Spotlight On A Sicilian Estate: Di Giovanna



When you search on the internet for Riserva Naturale Monte Genuardo, the results are entries written in Italian, nothing pops up in English. Talk about “off the beaten path”. Nestled near this protected land is where you will find the vineyards belonging to Di Giovanna. Located approximately 42 miles southwest of Palermo, on the side of the triangle that faces the Mediterranean, Di Giovanna occupies an unique location and history for Sicilian wine production. It is a special winery that pushes for quality while offering the wines at market for a very fair price. Di Giovanna wines over deliver for price.

Klaus and Gunther Di Giovanna

I first met Gunther Di Giovanna three years ago. Yes, Gunther. Not your typical Sicilian name! His Sicilian father Aurelio married German-born Barbara, hence the name. Gunther’s brother, Klaus, partners with him to manage production from the vineyards to the wine cellar. I liked the wines then and brought in the Nerello Mascalese to stock at The Wine House. Very soon after, their American importer ceased operating in California, so I was no longer able to buy it for the store. Back in the California market, Gunther paid me a visit to present their new wines. I could readily detect an even finer quality to the wines than before.

Di Giovanna Vineyards

Though wine production at Di Giovanna can be traced back to 1860, it was 1985 when Aurelio and Barbara decided to make a serious go at making fine wine on their family’s estate. There was much work done in the vineyards to identify soils and microclimates. Aurelio hired friend and famed Bordeaux oenologist Denis Dubourdieu to consult at the estate. The Di Giovannas were intent on making the best possible wine, bucking common Sicilian wine practices of the time that favored higher yields and bulk production. Gunther and Klaus inherited their parents’ strong commitment and appreciation for their land and winery. During my conversation with Gunther, I learned that he spent many years working in corporate business on mainland Italy and Germany before returning to Sicily to work at Di Giovanna. He tells me that now he is never tired. His work at the winery energizes and inspires him, bringing joy every day.
Another view of Di Giovanna

I have included photos that I borrowed from Di Giovanna’s Facebook page. As you can see, the winery is remote, far from civilization. You don’t see other wineries – there aren’t any but Di Giovanna – nor towns or many homes. The elevation of the five main vineyards range from 1100 to 2800 hundred feet! Their immediate surroundings are pristine. The winery has traditionally farmed organically, but became certified organic in 1997. It is indeed a special place.


My collection of Pysanky

I celebrated Eastern Orthodox Easter May 1. My family and friends (it was a small crowd with only 31 in attendance) gathered at the River on the deck to feast on Russian delicacies and some non-traditional, but revered, dishes. It was a glorious day as the weather was warm, the freshness of spring was in the air and the company convivial. Everyone was exactly where they wanted to be and it felt good. I live for those moments; it makes everything else worth it. I suspect Gunther and Klaus have similar moments at their family’s estate tucked high above Sambuca di Sicilia. Life is bedda!

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Sicily

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