Italy’s First All-Women Vineyard


The Guardian explores a pioneering venture and the visionary behind it.

This article, written by , appears on The Guardian.

In an industry traditionally dominated by men, Tuscany’s Il Casato Prime Donne winery employs only women. On International Women’s Day, we raise a glass to owner Donatella Cinelli Colombini and her pioneering winery

Nestled between oak casks and clutching glasses of Brunello di Montalcino, one of Tuscany’s finest wines, a group of wine tasters listens attentively to their remarkable host.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini is something of a vineyard revolutionary, having opened Italy’s first winery run solely by women. Wrapped in a warm coat smartened with pearls and wearing gold earrings, she speaks passionately to her guests about the philosophy which governs the Casato Prime Donne winery.

Her ancestors first owned land in the Montalcino area in the 16th century, and recent generations have passed property down the female line. When Cinelli Colombini inherited the estate from her mother in the late 1990s, she went in search of staff at Siena’s œnology school.

“They told me that I’d need to wait months to have a good student. But when I said I wanted a female student, they said that there were lots, because no winery wanted them,” Cinelli Colombini says, explaining that her response was to create Prime Donne, “to demonstrate that the discrimination was not justified nor useful”.

The property now has 16 hectares of Sangiovese vineyards, producing the area’s famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino wines. They adhere to the strict controls which afford them the quality DOC and DOCG labels, while Cinelli Colombini’s estate is one of 210 producers in the Consortium of the Brunello of Montalcino. Bottles, which cost 29, are shipped worldwide, with the largest group of both buyers and visitors coming from the US. Read more on The Guardian…

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