Territories & Wineries
Our history is the story of a journey through time and space, through Sicily from west to east, and through the five areas where today we produce our wines, our olive oils and the places of our family hospitality. A long journey which we chose in order to protect the uniqueness of the environment, the countryside and the culture with the same respect with which we explore the characteristics of the terroirs and the vineyards, enhancing the specific details of each area.
For five centuries and through seventeen generations, our family has been involved with the course of agricultural evolution in the complex land of Sicily, with an approach always inclined to openness and innovation. Where too often the agricultural world has been confined to ancient ideas of social tradition and production processes, instead we have inherited, from each generation, an instinct to change and to generate positive changes around us, both with people and in the culture.
During the 1900’s it was Grandfather Vito who showed us how, rather than in static management of the land, we must all move towards new solutions and new prospects. At Menfi first of all he transformed our small family winery into a large co-operative winery that in a short time, under Diego’s management, became a collective property and a model of local development. At the same time as being chairman of the regional institute for vines and wine, Diego contributed as chief mover in the wine making renaissance of Sicily, transforming it into a huge experimental laboratory with illustrious advisers such as Giacomo Tachis, Carlo Corino, Giampaolo Fabris and Attilio Scienza.
In the meantime we have grown. Round the old fortress of Ulmo, where for five centuries we have cultivated our oldest land, a spark was fostered to transfer this experience and all our new ideas in the project of a new company; here, in 1985, we planted our first vineyard.
Two different generations – brothers and sisters, children, nieces and nephews – work together since then, with the perfect understanding that derives not only from harmony of character and complementing of abilities, but above all from the unity of vision; love for this land, the desire to protect it and the capacity to imagine every day a new way to appreciate it.
We travelled through Sicily as on a great wine continent, establishing our estates in five different areas from west to east, seeking our interpretation of them through research into indigenous varieties, including those by now forgotten, and into the suitability of the different terroirs to welcome international varieties as well. We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture. On these elements the history of our company has always been based. This instinct for the future, together with our curiosity to see the world and compare ourselves with it, has guided our choices.
We planned to eventually build around each territory a comprehensive system of experience composed of hospitality, cooking, nature and culture.
When we planted the first rows next to the fortress of Ulmo in 1985, we already nourished in our hearts and minds the project of how we wished the company to grow; young but with ancient roots, longsighted but vigilant guardians of the land and its traditions. Those first 50 hectares, in a place so rich for us with history and meaning, were a palette of shapes and colours, a real laboratory in which we began our experiments with micro-vinifications. With the help of Carlo Corino we defined the identity of our products, preparing to issue the first labels in 1995; Chardonnay. This wine opened doors to the whole world for us, permitting us to introduce those wines that nobody knew of and which slowly became part of our overall design.
To research indigenous varieties, found in the maps of old books telling stories of phantom wines which were once the wealth of the island, we left on our journey through Sicily, from Menfi we went to Vittoria, then to Noto, to Etna and finally to Capo Milazzo. With the idea of producing each wine in its territory, we went to listen to places and people, learning to be different in different contexts, so we could love, interpret and relate them in a unique way.
The ethics of production and the protection of the environment, the countryside and the culture of each place, through sustainable long-term viticulture, wineries perfectly integrated in the landscape and wines which perfectly represent each territory, are common to our presence everywhere. The spontaneous impulse to pursue beauty pushes us to seek ever new ways to be witness to them, not only with our wines and olive oils but also through the projects for hospitality, art and social responsibility in which we continue to invest.
We think of sustainability as a direction not as a destination; a task that for a wine-making company today needs to be defined in a broadly ambitious manner.Go to the section
In Sicily. Vivisano
At local level we support the association Vivi Sano Onlus in their project to build a ‘Park of Health’ in the city of Palermo, in Sicily. The ‘Park of Health’ is an idea of social utility aimed at encouraging healthy growth of people through the adoption of a healthy life style. The project foresees the provision of services and organisation of free social service activities for minors who suffer from disadvantages of cultural, physical, mental, economic, social or family conditions. The guides of Vivi Sano and other partners in the project will promote their activities within a new centre to sustain the growth of children who live in difficult conditions, with structured and long-lasting interventions.
In Italy. Community of Sant’Egidio
For years we have been consistent partners in two projects of the Community of Sant’Egidio; Wine for Life and Trattoria degli Amici. Wine for Life is an initiative linking for the first time great quality wine with saving a great continent like Africa where more than 25 million people already have HIV/AIDS with no medicine to cure it, and 14 million children are AIDS orphans. Through the sale of our Cerasuolo di Vittoria we contribute funds to fight this battle. The Trattoria degli Amici is not a simple restaurant, but a centre managed by a co-operative where disabled people work assisted by professionals and friends helping voluntarily; they serve, cook and provide a welcoming atmosphere.
In the world. Oxfam
At an international level we support the activities of Oxfam against poverty, with particular reference to projects for women in farming in different countries. Francesca Planeta has been one of the godmothers of Oxfam Italia since 2016, with this motivation: ‘I work in agriculture in Sicily, a country where women have always had a strategic role but they have struggled for a long time to escape from a situation of particular social and cultural inequality. Because of this I feel that Oxfam’s mission in the world is my personal mission; to support farming work for women, ensuring them resources and training to develop their autonomy and productive capacity and thus pursuing the dream of sustainable food at a global level. Being able to put at their disposal my know-how and a widespread network of great Italian women who share the same feelings, I wish to offer concrete assistance to Oxfam.