The 200 years of Duca di Salaparuta: Sicilian wine looks to the future

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A wine inextricably linked to the history of Sicily, of Sicilian wine, of the noble families who wanted to start a business and of how the entrepreneurial Region was first able to seize the opportunity and then completely neglect the potential of Sicilian wine on the markets. And finally the arrival of a large company from the North which has made it the flagship of its offering. The Duca di Salaparuta winery in Casteldaccia in the province of Palermo turns 200 years old and is renewed by looking at the territory but also at new trends, at what insiders call “the wine of the future”.

«Duca di Salaparuta, in its two hundredth anniversary, has decided to give voice to its artistic terroir, breaking down the boundaries of its own cellars – says Roberto Magnisi, director of the Florio, Duca di Salaparuta and Corvo cellars – honoring the human expression that has told the his Sicily in the two centuries of his life. We want to honor the place where we live, we have the desire to tell our story intimately, we need to not quench our thirst yet.” The company therefore aims to strengthen its presence in the area with new initiatives and a renewed relationship with the local community. The innovative spirit is always that of Giuseppe Alliata, prince of Villafranca, who created the winery in 1824 and the foresight of his great-grandson, Duke Enrico, considered a master of oenology and beyond.

Until we get to Topazia Alliata, a refined intellectual, wife of Fosco Maraini and mother of the writer Dacia Maraini, who in 1961 sold the cellars to Sofis, the financial company of the Region which then passed everything to Espi, the body for development and promotion industrialist who launches a series of initiatives and investments in a long season of public management in which good intentions are gradually replaced by reasons that are often only political and not market-related. In 2001 the winery was purchased by Ilva Saronno Holding through the subsidiary Florio and everything changed: in 2003 Gruppo Duca di Salaparuta Spa was born. It is a new, more modern approach, with investments in the cellars, in the wines, and with an eye on the territory with new wines such as Vermentino and the valorisation of existing productions and new products: the two new wines Lavico Etna Doc Bianco and Lavico Etna Doc Rosso arrive from the Vajasindi Estate, on the slopes of Etna. A managerial revolution. with extensive work to modernize the brand and work on the quality of the wines and winemaking, which makes Duca di Salaparuta one of the main Sicilian companies: «A company “contaminated” by Sicily – says Magnisi again –, which loves for the its oenological heterogeneity and protection in all its authenticity. This is the project that involves the three brands, Duca di Salaparuta, Corvo and Florio.” Today Duca di Salaparuta, which produced one million bottles in 2023, has a turnover of almost 5.6 million and employs around a hundred people: «Our main market is Italy. With a more or less constant proportion over the years of 80% Italy, 20% abroad – adds the director –. The region in which we are most present is undoubtedly Sicily (especially Palermo and Catania), which represents our main focus. This is followed by Lombardy (Milan) and Lazio (Rome). The foreign markets in which we are most present are Japan, followed by the USA and Switzerland. The best-selling wine is Passo delle Mule whose main market is Italy followed by the United States, Japan, France and Switzerland.”

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