Ex-Mafia vineyards to boost Italian economy

27th March, 2012 by Lucy Shaw

Unicredit bank is to help fund the establishment of new vineyards on 150 hectares near Palermo confiscated from ex-Mafia boss Michele Greco, who died in prison in 2008.

Former Mafia boss Michele Greco

The funding is part of a €1.2 billion EU project to integrate ex-Mafia land, including vineyards in Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Campagna, back into the legal economy.

Nicknamed “The Pope,” Greco (left), the one time head of the Cosa Nostra, was serving a life sentence for ordering numerous murders, including the 1982 assassination of Italy’s top anti-Mafia fighter, Carlo Alberto Dalla Chiesa, and his wife.

The investment project aims to boost the flagging Italian economy, creating jobs which will help to establish a culture that rejects, rather than protects, organised crime.

It also puts Mafia land confiscated by authorities back into productive use.

“What was an emblem of the economic force of the Mafia is now becoming a symbol of Sicily’s rebirth,” Sicilian economic commissioner Gaetano Armao said at the Vinitaly trade fair on Monday.

So far €61m has been invested in relaunching ex-organised crime businesses. The project involves 125 hectares of vineyards and 800 hectares of olive and citrus trees.

“The companies show that by defeating the Mafia you can begin to legally produce wines, oil and high-quality agricultural goods in the interest of the workers and the producers,” Sicilian governor Raffaele Lombardo told AP.

Centopassi Grillo

Most of the land converted into productive use by the project has long been left fallow by former masters after they are jailed.

“By the time the vineyards can be turned over to new owners, most of the vines have died from neglect and need replanting,” said Francesco Galante, a spokesman for the Libera network, which oversees the reintegration of Mafia lands.

At the beginning of the project there were acts of intimidation, including arson fires.

“It was discouraging, but then the project did well and created opportunities to work. At that point, the mood changed and the acts of intimidation stopped,” said Galante.

Libera’s wine business, including Centopassi – on show at Vinitaly – produced half a million bottles in 2011, generating €900,000.

Each of the Centopassi wines is dedicated to someone assassinated by the Mafia. The white wine – Grillo – is a homage to Nicolo Azoti, a union leader killed in 1946.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Administrative Assistant

Swig Wines Ltd
Chiswick, London, UK

HR Manager

Amathus Drinks PLC
London, UK

Beer Development Specialist

Matthew Clark
London, UK

Senior Sales Manager

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, GB

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Group
London, UK

Inventory Analyst

Bibendum PLB
London, UK

Events Executive - Atom Supplies

ATOM Supplies Limited
London, UK

Off-Trade Sales Account Executive

Domaine Direct
Nationwide, working from a combination of home & London office.

Sales Executive/Brand Ambassador

Glenfarclas
Ballindalloch, Speyside, UK

Client Manager

Noble Rot
Wandsworth, London, GB

Spirits Investment Director

Stilnovisti
London, UK

Junior Brand Manager

Enotria Winecellars
Park Royal, London, UK

Content & Digital Assistant

ABVGlobal
London, UK

Sales Manager

Cellar Trends
London, UK

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 7th July 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th July 2017

The Global Syrah Masters 2017

Deadline : 18th July 2017

Click to view more

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Fortified Masters 2016

Now in its third year, The Fortified Masters will reward the best fortified wines on offer.

Click to view more