Salice Salentino, a small village in Salento rich in vineyards and olive trees, is the landscape giving life to Leone de Castris’ wine tradition.
It is exactly here, on the very spot where today’s cellar stands, that in 1665 Duke Oronzo of the family of Earls of Lemos, gave birth to the company. He got enchanted by this landscape and decided to sell all his properties in Spain in order to draw the best from the Salentine rich terroir.
He began to plant new vines, olive trees and wheat along 5 thousand hectares‘ properties, not only in Salice, but also in Guagnano, Veglie, Villa Baldassarri, Novoli and San Pancrazio.
From the beginning of the 19th century the Winery used to export bulk wine to the United States, Germany and France until, with Piero and Lisetta Leone de Castris, the bottling had its start in 1925. An extremely important year, 1943, marks the birth of Five Roses and the improvement of the bottling line that has seen our rosé being the first ever bottled in Italy and sold first of all in USA.
The production of Five Roses, in fact, began during the end of the Second World War, thanks to the initiative and boldness of Don Piero. He had his wine tasted by the American General Charles Poletti, Supply Officer of the Allied Forces. It was a success and from then on Five Roses has been our most important wine, traditionally speaking, and the first one making our company know, together with Salento, all over the world. The name “Five Roses” derives from a “contrada” belonging to the family, so called because for several generations each de Castris had 5 children.
In the ‘60s, the direction of the Company was handled by Cavaliere del Lavoro, Salvatore Leone de Castris and thanks to him the company had an important development, both locally and internationally speaking.
His know-how, of continuous improvement, is now carried on by his son Piernicola Leone de Castris, managing director since late ‘90s.
New vines have been planted over the years: Chardonnay and Sauvignon, going together with the traditional ones: Negroamaro, Malvasia nera, Verdeca, Moscato, Aleatico, Primitivo.
The Winery’s production is very rich: red, white and rosé DOC wines (Salice Salentino, Locorotondo, Copertino, Primitivo di Manduria), interesting IGT Salento and Puglia wines, sparkling rosé and white wines.
The entire selection is quite often awarded with prestigious recognitions and our products are present not only in European markets, but also in USA, Canada, Brasile, Autralia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, etc.
The Winery is enriched by a huge Museum where the guests can travel through the three centuries of company’s history. There is also an elegant hotel & restaurant, “Villa Donna Lisa”, provided with a nice swimming pool and garden. The newest facility is a cosy and well designed wine bar situated on front of the Winery, named ‘ Five Roses Club 1943’ and dedicated to the legendary first rosé wine to be bottled in Italy
We have always been pioneers and this has given us an historically documented key role in the spread of Salento knowledge all over the world.
Our average production is 2,5 millions of bottles per year.
Leone de Castris has been working for centuries in Puglia and only Apulian products. This could be a restriction for someone, but for us is a peculiarity. Our mission is making the most of the products given by the land in which we were born and grown.
We could say that we represent 350 years of history looking towards future.