Friday, August 9, 2013

Sicilian winemaker Donnafugata celebrates the harvest

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

MARSALA, Sicily--Harvesting is in full swing in the hot, humid vineyards of Donnafugata winery, located in t he heart of western Sicily, one of Italy's southernmost wine producing regions.

The harvest began in early August with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, used as the base for their superlative sparkling wine. The strong grape aromas and citrus fruit flavors combined with the excellent acidity of the grapes, makes for an outstanding sparkling wine, made in the traditional method, Donnafugata Brut. It continues with a celebration this weekend with the nighttime harvesting of the Chardonnay grapes at Donnafugata's flagship winery at Contessa Entellina. The grapes are the first to ripen in the areas of Duchessa and Mazzaporro and are among the earliest to ripen due to their location on the valley floor. Night harvesting is a technical choice on the part of Donnafugata's wnemaking team, headed by Antonio Rallo, owner of Donnafugata and the company's production manager. According to him, "everything promises to to bring a good vintage, with peaks of excellence. This was a year with healthy and ripe grapes, which brings the promise of harmonious and balanced wines."

Looking out over the dramatic expanse of Donnafugata's vineyards in Marsala, with sweeping panaromas of volcanic mountains, sandy-soiled valleys and cascades of terraced and sloped vineyards, this is as close to paradise as it gets.

The year 2013 promises to be a banner year for Sicilian wine. and Donnafugata is leading the charge!
Saturday, August 10 marks an auspicious and historic occassion, the Nighttime Harvest of the Chardonnay grapes at Donnafugata's Contessa Entellina estate. The showcase event, entitled Calici di Stelle (the wine goblet by starlight), is an experienced that will be shared by wine lovers throughout the world. Over 1500 wine enthusiasts will be connected to Donnafugata's owners Jose' and Antonio Rallo, live from Sicily. A streaming, live broadcast on the dedicated website and on the DonnafugataWine Facebook page will allow wine lovers to assist the grape harvest in the moonlight and experience the magic on their PCs and mobile devices via the internet. This innovative Social Media Wine Experience will create a virtual community of wine harvesters. Along with this virtual experience, a series of real life experiences have been organized around the world to follow the nighttime harvest. Ten nations, including Japan, Russia, the United States and Brazil, will be connected with Contessa Entellina at 68 events. They will be joined with over 1500 attendees at the estate for a tasting of the wines under a starry sky. Bravo Contessa Entellina!

Bravo Donnafugata!

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