The story of Cantine Pellegrino began in 1880, when Paolo Pellegrino, a passionate wine grower, founded the winery destined to become one of the most important in Sicily. By this time, there were a few wineries in Marsala but only one opened by another Sicilian – Florio Winery a few miles down the road from Pellegrino. Paolo had a vision for Marsala wine that would push him and generations of his family to shape Sicilian wine.
An expanded winery was built in 1890 and is still in use today. Export sales took off in the 1920s. In 1933, Paolo’s daughter-in-law Josephine Despagne took over the running of the winery from Paolo and together with Carlo (Paolo’s son) they managed the winery on to new levels of success. In 1960, they expanded their export markets to include the United States and Australia. In 1980, the next generation expand the business into red and white wine making with the purchase of the Gazzerotta estate, then further in 1992 with the purchase of vineyards on the famous volcanic island of Pantelleria 100km south-west of the town of Marsala. The Pellegrino family has become one of the most significant families in Sicilian wine.
They are part of a small but passionate resistance, working hard to secure the future of this historically important trade for their region and the island.
As other Marsala wineries, including the Woodhouse and Ingham wineries, were bought by local winemakers the Pellegrino winery resisted and remains in family hands today. The family still has a vision for Marsala wine, and is actively working to restore the reputation of this famous fortified wine to its former glory. They are part of a small but passionate resistance, working hard to secure the future of this historically important trade for their region and the island. They are embarking on clever marketing projects to rebrand Marsala in the eyes of young consumers, all while producing high quality Marsala wine in the traditional style. They’ve created five new bottlings of traditional marsala, each one called after the illustrious names of the past that marked the history of the famous Sicilian wine: from John Woodhouse to Benjamin Ingham, from Joseph Whitaker to Horatio Nelson up to Ana Maria Ribeiro Da Silva, better known as Anita, wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The revolution of the Pellegrino Marsala tells its story in a new and dynamic way, with a plot that fuses together the entrepreneurial and commercial skills of the English and the farming knowledge of the people of Marsala. And at the same time, there is a vision of the future that will never neglect the uniqueness of its origins: that unique and distinctive trait that makes Marsala an inimitable wine with a strong personality. Let the revolution begin!