VALDIBELLA, Camporeale

In 1998 this small co-op grew out of ‘Project Jonathan’, thanks to the Salesians of Camporeale wanting to find constructive activities for wards of the court.  Valdibella is now a co-op of 6 growers, with a combined 38 ha of vineyards, producing 60,000 bottles.

The vineyards, overseen by Massimiliano Solano, the visionary behind the winery project, are located around the towns of Camporeale & Monreale, in the province of Palermo.  All vineyards — at 300–500m elevation, on leached red ‘regosuolo’, a lime and red clay mix over sedimentary soils — are certified organic, and production methods extend to minimal (sometimes zero) added sulphur.  Indigenous grapes are the focus — Catarratto, Grillo, Perricone & Nero d’Avola.  Leading the ‘new wave’ of Sicilian winegrowers, Valdibella eschews overripe, high alcohol wines in favour of bright, fresh and elegant wines that express the terroir of the region.

Winemaking, in a cellar completed in 2009, embraces a non-interventionist philosophy.  Increasingly, native yeasts are used for fermentation.  Every year, new steps are taken to improve quality and reduce environmental impact.  Organically farmed almonds and olives are also grown, and biodiversity, including woodland & nature preserve, is an integral part of the philosophy.

On top of being socially and environmentally conscious, Valdibella is also mafia free.  Founded in 2004, Addio Pizzo (addio = goodbye / pizzo = protection money), is a movement supporting those in the economy who are pizzo-free.  By bearing the slogan on their wines, Valdibella confirms their commitment to supporting pizzo-free business.