The Winery D’Ancona, the oldest on the island of Pantelleria, is a small family business, operating in the locality of “Cimillia”.
Memories of the winery go back in time for four generations: Salvatore D’Ancona, winemaker in the 1920s and professor at the Institute of Agrarian Studies, decided to quit teaching and devote himself full time to his private business. His first winery was born in the village of Margana, but in the ’30s it had to be moved to Sciuveki when Mussolini started the construction of an airport for military purposes and expropriated all the lands in that area. Salvatore was shipping Passito and dried raisins with sailboats first, and then with motor-propelled ships towards the main Italian ports ( Marsala , Naples , Livorno , Genoa). The wine was already bottled and beautifully labeled, something extremely rare at that time.
Salvatore’s son, Antonio (“Totò” for friends), continued his job coming back to Pantelleria in 1963 after a long stay in Tripoli. He was very reserved and far from any form of protagonism, nevertheless he was well known in the business as an influential and knowledgeable wine professional. Antonio’s particular care and attention for a high quality production would always begin in the vineyard. Even today some old vine growers remember with admiration and nostalgia the advice and directives that he gave to obtain top quality grapes.
Totò decided to move the winery to its current location in the area of Cimillìa, in an ancient “dammuso” (the typical rural cottage of Pantelleria, with round roofs and thick stone walls) owned by his wife Angela. He was an innovator and a pioneer of what is now known as “wine tourism”, he immidiately introduced the use of concrete tanks, started the mail order system and welcomed a large number of visitors to the winery. He also gave his wines as a simple but at the same time precious gift – a work of art coming from a great effort.
The new millenium
Following his death, the company was inherited by the five children but it entered a hard generational transition phase, typical for many family owned businesses. In the year 2000, the ownership went to only two daughters, Caterina and Sara, supported by the mother Angela. At this important point a relaunch phase began, in which the winery was restructured and modernized. The wine tourism activity was also improved with information on production processes, tasting of wines paired with typical products of the island and organization of events for the presentation of books, documentaries and other cultural initiatives.
Today Lorenzo, the son of Ketty, who after studying engineering and a professional experience in the automotive industry, is approaching the company with renewed enthusiasm, bringing new ideas especially in the field of marketing and communication. The challenge is now to bring the winery into the ever changing global market without compromising its heritage and integrity.