Donnafugata Winery is one of Italy’s finest wineries and praised by wine critics and wine lovers alike all over the globe. Located in Sicily, Donnafugata has various estates including the historic cellar in Marsala, the beautiful Contessa Entellina country house and vineyards in the western interior of the island, and another winery and estate in the windswept island of Pantelleria off Sicily’s southwest coast. The Rallo family who owns Donnafugata have been in the wine business for over a century and the current generation is extremely dynamic and visionary. The Donnafugata brand was born in the early 1980s by Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo in the family’s historic cellars and today their children José and Antonio play prominent roles in the company. Even the grandchildren Ferdinando and Gabriella pitch in at the winery by posing as adorable Bacchus figures in the ads.
The term “Donna Fugata” translates as “Fleeing woman” and is a reference to the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV’s Hapsburg wife Queen Maria Carolina who in the early 1800s had to flee their court at Naples (under Spanish rule at the time) when Napoleon’s troops arrived. They fled for Sicily to the country estates of a local prince, and the whole story is immortalized in the famous Sicilian novel “Il Gattopardo” by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. This story was the inspiration for the name of the brand (their vineyards are located in the same area where the king and queen stayed in Sicily), and also for the image of the woman with the flowing hair on all of the wine labels.
Donnafugata is known for its exceptionally wide range of wines, made with native varietals such as Ansonica (also known as Inzolia), Catarratto, Zibbibo, and Nero d’Avola as well as international varietals like Viognier. While we love all of their wines, we must admit we have a few personal favorites, which include the exquisite “Ben Ryé” (their famed Passito from far-flung Pantelleria), the silky “Polena” made with Catarratto and Viognier, and the velvety “Mille e una Notte” (dominated by the native Nero d’Avola grape).