Italy’s biggest private estate invests in Sicily

Gianni Zonin, owner of one of Italy's biggest private estates and wineries, is investing €20m (US$18.7m) in southern Italy.

After having successfully invested in Apulia and Salento in 2000, Zonin’s new southern project, Feudo Principi di Butera, in Caltanisetta, Sicily, was officially inaugurated on 25 May.

‘There’s no doubt about it, we’ve bet our bottom dollar on Southern Italy and particularly Sicily, which is Italy’s future with regard to fruity, full bodied Mediterranean wines,’ Zonin said.

The 300ha Feudo Principi di Butera is Sicily’s largest wine estate – up to recently used for grazing sheep and a herd of 250 cows. Dating from the 15th century it has 135ha of vines, including Sicily’s indigenous Nero d’Avola as well as international varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Zonin – who has restored the house to its original state – aims to increase the vines to 180ha by 2004, producing one million bottles of premium red wine and generating a €10m (US$9.38m) turnover.

Zonin’s holdings include 11 estates totalling 1,800ha of vines planted throughout seven regions of Italy. The US is one of the main markets – in addition to his Italian estates, Zonin owns Tenuta di Barboursville in Virginia.

Written by Michele Shah30 May 2002