I virtually traveled to a new region and winery in Italy continuing the 2020 alternative to what was once to be an in-person trip earlier in the year. This time it was an introduction to Donnachiara Winery, located in the Irpinia appellation in the Campania region of southern Italy. The winery is a landmark, located high on a hill in the town of Montefalcione and they have been growing grapes for five generations.
About the Winery
Donnachiara refers to itself as an agriculture company and produces Irpinia’s three DOCG wines — Fiano di Avellino, Taurasi and Greco di Tufo – and traditional Aglianico and Falanghina wines. The winery was founded in 2005 when the family finally decided to make their own wines and the management team consists of mostly all females.
Our recent Wine Studio educational discussion was led by Susannah Gold, DWS, FWS from Vigneto Communications and Donnachiara’s CEO Ilaria Petitto, who left her law practice in 2008 and modernized the winery – creating new wine labels, focusing on sustainable agriculture and dedicating herself to a passion for grape development.
Illaria works with her mother, Chiara, on the business, who is the niece of Donnachiara Mazzarelli Petitto, who was a noblewoman dedicated to viticulture enduring two world wars in the process. Coming home and learning to work together was a challenge, Ilaria noted, but they were able to come to an agreement on modernization. It paid off. Originally, the winery produced 10,000 bottles annually. Today, Donnachiara makes 200,000 bottles a year, with 40% of production remaining in Italy and the rest in exports. Total Wine carries the brand in the United States.
Donnachiara is also committed to the environment and is the only agricultural company to be included in Italy’s list of eco-sustainable companies. For about a decade, the company has supported the use of anti-parasitic products and has adhered to the models of integrated pest management. The winery uses solar energy and recycles their water.
About the Wines
The Donnachiara collection features nine wines: Irpinia’s three DOCG wines, Fiano di Avellino, Taurasi and Greco di Tufo, in addition to the traditional Aglianico and Falanghina wines. We sampled two wines, which showed the diversity and possibility of this region at an amazing price point.
- 2018 Donnachiara Falanghina Resilienza IGT, ($17.99) – this 100 percent Falanghina tastes of stone fruit, pear, apricot, honeydew melon with a great structure and minerality. It has the potential to age and changes in the glass as you try it.
- 2017 Donnachiara Irpinia Aglianico 2017 ($20) –this wine has caught the attention of several wine critics lately and it’s easy to see why. It’s striking and unusual and delicious; punching way above its weight. I tasted cherry, berry, dried fruit, herbal notes and spice.
In conclusion, this is another unsung region in Italy producing good wines at a value that will leave you wanting more. Clearly this family has generations of history but has taken a modern approach to production, sustainability and making wine that will last for generations to come.