It was in 1998 That Donatella Cinelli Colombini left the family estate to found her own one consisting in the Casato in Montalcino and the Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda. Together with the vineyards and the houses in need of restoration, Donatella had received a certain amount of Brunello di Montalcino for which she need a wine cellar manager to monitor the wine ripening in the barrels. She called the œnology school in Siena to see if she could hire a good student but was told she had to do this at least a year ahead of time ; there were however many “women wine technicians” as no important winery would hire them.
And this was how the Prime Donne Project started. It is divided into 4 parts.
- Cantina Casato Prime Donne with an entirely female staff including the enologist, a veritable flagship for equal opportunity in the wine world.
- Brunello di Montalcino Prime Donne the first red wine with long ageing, made by women, selected by a panel of 4 female super-tasters that choose it and decide when and for how long to age it in barrels. They are Rosemary George, British Master of Wine, Astrid Schwarz, wine shop owner and expert in German Wines, Daniela Scrobogna, sommelier and Italian teacher and Marina Thompson, Italo-American PR.
- Premio Casato Prime Donne international journalism and photography competition that crowns the “Prima donna”, a female figure who is either an
example or a help to the female world.
- Prime Donne Itinerary and Ilda Bartolini hall. The tasting hall of the Casato Prime Donne, houses the winning pictures of the photographic section of the Award and is dedicated to the RAI journalist Ilda Bartolini 1946-2009 to Whom we owe the formula of this initiative. Another permanent testimony of The Premio Casato Prime Donne is the path through the Brunello vineyards with dedication quotes of the winners and works of contemporary Tuscan artists. Among these are Marco Pignattai, Rossana Mulinari, Bruno Bruchi and Giovanni Senatore, Alessandro Grazi, Orlando Orlandini, Stefano Carlucci, Jeff Shapiro, Michael Austin Latka, Liberatori & Romualdi Architetti Associati, Carlotta, Giuditta and Annibale Parisi and Piero Sbarluzzi.