The Rallo family has made wine in Marsala since 1851, and their ancient cellars tunnel beneath the city.
They were one of the first families to begin making high quality table wine when sales of traditional sweet Marsala started to decline, launching the Donnafugata label in 1983 and championing some the region's native grape varieties.
Today, they have two estates in Sicily: a modern winery and 260 hectares at Contessa Entellina in the hills east of Marsala; and 68 hectares on the island of Pantelleria. Donnafugata means fleeing woman a reference to Queen Maria Carolina who escaped the court of Naples in the early 19th century with her husband Ferdinand IV of Bourbon when Napoleon`s troops arrived.
The couple took refuge in Sicily at the Santa Margherita Belice palace, also the favourite residence of celebrated writer Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and depicted on the Mille e Una Notte label.