What do you get when you combine an Italian region famous for its striking coastlines and rolling hills, with an Italian-Brit who has a passion for creating beautiful wines?
Tony Fink, owner and doting producer of Donna Elivra wines, is the man who chose four vineyards, in the breath-taking Campania region, as the place to live-out his boyhood ambition of making wine. Tony’s mother, Donna Elvira, was born in the Campania region, about five miles as the crow flies from his winery and she met his Austrian father whilst they were both visiting the UK, in the 1950s. This love story has provided Tony with an eclectic mix of roots across Europe, which he’s enjoyed throughout his life.
“Here I’m regarded as an English guy making wine in Italy and in the UK I’m regarded as that Italian guy who works in construction. So, I’m a true European.”
“I spent a lot of my youth here (in the Campania region). My children were born here and now me and my family, we’re fortunate, we spend four or five months of the year here and the rest of the time in the UK, so we get the best of both worlds. It is a second home to us. We enjoy the food, we enjoy the beautiful places you can go and see here.”
Tony’s real love and respect for the land is synonymous with his dedication to producing fantastic wine. Only the native grapes of Irpinia, in Campania, are lovingly grown and harvested from Tony’s vineyards, to produce Donna Elvira wine. The finished product is a true representation on what wine from this beautiful part of Italy should taste like, a snapshot for those who are yet to experience the area for themselves.
“It’s an amazing part of Italy. It’s yet to be discovered, I believe. We have the Amalfi Coast, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe – the world – then you can drive 30 minutes and be 600 metres above sea level, where I am and you can enjoy some of the best wines that Italy has to offer.”
The story of the creation of Donna Elvira wines is familial. From Tony’s own heritage to the feels-like family that makes up the Donna Elvira team, it truly is a family affair. This team are as passionate about creating exceptional wine as Tony is and are headed up by Wine Manager Mirco Colella, who is in charge of ensuring that every wine that’s bottled meets the Donna Elvira standard – something that Tony is entirely grateful for. ‘I’m so fortunate to have him, without Mirco…I don’t think any of this would have been possible.’
It’s Mirco’s due diligence, care and own personal values that make him a treasured member of the Donna Elvira family. ‘‘He’s an animal lover, he doesn’t believe in pesticides, everything he does in these vines is done by hand, as little machinery as possible and I’m very happy. Yeah, it costs a little bit more but I think it shows in the flavour of the wines and the quality of the wines. It’s no good pumping them with chemicals…he works the other way around. During the year he’ll remove 50% of the grapes off the plant and throw them to the ground and I’ll say ‘why do you do that?’ and he’ll say ‘because the other 50% are going to grow better, more tastier and give us better wine.’ So, his philosophy marries perfectly with what I always wanted to do.”
The unique blend of Tony’s heritage, his passion for producing wine without compromise and the family that he’s built around Donna Elvira is truly what sets him apart from the rest. So, for now, Tony’s focus remains on what he does best: making wine that he “can be proud of and that people can enjoy with satisfaction.”
Donna Elvira wines are available to purchase via the online shop.