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Social media wine's virtual grapevine

Blog, newsletters, social media, reviews portals, local searches, OTA: the many forms of online wine grapevine that creates an image and turnover

Wine- virtual -grapevine-Cantine-Barbera

Wine- virtual -grapevine-Cantine-Barbera

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The virtual wine grapevine is the major instrument for the growth of wine tourism. Up until 2013 it was a human chain mouth to ear, today the viral action that takes place on the web among wine lovers who publish images of their visit and comment the experience, wine bloggers who write posts that then get shared … A procedure that must be cared for and fed and in so doing you create a community with whom there is a daily dialogue. One of the most efficient instruments for this scope is the creation of a newsletter to be sent via internet every 15 days always the same day and time) to those who have visited the winery or who have made contact through the web site. It should contain offers reserved for faithful clients (events, special releases) ..the next few appointments and some news. The client becomes a friend –follower and is regularly updated with what is happening on the estate, so as to become aware of the daily goings on. The newsletter is also useful to sell courses, tastings, shopping to a particularly attentive and faithful clientele.


Wine- virtual- grapevine-Wine-Marketing-&-tourism-conference

Obviously the mother of all news is the blog or the news section in the web site. Many wineries have a blog but only Marilena Barbera, of the Sicilian Barbera wineries has been able to get into the first positions in the international ratings as wine blogger. Each producer has their own style. There are those like myself who write about everything that makes me curious even out of the estate and then there are those who rigorously write only about their own wines and tourism proposals. All techniques are right if they bring visibility and clients.

Baccalà fritto e rifatto nel pomodoro

The Prime Donne conquer the  NY Wine Experience

Let me take you to the New York Wine Experience by Wine Spectator, this is the most exclusive wine tasting in the world, with the most important wineries in the world

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne



Here one finds Champagne Salon, Chateaux Lafite Rothschild, Chateaux Margaux, Opus One, Chateau d’Yquem, Penfolds… myths from the wine world. IN their midst I feel so excited, like a child. To be invited to the Wine Experience has always been a dream of mine but I really thought it would never be possible, like winning an Oscar or the Nobel Prize. But I am here and after only 18 years from the birth of my wineries.



Angelo Gaja, as always so kind, comes towards me in the Marriott Marquis hall where each producer has a table to pour their wine. He embraces me and says  <<they should have invited you sooner, you deserve this!>>. Among the producers are also Piero Antinori with Solaia and Lamberto Frescobaldi with Masseto but nobody gets the same reaction as a star like Angelo.

The French wineries have shipped all their wines in wooden cases and before the arrival of the guests they decant them. Noblesse oblige! There is a lot to be learned from them, but there are some Italian wineries that do the same, Sassicaia for example.


White Truffle with Red Wine: yes right, Brunello with truffles

Weekend with the White Truffle from the Crete Senesi at Fattoria del Colle for a very intense and tasty wine and truffle experience

Truffles and Orcia wine Cenerentola

Truffles and Orcia wine Cenerentola

4-6 / 11-13 / 18-20 November with the white truffle in Tuscany in the Crete Senesi area, a truffle region of very high level. Fattoria del Colle organizes weekends that include for you white truffles and the great red wines Brunello and Orcia DOC. During the same period in San Giovanni d’Asso (15 km away) there is a white truffle from the Crete Senesi fair. So plenty of shopping and hunting for the precious truffle in one of the 5 truffle preserves at Fattoria del Colle, themed dinners with truffle recipes, and even a brief lesson regarding the fungus. To make these weekends unforgettable there will also be some splendid wine tastings. And here are our two treats for this programme, that can give sensations and information to real gourmands and to the less expert, these are experiences in the Brunello winery, Casato Prime Donne: the wine and music tasting created by the musician and sommelier Igor Vazzaz with 4 wines and 4 different pieces of music and the brand new fermentation area for the Brunello wine where a flying dove helps visitor enter into the true Montalcino spirit with images and sounds. A beautiful surprise.

