On the first Friday in November, Happy Hour came early at 3pm with Donnachiara wines and Ilaria Petitto on Winestudio.

Winestudio is a program I have had the privilege to participate in for many years. It has been so instrumental in my wine journey. It has allowed me to to learn, taste and understand wines that I would have never reached for as well as meet winemakers and winery owners. This in turn has allowed me to share this knowledge with you.

This beautiful Friday afternoon I sat out on my deck sipping on two of Donnachiara wines while chatting with Ilaria Petitto and learning about her wine journey and wines.

Donnachiara is located in the province of Avellino in the Campania region of southern Italy. The winery was founded in 2005 by Ilaria’s mother Chiara producing wine from ancient vineyards. In 2008 Ilaria left her Italian Notary position (attorney) and joined her mother taking the winery from 10,000 bottle production to 200,000 bottle production today. (16,666 cases)

The road wasn’t always easy, working with your mother can be difficult. Two headstrong women, Ilaria ideas on the wine business, labels and policy were different than her mothers. In the end, love and respect win out. Today Ilaria is the face of the winery and you can just see the love and passion in her face and expressions. She also talks about the challenges she faces. It’s not all fun and wine. “Making wine is challenging because you are working with nature. Weather is changing a lot, we are getting hail and frost every year. Can’t control the weather.” It is something facing may wine regions.

The winery focus is producing DOCG wines, the highest classification in Italy, on the slopes of Montefalcione. They produce Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo and Taurasi. These wines are worth seeking out! What I really love about the two wines I got to sample (besides how good they were) was the word cloud on the label. That tells you so much about the wine! Best is these wines are under $20, both the reds and the whites. The two below are the white wines I sampled.

2019 Empatia – Fiano do Avellino DOCG – What a beautiful fresh wine with nice minerality full of tropical fruit and white citrus. Very soft and creamy on the palate with bright acidity.

2018 Aletheia Greco di Tufo DOCG – This wine is their best seller! The wine does age on its lees for a year. A little bit more full bodied with strong mineral notes and flavors of pear and pineapple fill your palate.

Donnachiara exports 60% of their wine production and you can find it at Total Wine.