The history of Sicilian wine is long and fascinating, bringing together collaborations between diverse groups of people who have shared a passion for the grape.
Some ancient archeological findings testify that Sicily was one of the first Italian regions to practice the art of enology.
In the past we produced a large amount of wine but it was mainly used to add body to more sophisticated wines produced elsewhere. Until the 1950s our vineyards exported Sicilian wine to France and Northern Italy to increase the alcoholic content and balance the color of their most renowned wines.
More recently, we have witnessed a growing interest from enthusiasts who are strongly committed to innovating, transforming and improving the quality of our vineyards. These people have produced new vines, experimented with new techniques and modernized the plants. The sun, the land, the hills and the sea breeze have done the rest, providing an extraordinary variety of Sicilian wines which have taken a leading role on the international stage.
The refined hospitality offered by many wineries has spread throughout the island. Many wineries are open to the public for tastings, providing the opportunity to appreciate the production of Sicilian wines DOC and DOCG, whether red, white, rose , liqueur or sparkling, derived from the cultivation of native grape varieties: first of all the Zibibbo, the oldest, imported from the Phoenicians in Pantelleria, Black Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Catarratto, Cricket, Frappato, Perricone and Inzolia.
Wine-growing is concentrated for 80% in the provinces of Trapani , Agrigento and Palermo. The Province of Trapani represents over 50% of the total regional amount. The only Sicilian DOCG (Registered and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wine is Cerasuolo di Vittoria produced in the area of Ragusa with Nero d’Avola and Frappato vine varieties. Nero d’Avola, a Sicilian symbol: from the Southeast of the Island , between Ragusa and Syracuse, it has spread everywhere, often with fluctuating results, fighting against the phenomenon of the international vine varieties and becoming a Sicilian oenological symbol.
The provinces of Trapani and Palermo produce the three DOC (Appelation of Controlled Origin) wines: Alcamo, Marsala and Contessa Entellina. Marsala, the liqueur wine and the most famous and first DOC wine in Italian wine history, is produced throughout the province of Trapani, with the exception of the municipalities of Pantelleria, Favignana and Alcamo, which already have their own native wines. We should also mention the Favinia le Sciabiche, an ancient wine, characteristic of the island of Favignana, which has returned to the tables after more than a century. Not least, from 2011, the designation of origin Sicilia DOC, is one of most important Sicily’s DOC.
In the areas of Menfi, Agrigento and Licata several wineries produce interesting wines. They are mostly located in the territory between the D.O.C. Santa Margherita di Belice, Sambuca di Sicilia and Menfi. These wineries, in addition to the native varieties, use other international vine varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.
In the territory that goes from Butera, Riesi to Mazzarino, in Caltanissetta area, we find DOC Riesi, which produces white, red, rosé wines, but also sparkling wines and late harvest.
The wines produced by the Etna vines are also very sought after: the climatic conditions created by the volcano and the winds coming from the Ionian Sea give character and vitality. One of the most popular trails of the island is just inside the province of Catania and goes from Fiumefreddo to Randazzo, passing from Piedimonte Etneo, where the Museo della Vite is located, and Castiglione di Sicilia.
The wines of Etna D.O.P hills are high quality wines that constitute the uniqueness of a territory whose soil is originated by the lava boiling into its bowels. The protagonists of this dream wineries tour will be the red, rosé and sparkling wines produced by Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, and the white wines created with Carricante and Catarratto, Inzolia, Grecanico.
It is also worth mentioning the area of Messina with its three DOC wines: Faro, Mamertino and the famous Malvasia delle Lipari. Exactely Lipari, the largest island of the Aeolian archipelago, gave the name to this golden-yellow wine with a pleasantly aromatic scent.
Between Passiti, Moscati and Malvasie, Nerello mascalese, Zibibbo, Inzolia, and more, Sicily can make the most demanding palates fall in love.
For enthusiasts, then, there are great things to discover! We can go looking for fine wines to taste along with the traditional flavors of Sicilian gastronomy, choosing routes along the twelve Wine Roads crossing Sicily, from the sea to the hill and around the volcano. Here in detail:
The Wine Road of the province of Messina, the Etna Wine Road, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria Wine Road, Wine Road of Castles Nisseni, the Wine Road of the Sicane lands, the Wine Road Alcamo DOC, the Wine Road Erice Doc, Wine Road on the Path of the Florio Targa, Wine Road Val di Mazara, Wine Road of the Val di Noto, Marsala Wine Road West Lands, Monreale Wine Road Doc.