On our recent trip to Sicily, (November 2019) we were lucky enough to spend 4 days around the Mt Etna wine region, and in my opinion, it is one of the most amazing wine regions in Italy I have ever visited. The micro-climates, volcanic soils and harsh terrain make for some really interesting wines.The wineries range from ancient and using traditional methods, thru to some serious monetary investments, with the latest technology in modern architecturally stunning wineries. Growing grapes in the rugged terrain and climate of the volcanic region is tough, but the locals roll with the punches! One thing is common in all, their hospitality and pride. Mt Etna’s reputation as a quality wine region is growing internationally, and joining a wine and food tour to explore this incredible region of Sicily should be on every wine lovers bucket list. The history is fascinating, the wines are stunning, and the people are salt of the earth.
In 1988 Giuseppe Benanti a Catania businessman set out to utilise family owned vineyards around Trescastagni on the Eastern and Southeastern side of the mountain with the aim of improving overall quality and illustrating Etna’s promise and Mt Etna’s wine reputation.
Benanti partnered with consulting enologist Salvo Foti who went on to become the Godfather of winemaking on the mountain & today produces his own I Vigneri wines but he has also worked with many small family vineyards transitioning from making wines mainly for private consumption as well as with larger operations establishing outposts on Etna. Other local families were doing similar work in the 1990s though generally with less overall success or recognition for the efforts had the time I’m among them were the historic Barone Di villagrande Estates Nicolosi family and brothers Guglio and Enzo Cambria of Cottanera.