Susan Van Allen on Donatella Cinelli Colombini

“The only way to change the system is to do it together.”

Donatella Cinelli Colombini changed the face of wine-making in Italy… after oh, say, a thousand years of male vintners. When Donatella inherited her family vineyard she broke with tradition, rather than have a husband manage the fields and the business as expected, she decided to run it herself. Shocking! And she chose to work with other women to do it. Marvelous. Writer and traveler Susan Van Allen tells the story of this trailblazing bella donna who always wears pearls and says the vines tell her what they need. Watch and enjoy!


Susan Van Allen

Susan Van Allen is a writer and Italy travel expert, focusing on Italy’s great allure to female travelers. She is the author of 4 books about Italian travel, including 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go, has written stories for many publications, including AFAR and National Geographic Traveler, and for television, on the staff of the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. She also designs and hosts Golden Weeks in Italy: For Women Only tours that give small groups of female travelers extraordinary experiences in the Bel Paese.

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Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Donatella Cinelli Colombini is something of a vineyard revolutionary, having opened Italy’s first winery run solely by women. The property now has 16 hectares of Sangiovese vineyards, producing the area’s famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino wines. Colombini has now taken the all-female concept a step further, producing the Prime Donne selection, which is chosen each year by a tasting panel of four women. She has also established an annual prize recognising female achievement – the Casato Prime Donne” International Award – which in 2015 was awarded to Giusi Nicolini, mayor of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, who was praised for her response to the Mediterranean refugee crisis.