The most exciting wine region in Italy. The largest, most interesting and beautiful in the Mediterranean Sea. Colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks (They did not bring the vine it was here), Carthaginians, Normans and finally by Garibaldi bringing it into unified Italy in 1860. No country this size has had more influences to bear on it than Sicily. These influences are so pronounced today in the food, the people and the fascinating mix of incredible sights all bound within this 1000 miles of beautiful coastline.
Sicily has more vineyards than any of the other Italian regions and is constantly competing with Puglia (Apulia) for first place as the largest wine producer. Sicilians however consume less wine per capita than any region in Italy. Sicily historically used the goblet-trained (bush-shaped) vines, this type of plantings are low yield, high vineyard maintenance, and are particularly delicate they are also the most interesting for for fine wine production. Unfortunately for Sicily in the 60’s and 70’s many of these were ripped up by government subsidy programs and now most plantings are from the tendon and guyot training methods, what remains are now in great demand and no more so in the Etna region.
It seems impossible to think that at the turn of the century there were 50,000 Hectares 123,000 Acres planted just on Etna, today its 500 Hectares and honestly it feels like that number is growing daily. As at February 2019 177 wineries. Taormina enjoys the most incredible backdrop which is Mount Etna; ever present and brooding. The Ancients tell us Baco/Dionisio first danced on her slopes and created the first vine. Many important wineries will have vineyards dotted all over the Sicily but actually only vinify in one central winery, some of the lucky ones (big names) have multiple wineries.
Mount Etna is Europe's tallest active volcano at 10,930 feet (3330 metres). Wines from Etna are mineral-rich, but like nothing you have ever tasted. Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio are the red wine varieties of Mount Etna. Sicilian autochthonous (indigenous) grape varieties tend to be for white Catarratto, Carricante, Grillo and the Inzolia. Marsala is made from the Muscat of Alexandria and the wines from Island of Pantelleria come from the Zibibbo, the Sicilian name for the Moscato, They are they have reinvented themselves and the results are amazing, Grillo and Catarratto can make expectional wines. Nero d'Avola, a hugely important red variety (not easy to like), is planted extensively and when blended with Frappato you have Sicily's only DOCG wine … the Cerasuolo di Vittoria. 23 different DOC's are enough to keep us very interested. International varieties are planted none more so than Syrah, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Visits to the wineries in Sicily are always exciting, interesting, personal and as Enotourism is still in its infancy, this gives us still a very much an advantage, but come quick. It is important to remember we prefer to choice smaller winemaker projects as opposed to the large producers.
The father of New Italian Wine making, Giacomo Tachis (Sassicaia, Soliaia, to name just a few), has frequently said there is nowhere better for complex aromas to be achieved in whites and red than in Sicily, although, he did purchase in Sardinia in the end). Visits to the wineries in Sicily are always exciting, interesting, personal and as enotourism is still in its infancy in most parts this gives us still a very much an advantage and thats why you should choose us, the wineries trust us.
Any wine and culinary themed vacation to Sicily needs time. Don't try to seeing or doing too much. In Sicily less is more. Nine nights is the ideal time frame for a wine tour in Sicily, but we understand that you sometimes do not have that amount of time. If that is the case then we can bring the wines of the other Sicilian wine regions to you and we can concentrate on the whole Island We love Sicily… End of story. Below are the wineries or wines or people we like. Its not meant to be a definitive guide, After 16 years of making enotourism we hope we have an eye on what works.
Table of contents
- Wineries of Messina, Sicily
- Wineries of Etna, Sicily
- Wineries of South East Sicily (Noto/Avola/Vittoria)
- Wineries of Central Sicily
- Wineries of West Sicily
Wineries of Messina, Sicily
10 hectares of outstanding terraced vineyards. 1 red blend and 1 rose, fantastic wine. Biological / Natural winemaking and a great visit.
Giampiero Geraciò’s Palari make 2 incredible wines. Rosso D Soprano and Palari Faro. No visits and unlikely to change any time soon.
Small beautifully formed winery, making some really good wines, here and a superb Grecanico (white) from Etna.
An Accountant and a Footballer founded Le Casamtte in 2008, a newbie on the block with 10 Hectares working organically, a bright future.
White wines using Malvasia and a superb passito on the Aeolian Island Salina. Ferries from Naples and Milazzo and transfers in By land transfer from the airports of Sicily in the summer months.
If you are coming to Salina then would would also encourage a visit to Barone Villa Grandes’ Salina vineyard where they making a rich Passito Malvasia dele Lipari using the ancient method of using dryer grapes in the fermentation.
Faro received its official DOC status for its wines in 1976, Faro di Messina was the name given to the channel which separates Sicily from Calabria, on the southern Italian mainland. Today it is known as the Stretto di Messina, or the Strait of Messina. Faro wines are exclusively red with excellent Roses too. Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio with up to 10% of Nocera are the official grapes with some using a little Nero D’Avola.
