Producing respecting the environment

A deep love of its land has always been at the core of Donnafugata. A desire to produce wines capable of representing Sicily
in the world, preserving natural resources and enhancing biodiversity. “From the vine to the bottle,
there is no quality without sustainability“. This is the company philosophy.

Best practice

Best practice

In the vineyard Donnafugata does not use herbicides and chemical fertilizers, and minimizes the use of phytopharmaceuticals thanks to integrated control techniques, such as the monitoring of climate parameters (rainfall, temperature, humidity etc.) and the control of insects (moths) present, through the use of pheromone traps. Donnafugata is also pursuing grape sustainability and excellence with the use of green manure, organic fertilization, emergency irrigation and cluster thinning, rationalizing the use of natural resources such as soil, water, air and energy. The good practices adopted by Donnafugata in the vineyard (Good Agricultural Practices, GAP) are an indispensable instrument for the production of healthy and perfectly ripe grapes, minimizing environmental impact.

Biodiversity

The desire to produce wines whose quality increase over time finds an important ally in biodiversity. Indeed, the way that different varieties and biotypes interact with the individual terroirs produces unique wines with a strong identity. Precisely for this reason, Donnafugata created two experimental vineyards focused on the development of autochthonous varieties.

0.5
hectares
19
autochthonous varieties
5
relic varieties
30
biotypes

At Contessa Entellina, Donnafugata (in collaboration with Regione Sicilia) planted an experimental field with 19 different autochthonous varieties, making a total of 30 biotypes. They are vine varieties that are widespread throughout Sicily (including Nero d’Avola, Catarratto and Ansonica) and also varieties that are relics from the past (Alzano, Nocera, Vitrarolo and others), almost completely extinct. The initiative involves a group of wineries located in different parts of Sicily and aims to identify and select the vine varieties that can give the best oenological results for each territory, through the use of small batch fermentation.

0.6
hectares
33
biotypes of Zibibbo
5
area of origin

On Pantelleria, 33 biotypes of Zibibbo from different areas of the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Greece and southern Italy) have been planted under the supervision of Professor Attilio Scienza. Planted in March 2010, the 2,117 vines (about 64 plants of each biotype) cover 0.6 hectares (1 acre) of land in the Barone district, in the south of the island, at an altitude of about 400 meters (1,300 ft) above sea level. The study involves both fresh grapes and dried grapes, as well as wines produced from small batch fermentation. It aims to identify which Zibibbo clones express the best viticultural and oenological potential within the context of the island of Pantelleria.

Century-old vineyard

Century-old vineyard

In 1999, Donnafugata breathed new life into a century-old vineyard in the Khamma district on Pantelleria. Planted with Zibibbo, it contained several ungrafted plants that had survived phylloxera and were over 100 years old. Unique vines, healthier and with a longer lifespan than grafted plants, capable of resisting well to drought, limestone, and salinity, with a vegetation-production balance that produces exceptional grapes. These specimens, which are of great historical importance for Sicilian viticulture, as demonstrated by Professor Mario Fregoni of the Università Cattolica in Piacenza, have made Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria even more complex and elegant.

Ben Ryè
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Carbon Footprint

Calculating the Carbon Footprint of its wines and displaying the certification on every bottle is a commitment towards consumers. Since 2011, Donnafugata has worked with DNV, one of the leading certifying bodies in the world, to quantify the CO2 emissions throughout the entire production cycle, from the vineyard to bottling.
By processing the data collected, we were able to introduce initiatives designed to reduce environmental impact even further, such as the use of a lighter bottle, saving on emissions connected with production of the glass and those connected with transport, and the replacement of technical corks with Select BIO synthetic corks with zero carbon footprint and 100% recyclable. As from 2014, all of Donnafugata’s bottles carry a label showing the Carbon Footprint certification, expressing the company’s commitment to continuous improvement of its environmental performance in a clear and traceable manner.
This communication offers consumers the utmost transparency, enhanced by the use of a QR code that can be read by smartphones, which leads to a page on the company’s website illustrating the main results of the Carbon Footprint Accounting process.

Clean Energy

On the path to sustainability, Donnafugata has focused above all on reducing its energy consumption. 

Photovoltaic systems

An important contribution to sustainability is achieved by the production of clean energy from renewable sources with photovoltaic systems installed at Contessa Entellina (50 Kw) and Marsala (50 Kw), that allow us to reduce our CO2 emissions per year.

Nocturnal harvesting

At the Contessa Entellina estate, a night-time harvest has been introduced for the Chardonnay grapes. Exploiting the difference in temperature between day and night (16-18 °C /60- 64° F) reduces the amount of energy needed to cool the grapes before crushing by 70%.

La Fuga
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14-16°C/57-60°F
THERMAL EXCURSION

During the second ten days of August, when the temperature can reach 35°C, the Chardonnay is harvested at night, when the temperature drops to 16-18°C, allowing us to best preserve the aromatic wealth of the grapes.

70%
ENERGY SAVING

The white grapes are cooled and pressed at a temperature of about 10°C (50°F). Harvesting at night reduces the energy used for the cooling of the grapes by 70%.

Pantellerian garden

Pantellerian garden

Set amongst the company’s vineyards at Khamma, is the striking Giardino Pantesco, which Donnafugata restored and donated to FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano (the Italian National Trust) in 2008. It is a typical form of rural architecture with high dry-stone walls. The circular plan, size, and lava stone create the ideal microclimate for cultivating and protecting from the wind and drought an age-old orange tree, a precious source of vitamins. Symbolic of the knowledge possessed by the island’s farmers, the garden is an agronomic system that is self-sufficient with regard to water. Open to visitors during the months of July, August, and September, it is included in the itinerary of a full tour from the vineyard to the winery. Dimensions: outer height of the wall from 2.7 to 4 m, the inner height of wall 3 m, wall thickness 1.30 m, inside diameter 8.4 m, outside diameter 11 m.

Donnafugata for the culture

The ancient city of Anthìlia

Since 2000, Donnafugata has been supporting the Scuola Normale of Pisa in the archaeological excavations on Rocca di Entella - the ancient city of Anthìlia - near the Contessa Entellina vineyards.

“Pepoli” Museum

In 2003 Donnafugata has sponsored the restoration of Madonna with Child (XV century AD) in the “Pepoli” Museum in Trapani.

Tomasi di Lampedusa award

From 2003 to 2008 Donnafugata supported the Tomasi di Lampedusa Literary Prize dedicated to the author of Il Gattopardo (The Leopard), the famous novel from which the company drew inspiration for its name

Tapestry Museum

Since 2012 Donnafugata has been supporting the Tapestry Museum, which houses eight Flemish works of great value.