Above: Donatella Cinelli Colombini (right) in New York in 2013 at Benvenuto Brunello.
Today in Siena, Brunello di Montalcino producer Donatella Cinelli Colombini was knighted by the Italian Republic. The ceremony was held in the historic tapestry room of the Siena prefecture on the occasion of Italian Republic Day, an annual national holiday celebrating the founding of the Italian Republic in 1946.
Colombini is now a knight of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, “the highest ranking honor of the Republic… awarded for ‘merit acquired by the nation’ in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers” (Wikipedia).
She is the vice president of the Donne del Vino (Association of Italian Women in Wine), president of the Orcia bottlers consortium, and a member of the technical advisory committee of the Brunello di Montalcino bottlers consortium.
Known for her colorful character and her leadership during times of crisis within the Brunello consortium, she is one of Italy’s most beloved winemakers.
According to her winery’s blog, when she received her diploma today in Siena, she asked attendees “not to call her knight but knightess.”