In love with the extreme nature of Pantelleria, a volcanic island between Sicily and Africa, Donnafugata arrived here in 1989 to develop an innovative project of quality and heroic viticulture.
Today, Donnafugata boasts 68 hectares of vineyards located in 16 districts, different for soil, altitude (from 20 m to 400 m above sea level), exposure, microclimate and the age of the plants (also over 100 years old). In addition, in the Khamma district winery, a small jewel of sustainable architecture perfectly set in a natural terraced amphitheater, the individual batches of grapes are processed separately, up to the final blend, respecting and enhancing the plurality of the wine-growing contexts.
The island’s grape variety is Zibibbo (Moscato d’Alessandria), the prince among the aromatic varieties. The vineyard is cultivated with very low bush vines (alberello pantesco), on small terraces, bordered by dry lava stone walls (Unesco - Intangible Cultural Heritage) that help prevent soil erosion, protecting the landscape and biodiversity. A context that requires a very high level of manpower, about three times the average needed for a quality-oriented vineyard, not to mention the maintenance of about 40 km of dry stone walls.
Sustainability and craftsmanship
The island’s windy and dry climate has led to the cultivation of vines in “basins” and a pruning system that makes the plant develop in a horizontal, almost crawling pattern on the ground, so that it can resist the wind. The result of an innovative and customized production process, based on the natural drying of fresh grapes on racks, the manual removal of dried grapes and a unique vinification process developed by the company, Ben Ryé is today considered one of the most appreciated natural sweet wines in the world.
In Pantelleria, Donnafugata cultivates 5 hectares of centuries-old olive trees on terraces. Pruned horizontally, and just over 1 metre high, these olive trees have a very low yield. From the olives harvested by hand, directly from the tree, the delicate extra virgin olive oil from the Biancolilla cultivar is produced.
The Pantelleria winery has a wine shop and enoteca dedicated to visitors who are welcomed in summer for tastings and guided tours.