The detailed program in on the web site.



3 day –two nights  € 214 per person. It is possible to book briefer stays through the reception +39 0577 662108


Last year I was nominated Cavaliere Onorario dell’Ordine del Tartufo e dei vini di Alba. During the ceremony I asked the Gran Maestro Bianca Vetrino << what do you drink with your truffles?>>  and she replied convinced << red wine>>. This reply made me think … matching white ruffles from the Crete Senesi with Brunello and Doc Orcia works just as well as the pairings in Piedmont in fact it must be studied.. maybe through a weekend full of excellent delicacies. Our white truffle is “honeyed” exquisitely refined; it has an intense aroma and is definitely intriguing (it is not a coincidence that it is aphrodisiacal) . It has become so acclaimed only recently, for this reason it is still quite affordable.

The Prime Donne at the NY Wine Experience: a dream come true

Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Brunello flies to the NY Wine Experience, the famous tasting of the 250 top wines selected by Wine Spectator for their prestige and quality



It’s 18 years old, the young company of Donatella Cinelli Colombini (it was born in 1998) is of age now and it has received the most desired invitation of all, the debutantes’ ball of wine cellars.

The invitation to the Wine Experience, the tasting organized in New York by the prestigious American magazine Wine Spectator. A selection of the 278 best wines in the world selected for thier prestige and quality.

A tasting so exclusive that attracts winelovers from all over because here they are certain to find the best of the best and a lot of new products. The ticket costs 2.495$ and it has a limited number, and the tickets are purchased online until the fully booked. For Donatella Cinelli Colombini there has been another gift: hers is one of the 4



Brunello chosen to be part of the seminar. She will be speaking in front of 1.000 people, telling the story of a country house in ruins that becomes the first Italian winery with a staff of all women; and the story of the Ardita vineyard, a small piece of land about 2 hectars, that produces extraordinary grapes with an extraordinary qualitative continuity in the different vintages. A magical place for the cultivation of Sangiovese.

The Chianti Superiore in the TOP year of Organic

Chianti Superiore DOCG 2014 is old style for Donatella Cinelli Colombini: who appreciates a more traditional and easy to drink Chianti will love it!

Chianti Superiore DOCG - Fattoria del Colle, Trequanda

Chianti Superiore DOCG – Fattoria del Colle, Trequanda

2014 has been the year of the Organic, and those like us who have chosen this method to cultivate their vineyards, have brought to the winery grapes that were sound and especially apt to produce young wines. 86 days of rain, from April to October and an almost Nordic climate, have favoured the synthesis of perfumes in the grapes and the production of “old style” wines, elegant and easy to drink like those of thirty years ago.
The Chianti Superiore Docg 2014 is a wine with a typical Tuscan imprint, with tannins that are evident but well balanced by the fruit and a remarkable pleasantness that makes it easy to match with any dish: from the chianina ox tagliata to Indian or Chinese dishes.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini‘s Chianti Superiore is produced in Fattoria del Colle at 404 meters of altitude, on top of high hills that surround the Crete Senesi area. The vineyards are on ridges, in a position that is ventilated and well exposed to the sun; they have 5.500 vines per hectare that produce only a little over one kilo of grapes each one. Few grapes and a lot of manual work – both during the cultivation and harvest – they give us an excellent result. Vinification and ageing are carried out in the winery and cellar of Fattoria del Colle that is placed right among the vineyards.

Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Toscana 2013

The story of Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Supertuscan dedicated to a man in the all women winery

Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Toscana 2013

Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Toscana 2013

The wine “Il Drago e le 8 Colombe” has a strange name because it has a curious beginning. It is produced in Donatella Cinelli Colombini‘s wineries, where the staff are all women, represented by the 8 doves on the label: Donatella, her daughter Violante who together with Debora takes care of wine sales, Alessia who is in charge of the incoming, Barbara the cellar master with her helpers Antonella and Margherita, and last but not least Valérie Lavigne the wine maker. A formidable team flanked by the men and women grape growers but also by Donatella’s husband Carlo Gardini, who has created a range of sweet wines for this winery. He is the dragon in the label to emphasize a male presence in an all female winery, which is feminine not feminist. Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a “Supertuscan” a Tuscan wine not covered by a DOC regime. To begin with this type of wine included those of modern style and high quality. It was created in the 1970’s as a reaction to the rules of the appellations that limited the possibility of experimenting. Practically a rebellion against tradition, and this was sustained by the press and by America consumers. Later the Supertuscan became IGT Toscana appellation, and in some cases (such as Sassicaia) they become DOC. Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is an IGT Supertuscan produced at Fattoria del Colle.

Chaimaa Fatihi, Giuseppe Casciaro, Bruno Gambacorta and Filippa Lagerback Casato Prime Donne 2016

The Casato Prime Donne jury; with for the first time Donatella Cinelli Colombini as President, have chosen a Muslim young woman who is against Isis


Casato Prime Donne Award 2016 – Chaimaa Fatihi

3 big names have been chosen among those who divulge this territory: Giuseppe Casciaro editor of the Repubblica supplements, Bruno Gambacorta with his Eat Parade and Filippa Lagerback with her tourism by bike.

Chaimaa Fatihi, 23 years old, is studying law in Modena and is the commissary for the Giovani Musulmani d’Italia (young Muslims in Italy) at the Forum Nazionale Giovani, straight after the attack at Bataclan spoke for the Koran followers who are horrified by violence with an open letter -to terrorists then published on the front page of “Repubblica” <<Maledetti Teroristi– Damned terrorists>> she wrote <<My faith is in Islam, a religion that preaches peace …. As a Muslim I disclaim you, I fight you with words, with information, with the voice of those who live daily their faith and being an example of its teachings>>.


Casato Prime Donne Award 2016 – Filippa Lagerback

In this young woman who has affronted the fundamentalists wearing her veil and bare handed, the Jury of the Casato Prime Donne Award – made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini president, Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri and Daniela Viglione- has seen an example of courage and a new type of femininity able to move consciences

The prizes for the journalism sections, destined to those who divulge the Montalcino territory and Brunello went to  Giuseppe Casciaro for the article Dall’albergo vicino a Montalcino un panorama suggestivo. Castello di Velona published in “La Repubblica”, Bruno Gambacorta for his TV programme called 50 anni della DOC sent on air byTG2 Eat Parade and Filippa Lagerback for her TV programme In bici con Filippa: Montalcino sent on air by “Bike Channel”.

Concorso fotografico Premio casato Prime Donne

Vote for the best image of Val d'Orcia, the five finalists are now online!

“Brunello and Orcia people and land “ is the theme of this prize. The Casato Prime Donne Award dedicates as usual a section to photography and to the best snap of the Val d’Orcia, a wonderful countryside that Unesco has made world heritage site in 2004.The 5 finalist photos have been chosen by the award’s jury made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri ad Daniela Viglione.Until September 4th it will be possible to access the voting box so as to choose the winner. It is sufficient to click on the button here below, look at the 5 images and choose your favourite; this can be done only once.https://www.cinellicolombini.it/it/vota-la-foto-premio-casato-prime-donne-2016[caption id="attachment_27170" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Casato Prime Donne Award - Photographic Contest[/caption]The Casato Prime Donne Award has reached this year its 18th edition. It emphasizes...

The cities where they drink more wine

Paris uncorks 697 millions of bottles per year, in second place there is Buenos Aires followed by Ruhr metropolitan area in Germany

By Donatella Cinelli ColombiniMontalcinoCasato Prime Donne

Paris is the city where they drink more wine

Paris is the city where they drink more wine

Among the cities where they drink more wine in the world 3 are Italians: Milan, Naples and Rome. Milan is in 4th position overall with 301 million bottles. Naples surprisingly beats Rome with 188 million bottles and places 8th in the world, while the Eternal City stops at 177 million bottles. The real surprise comes by comparing these numbers with the inhabitants and tourists for each city. In fact Rome is definitely the most densely populated among them, with over 8,5 million people, while Milan doesn’t reach 1,5 million and Naples is under 1 million.

