The Olive tree of Mario

mario dambra

Marina is twenty-five years old and two beautiful blue eyes. Second daughter of Andrea D'Ambra who is 57 years old and his wife Diana, who is 50 years old. The other daughter is Sara who is 26 years old. Marina receives me in a beautiful day in late August that apparently seems September in the welcoming entrance hall for visitors of the establishment of D'Ambra Vini d’Ischia, the oldest winery of the 'island of Ischia, situated in the locality Calitto in Panza in the City of Forio.

The factory has a covered area of 5 thousand square meters with the most modern technologies. It was built 40 years ago and represents the old and the new of this winery founded in 1888, 125 years ago, by Francesco D'Ambra said "Don Ciccio" than with "vinacciere", the sailing boats suitable for handling the barrels of wine, brought the wine of Ischia to the Continent.
Marina and her sister Sara are the representatives of the fourth generation of the D'Ambra family. Today Marina is in charge of economic and financial management while Sara has a degree in oenology and is responsible for distribution in Italy and abroad.
At the entrance there is room for the exposure of the wines produced from the house with Olimpia Matarese working with D'Ambra for 35 years.This room is a library and a newspaper library with books, newspaper clippings, photographs, drawings, letters, testimonies, the long journey of life of the house wine which had its expansion in the second half of the '900 for about the three sons of Don Ciccio, Mario, Michele and Salvatore. The three brothers had an assigned a role: Michele, assigned to purchase of the grapes and the relationships with the farmers, Salvatore, graduates in agricultural science that deals with the packaging of wine and Mario, the head of the family but also the most enterprising officer to sales and public relations .
Mario (1916-1988) is the great protagonist of this family saga, made of light and shadow as every living history, which is told in great detail by Manuela Piancastelli a journalist wine lover to the point of leaving her job to editor of "Il Mattino", the most important newspaper of Naples, for the love of her man and her dream of building a vineyard in the province of Caserta.
The book of Manuela Piancastelli on Mario D'Ambra: “Vite dei protagonisti delle culture materiali” of 2002 is important to understanding the birth, evolution, the crisis, the recovery of this winery that this year celebrating 125 years. But it is also critical to understand the great importance played for the island of Ischia in wine production that until the middle of the last century was the main economic resource of local populations.
From a small firm consisting of Don Ciccio carrying the bulk wine of Ischia in Naples, in Lazio, in Marseille, Corsica, and even in Dalmatia, with Mario, Mihele and Salvatore switching to an industrial company with the wine in the bottle in 1956 obtained the DOC designation, the Ischia Bianco and Ischia Rosso and still the "Biancolella" and "Forastera" and has its headquarters in an old building right on the harbor of Ischia.
Then in the '70s further expansion with the construction of large plant Panza and the entrance into society of the Swiss multinational Winefood, built by Mario, eventually losing control of the company and the risk of closing. The epic struggle of Don Mario to regain control of the company, his victory of Davide against Goliath and finally the company rebuilt and relaunched entirely in the hands of Andrew, the son of Michele, the heir of Don Mario, who has no children.
Andrea raises the company and does not only with passion but also with competence. He is a great winemaker and the wine is not only a scholar of Ischia but of all the smaller Italian islands, what he calls the "heroic viticulture" in the wake of the teaching of the great winemaker Luigi Veronelli that of D'Ambra was a friend and supporter. Andrea D'Ambra wrote the “Storia del Vino d’Ischia” (Imagaenaria Edition - 2006) by the Greeks of the eighth century BC until his father Salvatore twentieth century was the great protagonist of the packaging of fine wine.
Today the D'Ambra Vini d'Ischia produces each year 500.000mila bottles of wine and also exports to Germany and France, Japan, United States of America and Australia. It offers work for 12 employees with the commercial director Giuseppe Mattera .
“In August, a group of Japanese traders visited our factory with wine cellar, guest hall, the museum of peasant and keeping Frasitelli 600 meters above sea level where we produce our best wine ‘Biancolella - Tenuta Frasitelli’, and were excited about our work and the history of the family”, Marina says to me and adds that the company's strategy is to consolidate the local and national market and constantly expand all abroad.
“Our wine is in New York at "Babbo" by Joe Bastanich and in the major capitals of Europe where we have representatives”, Marina says.
The growth of the D'Ambra Vini d’Ischia entirely in the hands of the family, not the abandonment of the fields, the valorization of agricultural economy is essential for the enhancement of various segments of tourism from the spa to the cultural, the taste for the company difficult, it was the life goals of Mario D’Ambra, the "patriarch" and one of the protagonists of the launch tour of Ischia.
He died on September 16, the fatal month for every major event of company, in 1988 at age 76 as suddenly as he had dreamed it would happen in the course of his retirement in the island of Santo Stefano near Ventotene, 18 miles from Ischia, just in front of the factory, where he had a farm house for rental with no electricity and no phone. Like his great friend Veronelli had loved the earth: "The earth, earth, earth, earth... infinitely earth, my job is to walk in and tell the quality, the earth is the soul.
Andrea and the other grandchildren Corrado and Riccardo, the latter have left the company, thought to remember planting an olive tree right in the entrance courtyard to the plant
The olive tree is a tree native of Asia Minor cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean basin. It is a symbol of perseverance and peace.
Don Mario would like to be remembered
in this way.

Wine House D'Ambra Vini

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029


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