When Italian wine exporter Marco de Grazia was offered a small vineyard in Sicily, he says he immediately thought of his then 2-year-old daughter Elena.
“The estate was established simply as an act of love towards my daughter, Eli,” de Grazia explains.
“I was offered first one, then another tiny vineyard – both in exceptional Cru: Feudo di Mezzo and Moganazzi-Voltasciara. I bought them and since the parcels were so small and fine, I was somehow reminded of Elena. Thus, Le Vigne di Eli was born.”
Every bottle of wine in the range features one of Elena’s drawings on the label. And while the earliest bottle labels featured little more than a scribble, Elena’s recent designs include brightly coloured elephants, butterflies and fish, with one label even featuring a crab made out of play dough!
To complete the childish theme, de Grazia donates “a substantial proportion” of the proceeds of his wine business to Florence’s Meyer Pediatric Hospital, where he says he and his friends spent “many, many days getting stitches and casts or overcoming the many illnesses to which children are subject.”
“To use Elena’s drawings as labels came naturally because I love her art work. And equally naturally came the impulse to have this “child’s estate” be a help to children in need,” said di Grazia. “And with this, the childen’s project came full circle.”
Le Vigne di Eli range of fine wines can be purchased from the Rare and Fine Wine Company, with prices starting from £11/bottle.