Once just a boyhood ambition, Tony Fink, owner and producer of Donna Elvira wines is using his lifelong dream of making wine to benefit a community that he loves.
Back in the early 1980s, when Tony’s Italian mother and Austrian father made the permanent move to Italy, Tony decided to follow them, swapping the English beer he enjoyed in his youth, to Aglianico, one of the Campania region’s red wines – his new found love. Who would have known that, all these years later, Tony would be the proud producer of his very own Aglianico wine?
His success, of course, has not come without plenty of hard work. As a plasterer back in England, Tony built his own business in Cambridgeshire, the rewards of which have allowed him to do what he’s doing in Italy today.
“I was fortunate enough to be successful in my job, which is in the construction industry. Then I thought to myself; ‘why don’t I start doing what I really want to do and do the things that I dreamt about when I was a young boy and lived here.”
Having spent his savings and pension on building Donna Elvira from the ground up, Tony regards himself as ‘fortunate,’ but for Tony, it’s not about money; there’s a much more important, personal payout which his investment in the Campania Region provides. His love of the land and focus on sustainability is reflected in how the process of creating Donna Elvira wines, from grape to bottle, provides as much positive impact on the land and its people as possible.
“The aim was to make something good, something to be really proud of, something that would supersede you, so people would say ‘wow, that guy lived here when he was younger, he came back here and he made a really good glass of wine.’ it wasn’t just about money, it was about proving something…and it didn’t need to be connected to a financial formula.”
Since the Second World War, when the Campania Region was heavily bombarded during an allied landing, causing a huge amount of damage, the region has struggled financially. Tony is delighted to be able to help a part of the world so close to his heart, by providing jobs for local people and bringing some income into the area. This has not gone unnoticed by the locals who recognise Tony when he’s out and about, including one local policeman. Tony recalls an amusing story, which brought to light the difference he’s making to the area.
“One thing that makes me laugh is the other day, I was stopped by the local police and they asked for my documents. I gave them my documents and the local policeman said ‘oh, I know you! You’re that English guy who’s brought money here! You’re building this winery and you’ve given loads of young kids jobs.’ He saluted me… gave me my licence back and off I went. Now that made me laugh…to be known for trying to do something positive.”