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Stunning Sicily – discovering the wine makers on the slopes of Mount Etna

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

In the realm of wine, Sicily stands as a beacon of endless discovery and surprise. One of the largest islands in the Med, sunny Sicily is steeped in rich winemaking history and now stands at the forefront of Italy's wine revolution. On the slopes of Mount Etna, Europe's most active volcano with its frequent eruptions, rivers of molten rock, and occasional dramatic displays of smoke and fireworks, can be found some of the island's most exciting vineyards.

The vineyards of Etna are unlike any other, with old vines thriving in lava soils with the peak of the volcano forming an unforgettable natural backdrop. These vineyards go up to over 3000 feet, with some vines growing in ancient lava flows that date back hundreds of years. These unique conditions give rise to wines of exceptional character with a smoky, mineral undertone, complemented by a bright fruit purity.

Jancis Robinson has dubbed this region "the strangest wine country in the world." That may well be true – but the wines of Mount Etna are held in incredibly high regard by wine experts. What makes Etna wines so special is theterroir and soil. Vines are cultivated on terraces and at high elevations which makes it difficult to use mechanical equipment and most of the work is done by hand. Etna soils are rich with volcanic nutrients that give special qualities and minerals to wines. White wines thrive on the fertile mountain slopes which, in contrast to the hot interior of the island, have large temperature differences between day and night.

I really recommend the wines from Etna – I visited the region recently and absolutely fell in love with the area – it’s so special.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.


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