Pietro Russo – Winemaker at Donnafugata: Italy’s Newest Master of Wine

Congratulations to Pietro Russo, who was nominated Master of Wine on February 23, 2024. The head winemaker of Donnafugata, Pietro Russo is one of the three “Italian Musketeers” who joined the program together and became the first professionals from the country to earn the most coveted title in the wine industry.

Pietro Russo‘s ascension to Master of Wine is not just a personal triumph but a beacon of Italian excellence in the global wine industry. His story and achievements are a source of inspiration and pride, not only for aspiring Italian winemakers but for the entire wine community.

Who is Pietro Russo MW, Donnafugata’s Head Winemaker?

A native of Marsala, Sicily, Pietro Russo has an extensive background in viticulture and oenology. His academic journey in these fields took him from Conegliano in Italy to Montpellier and Bordeaux, enriching his understanding of the wine industry and expertise in winemaking.

Having accumulated hands-on experience by following harvests in France, Spain, New Zealand, Piedmont, and Sicily, then joined Donnafugata, one of the most successful estates in Sicily, where he currently serves as the head winemaker. His tasks include managing wine production in multiple estates in different parts of the island, including Etna, Pantelleria, Vittoria, and Contessa Entellina near Palermo.

What Made Russo’s Journey to become a Master of Wine Noteworthy?

Pietro Russo joined the program with his long-time friends Gabriele Gorelli and Andrea Lonardi. Based on studying closely together, sharing expertise on different subjects and tasting thoroughly through the wines of the world, their unique approach to wine is different from that of anyone else who obtained the title, and has often been described as the “Italian way of becoming an MW”.

Who are the other Italian Masters of Wines?

Pietro Russo is the third Italian to earn the Master Wine title, following Gabriele Gorelli in 2021 and Andrea Lonardi in 2023. Their achievements mark a significant milestone for the Italian wine industry on the global stage.

Who Else Received the Master of Wine Title Alongside Russo?

Other four Master of Wines were appointed today: Dror Native, Robert Mathias , Christopher Martin and Emily Brighton, all from the UK.
Holding a dual citizenship, Emily Brighton has also become the first Latvian Master of Wine.