As a famous Italian proverb says “a San Martino, ogni mosto diventa vino” (that is: at St Martin’s, all the must become wine), therefore, there is no better opportunity to learn more about the Sicilian wine and enjoy a glass of good new wine.
Wine is one of the typical Sicilian products, so much to be affirmed, admired and exported all over the world. There are many wineries that have placed themselves at the top of the national wine market, among which: Florio, Planeta, Romano, Firriato, Cusumano, Tenuta Valle delle Ferle, Fazio Wines and Donnafugata. Moreover, on the occasion of this feast, many are those who open their doors to give everyone the opportunity to taste their wine and discover its production process.
The importance of Sicilian wine is mainly due to 3 reasons:
AUTOCHTHONOUS GRAPES AND PRODUCTION AREAS
The wine-growing territory of Sicily includes, in addition to the island itself, also the Aeolian Islands and Pantelleria; its planted area is among the most important in Italy, about 107.000 hectares (so about twice as much as a region like Emilia-Romagna or Tuscany).
Many are the native grapes of the islands, both white and red.
The most famous red native variety is Nero d’Avola, whose wines are characterized by intense aromas. Among the white grapes, the best known is the Zibibbo with which are produced the sweet wines of Pantelleria, now considered among the best in Italy.
The most common wine cultivation methods in Sicily are the traditional Sapling method and the Guyot and Spurred cord shapes.
As regards the production areas, the largest one is located in the western part of Sicily, in the provinces of Trapani and Palermo, where are produced the Marsala, the Alcamo and the numerous versions of the Contessa Entellina Doc.
The south-eastern part, between Ragusa and Syracuse, is the area where the only Docg of Sicily, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria is produced, together with the Eloro, the Moscato di Noto and the Moscato di Siracusa Doc. The province of Catania, at the base of the volcano, is famous for the productions of the Etna Doc, while Messina is famous for the Faro. Regarding the smaller islands, we find the Malvasia delle Lipari Doc and the Moscato and the Passito di Pantelleria Doc.
The vine and the wine production in Sicily have a long history consisting of influences and contributions of the various civilizations that have occupied the island.
The vine is thought to have grown spontaneously long before the arrival of the Greeks, although the proper viticulture was actually introduced by them.
The Phoenicians, for their part, daring navigators and merchants, made Sicilian wines one of the most important products for the commercial exchanges of that time.
At the time of the Roman Empire, the wines of Sicily were already among the most famous in the ancient world, but later, the barbarian invasions caused the decline of vine cultivation.
The cultivation was resumed during the Arab domination, but the luck of the Sicilian wines arrived accidentally in 1773, when an English trader, John Woodhouse, through his intuition as well as his skill as a merchant, contributed to the birth of one of the most famous and important wines of Italy, the Marsala, destined to compete as “travel wine” in the market.
Weather conditions are characterized by two types of climate: in the hilly areas and along the coast there is a Mediterranean climate, while the mountains and inland areas are affected by a continental climate, cold and rigid, especially in the mountain hills of Etna and of the Madonie. However, the diversity of climate benefits the ripening process of the grapes, from whose vinification it is possible to obtain wines of different qualities: from fresh and fragrant white wines to more structured and elegant red wines.
In regards to the soil, the eruptions of the volcano Etna determine the formation of lava soils whose properties are in perfect balance with the plant prerogatives of the Carricante and Nerelli Mascalese vines and Cappuccio. In the westward area, different characteristics of territory determine the formation of calcareous soils, suitable for the cultivation of Nero d’Avola grape, and clay soils, which tend to give the wines a greater intensity of color, and, finally, tufa soils of volcanic origin give a high sugar content and a refined fragrance to the wines Malvasia delle Lipari, to the Moscato of Noto and Syracuse and to the Passiti of Pantelleria.
If while reading this article you feel like drinking good wine, do not hesitate to contact us, we will definitely have a suitable proposal for you, like our Wine Tasting Tour or our Etna, Wine and Alcantara Tour.