A winery, its territory and the sea: a big family. This is Santa Maria La Palma, a Sardinian Cooperative near Alghero with 300 partners. It has been the soul of this territory for over 70 years. In this land, where sea and vines dance a valzer, the internationally recognised Vermentino (and not only) is produced in each of its chromatic and sensorial variations. We have interviewed Mario Peretto, president of the Cooperative and grandson of one of the first nineteen pioneers of the Cooperative.
When and how was Santa Maria La Palma born?
Santa Maria La Palma is in an area near Alghero, which was reclaimed in the 1930s. In this area some farmworkers arrived; they were expert peasants from different parts of Italy who used to farm different crops. In Santa Maria La Palma vine and olive tree yielded the best results.
In the following years, nineteen farmers, including my grandfather, founded the Cooperative. In 1959 the first harvest in the structure of Santa Maria La Palma, where we stand still today, took place. From 19 original founders, now we are 330 farmers. We are among the leading wineries of Sardinia and during the fifty years of our history we have carried on with pride and desire to improve our mission.
How do your wines represent Sardinia?
We have always produced wines coming from native grapes. Our historical wine is Vermentino, the “vine of the sea”, which is affected by weather and sea winds. It has a strong salinity and the scents of our territory. Moreover, we want to give value to other native wine varieties, such as Cannonau, Cagnulari and La Monica. Aragosta, our Vermentino, was one of the first to be bottled and it is still the best-selling white DOC wine in Italy with over 2 million bottles, and also well acknowledged abroad.
In which countries of the world are your wines appreciated the most?
In Europe, Germany is absolutely the most important market for us. We are also developing an interesting business in the US where we have plans to expand and gradual results. In foreign markets, I think it is better having gradual and constant results, rather than big spikes that do not give stability.
Which future projects do you have?
In the last years we have realized the first sparkling Vermentino DOC and we want to take it not only on the national market, but also enhance it abroad.
We have been producing a portion of these bottles to sharpen it in the depths of the marine protected area of