Colomba Bianca Makes Sustainable Wine Influenced by Sicily’s Hills, Sea, and Soil

Last Update: April 25, 2024

When you’re choosing a bottle of wine, you might take note of the grape varietals, the color, perhaps even the label. But do you stop to think about how the grapes are grown? 

Colomba Bianca combines the tenets of organic farming with the long-standing history of Italian winemaking. The brand is based in Sicily, a storied wine region known mostly for its Moscato and Nero d’Avola wines; while many of Sicily’s winemaking traditions date back thousands of years, the region is seeing a renaissance in the form of organic farming and grape production. 

Founded in 1970, Colomba Bianca now owns more than four thousand acres of organic grapes across Sicily. They’ve spent decades fostering relationships with local growers and developing sustainable winemaking practices, including using renewable energy and supporting biodiversity. Today, Colomba Bianca now owns six wineries, including the Terre di Vita brand we proudly carry at Thrive Market. 

Colomba Bianca distinguishes itself from other winemakers through several key practices:

  • Organic agriculture: Colomba Bianca employs organic farming methods, avoiding the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. This commitment to organic agriculture helps preserve soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem balance.
  • Renewable energy: The winery invests in renewable energy sources such as solar panels to power its operations, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and minimizing its carbon footprint.
  • Waste management: The winery adopts comprehensive waste management practices, including recycling and composting, to reduce waste generation and promote a circular economy approach.
  • Certification and transparency: Colomba Bianca holds certifications from reputable organizations in the organic or sustainable agriculture sector, providing consumers with transparency and assurance regarding its sustainable practices.

To better understand what separates a natural or organic wine producer from conventional wine producers, we spoke to Cristina Genna, Marketing Director of Colomba Bianca.

What was the inspiration behind Colomba Bianca?

“The inspiration was the harmonious fusion of tradition, territory, sustainability, innovation, and cultural identity. Founded in Sicily, the heart of ancient winemaking traditions, we’ve embraced organic cultivation methods that respect and preserve the island’s unique terroir. It’s a bridge between the past and the present, tradition and innovation, offering an authentic and sustainable oenological experience.”

Can you share a bit about the area where you make your wines? 

“Colomba Bianca covers nearly 7,000 hectares of land on the western side of Sicily. This extensive landholding allows us to cultivate vineyards in diverse terroirs, including coastal areas, hillside vineyards, and higher elevations. By leveraging these varied landscapes, we can capture the unique nuances of Sicily’s terroir and bottle the region’s diverse expressions.

Our vineyards near the coast benefit from the sea, which helps to maintain stable temperatures and provides cooling breezes that preserve acidity and freshness in our wines. In contrast, vineyards situated in hillside and higher elevation areas experience greater diurnal temperature variations, allowing for slow ripening and optimal flavor development in the grapes.

This mosaic of terroirs enables us to produce a wide range of wines, each reflecting the distinct characteristics of its specific microclimate and soil composition. From crisp and aromatic whites grown in limestone-rich soils to bold and structured reds from internal area terroirs, our portfolio showcases the rich diversity of Sicilian viticulture.”

What do you hope people feel when they drink your wines?

“When people drink our wines, we hope they experience a sense of connection to the land and the culture of Sicily. We aim to evoke feelings of joy, relaxation, and appreciation for the beauty of life’s simple pleasures. Whether enjoyed with a hearty meal or savored on its own, we want our wines to inspire moments of shared laughter, profound conversations, and unforgettable memories. Ultimately, our goal is to create an experience that transcends the glass, leaving a lasting impression of warmth, authenticity, and delight.”

What does sustainability mean to you as a company?

“Sustainability is at the core of our company’s values and practices. For us, sustainability means more than just minimizing our environmental impact; it encompasses a holistic approach to conducting business that considers the well-being of the planet, our communities, and future generations.”

How do you maintain traceability from growing your grapes to bottling your wines?

“We’ve implemented comprehensive procedures and technologies throughout our production process to ensure that every bottle can be traced back to its origin in the vineyard. Starting with vineyard management, we meticulously document cultivation practices, treatments, and vineyard conditions for each block throughout the growing season. During harvest, grapes are sorted and tagged according to vineyard blocks and grape varieties, with detailed records maintained for harvest dates, yields, and grape quality assessments.

As the grapes journey through the winemaking process, from fermentation to aging and blending, we maintain meticulous traceability by tracking each batch of wine according to its vineyard source, grape variety, and production stage. This includes monitoring fermentation parameters, barrel aging conditions, and analytical parameters like pH and acidity.

Before bottling, each batch of wine receives a unique identifier that corresponds to its traceability records. This identifier ensures that accurate information is conveyed to consumers on the label, allowing them to trace the wine’s journey from vineyard to bottle.”

What are your goals for the future?

“Looking ahead, we’re driven by a vision of continual growth and excellence. Sustainability remains at the forefront of our agenda. We’re dedicated to expanding our footprint while upholding sustainable practices. This involves further investment in organic farming methods, renewable energy sources, and water conservation initiatives to minimize our ecological impact. 

Our commitment to portfolio enhancement drives us to explore new grape varieties, winemaking techniques, and terroirs. We aim to offer consumers an even wider selection of exceptional wines that authentically represent the diverse characteristics of Sicily.

We will continue to prioritize the well-being of the viticulturists who entrust us with their grapes. Their dedication and expertise are integral to our success, and we are committed to ensuring fair compensation, safe working conditions, and ongoing support for their livelihoods.

Consumer education and appreciation are also central to our mission. We’re passionate about sharing the story of Sicilian wine with enthusiasts worldwide, offering educational opportunities, tastings, and immersive experiences to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation for the unique flavors and heritage behind each bottle of Colomba Bianca wine.”

Learn More About Colomba Bianca’s Terre di Vita Wines 

Terre di Vita Nero d’Avola Sicilia 2022
Made with Nero d’Avola grapes that are indigenous to Sicily, this berry and spice-forward red pairs well with aperitifs or meat-based dishes. 

Terre di Vita Grillo Sicilia 2022
This delicate white wine has subtle notes of tropical fruit, so it complements pasta dishes, fresh seafood, or grilled vegetables. 

Terre di Vita Pinot Grigio 2022
A well-balanced white wine that will appeal to just about anyone, this Pinot Grigio is fruity, floral, and perfect with fish and poultry. 

Terre di Vita Chardonnay Sicilia 2022
With notes of citrus and papaya, this subtly acidic white wine is ideal for sipping on a warm afternoon. 

This article is related to:

Clean Wine, Natural Wine

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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