To that we need to add the tourists, notoriously big fans of Italian cuisine, that gladly indulge in wine tastings and shopping, to the point where one out of two usually goes home with an Italian bottle in their luggage.

In the ranking of the most visited Italian cities, Rome (with 8.780 million arrivals)

Naples is the city that "drinks" more wine in Italy

Naples is the city that “drinks” more wine in Italy

dominates over Milan (6.050.000) that gets second place and we find Naples only in 9th place. So, overall, the study carried out by the Isneec Wine & Spirit Insitute business school on the data collected by OIV leaves us a little perplexed.

It reminds us of the study carried out a few years ago on the “Nations with the highest wine consumption per person”, that saw on the first place of the ranking the Vatican City, unleashing the most blasphemous comments on the usage of wine during Mass. Actually, at least in that case, the ratio between the 800 residents and the tourists’ wine consumption easily explained the statistics.

Last days to participate in the Casato Prime Donne Award 2016

An award that wishes to thank  those who divulge the territory and open new horizons for women. An award born in Montalcino in the first winery in Italy with an all female staff[caption id="attachment_11513" align="alignleft" width="300"] Premio Casato Prime Donne vincitori e giuria[/caption]There are still a few day left to be able to take part in the Casato Prime Donne 2016 award with photographs , articles, and TV and radio material regarding the wonderful Montalcino territory and Brunello, published between June 15th  2015 and June 1st 2016. Before the 16th of June your entries must reach the Award Secretariat  (Casato Prime Donne 53024 Montalcino SI- casato@cinellicolombini.it).Art, landscapes…. But most of all people from a land made famous by the excellence of its wines. As a prize there are bottles of prestigious wine as well as money (respectively 1.000 and 1.500...

Medals in competitions, too many and some for counterfeit wines

English wine competition reward up to 70% of wines with medals while the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles carries out tests to catch those who falsify bottles

The Italian jurt at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

The Italian jurt at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne


A very interesting article by Wine News underlines the excessive number of medals of the English wine contests. According to OIV there should be less than 33% whereas the various contests by  “Decanter” awarded medals to 70% of the participants   and <<“The Drinks Business”, regardless of a jury made up practically of only Masters of Wine, actually awarded in one go medals to 90% of the Champagnes>> state ironically Wine News. A situation that could be connected to the price to be paid for every one of the 16.000 bottles in the first of the competitions mentioned and that was put into evidence by “La Revue du Vin de France”.

Medals from the International wine competitions -International-wine-challenge

Medals from the International wine competitions -International-wine-challenge

The  “Vinalies Internationales” seem to be much more rigorous, they give medals to 29,8% of the 3.500 competitors and the  Concours mondial de Bruxelles gives recognition to  28,2% out of  8.000.

Although the advantages go quite rightly to the sole winners of these competitions every medal, if well used, with commercial actions and with vip clients, can give an increase in wine price between  10-15% and an increase in winery reputation.

Brunello 2008 PrimeDonne primo piano bottiglia

Passito 2014 a sweet masterpiece

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s all female staffed wineries, the only man around is Carlo, lover of sweet wines and of this Passito

Carlo with the TRaminer grapes for passito

Carlo with the TRaminer grapes for passito

Producing passito is an annual ritual that captivates Donatella Cinelli Colombini and most of all her husband Carlo Gardini. A maniacal attention that is possible only because very few bottles are made and because Carlo Gardini and the cellar master Barbara Magnani  have unlimited passion for sweet wines. Their efforts have been rewarded with 93/100 for the 2013 production by Wine Advocate.

2014 was in fact the “organic” year, for those, like us at Fattoria del Colle, grow vines without the use of chemical products brought grapes home healthy and ripe. The At the beginning of September the pink clusters of Traminer grapes from the Sanchimento vineyard, surrounding the Chapel at Fattoria del Colle , were picked by hand, and chosen one by one. The cluster were then put into baskets to dry naturally.



