In 1998 when I left my family’s estate (one of the oldest and most prestigious producing Brunello) to create my own, that bears my name, it really seemed a “mission impossible”
By Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Donatella Cinelli Colombini Cavaliere della Repubblica
Again like in my other troubled chellenges I had no money, in fact with debts much superior to the income and two wineries with buildings to be renovated, vineyards to be replanted, cellars to be built and more importantly no sales network.. Now we sell wine to 31 foreign nations. I have in the meantime understood that it is necessary to listen to the vines; they are intelligent plants who ask only to be humoured without polluting the soil with pesticides. I have made mistakes in some new vineyards and in other I really have had a lot of luck, especially in the Ardita Vineyard in Montalcino which every year yields a masterpiece.My wineries Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda – are the first in Italy with an all female staff, including the wine maker
Casato Prime Donne
The project is called Prime Donne and it too happened by chance. Here is what happened. In 1998 other than receiving the two farms I also got a small quantity of wine from my parents, future Brunello still in barrel, and I needed someone to take care of it. I called the agricultural school in Siena asking for a promising cellar master but they said there were none, but when I said if there were girl students available, they said that there were , that they were excellent students but nobody wanted them. Such a deep-rooted discrimination that made it invisible even to me. So from this episode came the idea of a winery staffed by women, a challenge.
In the same way the Bunello Prime Donne was born, it is chosen by a panel of 4 super female tasters in an era when all the tasters of all the guide were men.
Brunello Prime Donne 2008
I am also proud of my contribution helping women in the wine world, I feel that the award that I organize every year, the “Casato Prime Donne” award, to stimulate the divulging of the Montalcino territory but more importantly to emphasize those women who open up new frontiers for women, helps bring the spotlight on some remarkable women. Among the winners we have had Samantha Cristoforetti the first Italian female astronaut who at present is in space, and many other courageous women.
Sandra Savaglio winner of the Casato Prime Donne award 2014
It is very satisfying to see their quotations in my Brunello vineyards together with works of art by Tuscan artists. Maybe all of this helps to make my wine better and better every year
I do like challenges it seems. I also have recuperated an autochthonous grape variety called Foglia Tonda, I use it for one of my most interesting wines belonging to the Orcia denomination. As was a test transforming Fattoria del Colle into the agriturismo it is today, maintaining the traditional furnishings, maintaining the local cuisine, but also using innovation a wellness centre that no other country inn has: with Jacuzzi, sensorial shower sauna, hammam massages and couple vinotherapy. Wine inside and wine out!
A full life, which I adore, work that gives me many satisfactions and the joy of knowing that one day my daughter Violante Gardini will carry on after me.