one of the world’s most highly acclaimed sweet wines.
Imagination, beauty and femininity were Gabriella’s guidelines in communication: it was her idea to name the winery Donnafugata and use the effigy of a woman’s head with windswept hair on every bottle. These choices, inspired by the Sicilian novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) extended even to the names of several wines (Sedàra, Angheli, Tancredi) and to feminine illustrations for quite a number of the labels now loved by a great many wine enthusiasts.
The rest is current history. At Donnafugata Gabriella and Giacomo work side by side with daughter Josè and son Antonio who have accelerated the winery’s pace on its path to extreme quality and reaped honors internationally.
Gabriella Anca Rallo states: “This prize helps us realize that we women can be an important resource for the wine world, still a bit too male-based. It moves me very much to know that we’re a reference point for the new generations, to which we hope to hand down all of our passionate involvement”.
The names of the award winners all carry weight and forcefully recount the many faces of Italian wine: Maria Pia Berlucchi of Fratelli Berlucchi, Maria Grazia, Chiara and Teresa Lungarotti of Giorgio Lungarotti, Donatella Cinelli Colombini of Casato Prime Donne, Marina Cvetic Masciarelli of Gianni Masciarelli, Gabriella Anca Rallo of Donnafugata, Ornella Costa Correggia of Matteo Correggia, Isabella Pellizzatti Perego of Cantine Arturo Pellizzatti Perego, Paola De Mauro of Baraccone di Piacenza and, finally, Anna Pesenti of the Italian Wine Women Association.
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