The winery Casa D’Ambra is located in Ischia, the largest island in the Gulf of Naples, not far from Capri and just as charming. Molded by the millenary work of generations, its countryside has produced incredible wines, also thanks to its fertile volcanic soil rich in minerals. Winemaking was destined to become the main cultivation of the island, on its rare valleys and hills. In the centuries, its wine production has become more stable and rooted, so much so that in 1966 it obtained the DOC Ischia, the second to be awarded in Italy. It must be added that winemaking on the island dates back to 700 b.C, and the Romans called the island Enaria, that is, land of the wines.
When you speak of wines in Ischia you will end up speaking of Casa D’Ambra, a historical winery founded in 1888 by Francesco D’Ambra, aka “Don Ciccio”. Currently, the company is managed by the owner and enologist Andrea D’Ambra, who has been in charge of the family tradition since 2000. His daughters are the fourth generation: Marina is the financial manager, and Sara is the enologist. Wine is not the only produce, the D’Ambra family boast also a small but valuable production of olive oil.
Nowadays, when we think about Ischia we imagine the fabulous 1950’s with the Spa holidays, the movies, the VIPs landing on the island: the famous film director Luchino Visconti was a good friend of Casa D’Ambra, especially of Aunt Iolanda. It was thanks to this friendship and to Visconti’s network (Italian and foreign actors and screenwriters) that the Casa D’Ambra wines became renowned.
The value of this wine, so generous in its character and excellence, was not a mere trend that would have faded with time. The greatness of this company lies in its management, that has always respected the environment of the vineyards, often opening on some of the most beautiful landscapes in the island. The company safeguards the local varieties: Biancolella, Forastera, and Uvarilla (white varieties); and Piedirosso and Guarnaccia (red varieties). Besides their four hectares in Frassitelli, one hectare in Montecorvo, the company buys grapes from the 150 winemakers in the island, 120 of which are part of a Cooperative. On top of that, in 1995 the company has created a study to rediscover and safeguard local varieties.
Production costs are really high and the family’s determination makes a difference in the management of the vineyards. The manual harvest and the small boxes used to transport the grapes guarantee their integrity. The cellar is located in a natural amphitheater at the foot of Monte Epomeo and it developes on 3,500 square meters where the entire production takes place.
The range includes the white wines: Frassitelli, the multiple prize-winning Biancolella, with its pleasantly harmonious dryness; Ischia Bianco, Falanghina, and their Passito Gocce D’Ambra; And the great reds such as Mario D’Ambra, Per’E’ Palummo and Aglianico. Last, but not least, Vigna Mille Anni, a red Ischia DOC with great personality and an interesting story: this wine is produced on an abandoned estates that Casa d’Ambra has recuperated and brought back to its ancient splendor. These soils host the varieties that originate wines such as Per’E’ Palummo, Aglianico, and after many years of ageing, Vigna Mille Anni.
Moreover, in 2019, this family’s experise and love for their vines has generated a line of cosmetics based on red grapes.