One of the main islands of Italy, situated at the tip of the boot, Sicily is truly a paradise on earth. With its rolling mountains and kilometers of Mediterranean coastline, this southern island charms travelers with its breathtaking, authentic landscapes. Sicily is today one of the Italian wine regions with the largest areas under vine. With only one appellation at the highest hierarchical level (appellation of origin controlled and guaranteed) the DOCG Cesarasuolo di Vittoria, and 9 DOC appellations, Sicily is nevertheless home to more than 24 appellations.
With a wine heritage over 2,000 years old, Sicily has inherited the know-how of great civilizations through a series of invasions. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Moors and even Normans have passed through this island during the turbulent history of Sicily. These civilizations brought to Sicily a deep knowledge about the vine as far back as the Xth century. The Phoenicians, in fact, played a major role in the diffusion of winemaking culture. These influences already aided the development of Sicily as a region renowned for its wine. An indigenous grape variety is even cited in Homer's Odyssey. But despite this flourishing viticultural activity in ancient times, the region experienced a kind of lull in winemaking, which lasted well into the 18th century. In the 20th century, Sicilian winemaking gained new momentum, though the island was still best known for exporting grapes destined for low-quality blends.
Today, cooperatives no longer exist. Instead, private estates give pride of place to high-quality, elegant wines from indigenous grape varieties. Sicily has become a widely-recognized and dynamic wine region, where a new generation of winemakers aim to highlight the diversity of the island’s native grape varieties. Their techniques and know-how is reflected in the several Sicilian appellations, including DOC Sicilia and IGT Terre Siciliane.
The “Black Pearl of the Mediterranean” enjoys a Mediterranean climate with tropical tendencies brought on by the Sirocco winds. These hot winds, coming from the Sahara, can reach 40°C and cause some dryness in the south of the island. Sicily is a volcanic land. Etna, still active, is a unique landscape, one offering a truly unique terroir for the most courageous winegrowers to tackle. The red wines of this region are quite distinguished. The DOC Etna appellation promotes these wines, which offer plenty of personality in the glass.
The climate and geology of Sicily are varied, allowing the twenty or so indigenous grape varieties to flourish and produce truly distinctive wines. Here we find the Nero d’Avola, the Frappato, the Grillo - mainly used for Marsala - and the Perricone.
From still wines to sparkling wines, from red to white and sweet wines, Sicily offers endless options for fans of Italian wines.