This is the most laborious phase in the production because the cellar master Barbara Magnani  must move the grapes continuously according to the weather, if it rains for example. In 2014 the summer was rainy and cool, but at the beginning of September the sun came out and there were only three showers during the whole month. The good weather lasted all of October  while the baskets with the Traminer grapes continued being moved around to find every single ray of sunshine.

Irene Grandi cantante

A great Rosé from a fantastic harvest

Donatella Cinelli Colombini presents her Rosa di Tetto 2015 which was born from a 5 stars harvest

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosa di Tetto 2015

Donatella Cinelli Colombini Rosa di Tetto 2015

The 2015 harvest has without doubt been a fantastic one. 5 stars and with the ambition to be remembered among one of the best of the century.

The rainfalls that preceded the harvest in 2015 had two effects, the first negative and the second positive. The blooming was disturbed by the bad weather and this reduced the production of grapes, so the vintage resulted in being scarce. On the other hand the water trapped in the soil helped the vines resist the very hot month of July, in so creating the conditions for a gradual ripening of the grapes. The cool august completed the job and the difference in day and night temperatures favoured the synthesis of the aromas. The result is an excellent rosé.

Sanchimento, the white wine from the lady of reds

Donatella Cinelli Colombini presents her Sanchimento 2015 , her white wine from Traminer grapes that this year is better than ever

Sanchiemnto IGT Toscana 2015

Sanchiemnto IGT Toscana 2015

San Chimento and San Clemente were the same person: Pope Clemente 1st who died in Sebastopoli, maybe a martyr, at the end of the 1st century. In medieval documents the two names are often swapped and in the Sienese territory, crib of the Italian language, where still today there is a local vernacular surviving that is quite a conjunction between Latin and Italian, the names Chimento and Clemente continue to live together. So the chapel at Fattoria del Colle built by the owners ancestors, in 1592 is dedicated to San Clemente is surrounded by a farmhouse Sanchimento pronounced and written all in one word. Sanchimento is also the name of a wine obtained with Traminer grapes that are grown near the chapel in the Sanchimento property.

The 2015 harvest was particularly favourable for the vineyards thanks to a very rainy

Sanchimento 2015 with Traminer grapes

Sanchimento 2015 with Traminer grapes

winter and spring that caused a natural reduction in clusters and a reserve of water in the soil. In August the great differences between day and night temperatures favoured the synthesis or perfumes and the production of wines particularly rich in aroma.

Type: dry white.

Production area: Tuscany, Trequanda, Fattoria del Colle.

Vintage characteristics: mild and rainy winter, spring with frequent rainfalls that  interfered with the blooming and caused a natural decrease in production. The vine vegetative cycle began very quickly and was roughly held back by a very hot July that brought the cycle back to normal. The colouring of the grapes began at the end of July and lasted two weeks. The moderate temperatures in August consented a slow and regular ripening of the grapes.

Walter Speller wine writer

Wine tours, the winery, and strange questions

Tour after tour, year after year, the questions asked by visitors have been many, and some, sometimes …quite strange!

Wine tours at Casato Prime Donne, Montalcino

Wine tours at Casato Prime Donne, Montalcino

By Sara MazzeschiFattoria del Colle

One of the fun aspects of my job at Fattoria del Colle is the time I spend with guests visiting the estate. Be it here or at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino it is really nice to show experts or wine lovers where we produce and age the Chianti, Doc Orcia and Brunello.

I have always thought that telling people what is “behind”  a bottle of wine, the challenges, the decisions and everything else that brings to a quality wine , to be the most important aspect of my job, that is why I am always happy to see the curious expressions of those following me and to hear their questions. It must be said though that there is no limit to what I have been asked,  every time I think that I have heard the best then a young bright lad or a professor lifts his glasses to look at me all the better… and I remain speechless.


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