Allegrini 2018

The wines of Sicily and Italy salute one of its greats: Diego Planeta has left us

One of the patriarchs of the Sicilian wine Renaissance, courageous pioneer, entrepreneur, creator and head of wine companies, as Planeta and Settesoli
Diego Planeta as portrayed by Tullio Puglia

Sicilian and Italian wines say good-bye to one of its greats, Diego Planeta. He was one of the patriarchs of the Sicilian wine Renaissance, a pioneer and courageous entrepreneur in a Sicily very different from the one of great wine fame we know today.
“It is an immense loss, for the world of Italian wine, as well as for those who believe in the strength and courage of wine business. Diego was a friend and a true gentleman, and a genuine pioneer of the renewal process of Sicilian viticulture. Goodbye Diego, I will miss your suggestions, observations and criticisms so very much”, is the salutation and reminiscence of the WineNews director, Alessandro Regoli.
Confagricoltura, an agricultural organization in which he played a leading role, also paid their respects to one of the figures that most influenced Sicilian and Italian wine, especially in the 1990s. “In addition to having held prestigious positions in the wine sector”, said the president, Massimiliano Giansanti, “he spent his life spreading the culture of the territory and of the community, even in the most difficult moments. In 1972, he was elected President of the Settesoli Winery in Menfi, and his goal was to grow, together with his company, all the small wineries in the area. Diego Planeta pursued his goal throughout his entrepreneurial career, fighting personal and trade union battles with Confagricoltura. The battles have led to the development and diversification of family businesses, in which he has always wanted to involve children and grandchildren, who will continue, from today, to spread his message”.
Diego Planeta was born in Palermo on February 2, 1942, and began working at the early age of 18. In 1967, he set up S.I.S. in Vittoria, a joint-stock company that operates in the field of agricultural services, which is now present throughout the country. Later on, he established his “headquarters” in Menfi, of which, since 2012, he has been an Honorary Citizen. It was here that he managed the family farms, and the Cantine Settesoli Project (he was president from 1972 to 2011), today the largest European cooperative winery. From 1985 to 1992 he was president of the Regional Institute of Vine and Wine, where he was the advocate of the renewal and qualification of Sicilian wine, making use of prestigious counsel, starting from that of Giacomo Tachis. Since 1987, he has been a member of the Italian Academy of Vine and Wine. In 2003 he won the Florio Prize because of his contribution to the internationalization process of Sicilian wine. In 2004, he was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro (highest award for an entrepreneur) by the President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, and also received an Honorary Degree in Agricultural Science and Technology from the University of Palermo. In 2008, he was appointed president of Assovini Sicilia, and held the position until 2011.
In such an abundant and profitable cycle of activities, the company in Menfi occupies a privileged place, evidently for reasons that go beyond mere work. It was established in the early nineties and today has been entrusted to Diego Planeta’s daughter, Francesca, and his grandchildren Alessio and Santi, who the entire WineNews editorial staff embraces. Today, Planeta extends over 400 hectares counting five wineries in five special terroirs of the island: Menfi, Vittoria, Noto, Etna and Capo Milazzo.
Planeta is one of the most important wine companies in Sicily and Italy, and today a flagship of viticulture throughout Italy, and the seed that Diego planted will continue to flourish in the day-to-day work at the Estate, led by Francesca, Alessio and Santi Planeta.

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