Malvasia delle Lipari Wine
Malvasia delle Lipari is the DOC for Malvasia-based wines produced on the Aeolian Islands. Lipari after which the DOC is named is the largest of the eight Aeolian Islands and the most productive. Malvasia delle Lipari wines vary in their degrees of residual sugar (sweetness). The lighter, drier wines are regaining their place as food accompaniments or as an aperitif, which works very well. The Dolce naturale wines are as you would imagine much sweeter. Even sweeter than these the passito method is used to increase the levels sugars and thus intensify all the great things about the Malvasia, wines must have a final alcohol level of 18% ABV and at least 6% residual sugar.
Wineries of Etna, Sicily
A historical winery in South Etna. Correct wines, old style, lacking the power of the northern slopped wineries. interesting Passito coming from Salina, expensive
Pushing the Limits, natural wines, rightly on the wine map
Massimiliano Calabretta, this is off the charts, Wines are extraordinary and what feels like an unchanged style. Full immersion Visits only
Graziella Camarda has under two Hectares, the Winemaker her husband Salvatore is making the wines for Calabretta. Great Juice
Wild wines and they divide all. Moments of brilliance. Frank is a tour de Force and building an empire and very loyal (natural) wine following
Outstanding wine, getting famous, is famous, Gusieppe and Dante are just doing the do, These wines are very much to our palate, Brilliant
Loved all the wines we have tried thus far
One of the most revered winemakers on Etna
The fact they are now with Kermit Lynch says a-lot. Wine has ups and downs, shows you how alive it is. Real people with real wine, no visits unfortunately but respected
Another historical name, great visit and people and some wonderful sparkling wines. Extra Brut is the one
Outstanding wines and prices Chardonnay is impressive as everything else. Sells out, The Owner has done a lot for Etna. Extreme plantings
Lovely winemaker, big money, new winery. Wines can only get better. Their flagship red Barbagalli is exceptional. Excellent Visit
Marco de Grazia, is a wine god, this is his Etna project. Pre Phylloxera Don Pepino and Santo Spirito single vineyards
Brilliant wines, especially Il Musmeci Riserva White and Red. Excellent visit
Very interesting smokey wines. We are really starting to Work with Alice and Rosario and think this is perhaps one of the best PQR wines going
Great wines if you can find them. Naturalisimo
Peter and Marco make a super Fiano and Cab Franc
That was just a first selection
There are 144 wineries on Etna, Growing daily we are told. we do not know them all, Yet.
Wineries of South East Sicily (Noto/Avola/Vittoria)
Extraordinary wines, many made in buried Amphora. Love the visit.
Some outstanding wines from different regions Nero D’Avola specialist. Based in Chiaramonte Gulfi a place we love. Superb visit, lodging and food available.
Some great PQR wines in chalky Soil.
Just on the limit of the DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Love the whole thing.
Excellent wines from Vittoria and beyond. Superb visit.
Massimo is a not only a great guy but makes superb wines, brought to the UA by Kermit Lynch. Superb visit and stay.
Lorenzo also a Barone makes some excellent wines, well priced and a super visit. Superb visit.
The famed Tuscan noble family in Sicily making some good, but expensive wines.
Wineries of Central Sicily
Delightful resort and great wines to boot.
Kaid is just about a definitive Syrah you are going to find in Sicily. Lovely people wines and visit.
If you want to talk about Mafia, lets talk about Libera and the amazing projects the make from Mafia confiscated lands.
The freshest and cleanest wines we know of outstanding price-quality, all in Bio.
Interesting wines with Perricone and a lot of different Method Classics.
Central Sicily, this is really one of the most important and historic wineries in Sicily, makes up the DOC Contea di Sclafani. Top wines are exceptional, Entry level offer tremendous quality too. First plantings of Chardonnay and Cabernet in Sicily.
Not only a noble cause the wines are incredible, clean and well priced. Excellent project and people. Their work with the Catarratto variety is brilliant.
Wineries of West Sicily
Nino Barraco is not only a trailblazer these are extreme natural wines. Excellent, salty and totally terroir driven
A blend we love that no one knows of. Excellent, Winery is being sold.
Masala winery that decided to move with the times. Very good wines, visit too commercial.
Not only a great Marsala maker, but also hugely innovative sparkling and white wine maker. Incredible wines.
Making some brilliant wines at the higher end. Excellent visit or tasting at their Masseria Baglio Soria Trapani
Huge winery with different Vinification areas over Sicily, Menfi is their origins and they do it best here. Excellent visits can be had, hosptiality at La Foresta
Vitedovest by Vincenzo Angileri (No website)
Vitedovest is a small outfit that Nino Barraco has helped Vincenzo no end, the wines are great and the future is very bright.