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
If a winemaker does not go home and read a book after finishing his work, he cannot make good wine. This conviction has always co-existed with our lifestyle; we chose to be not only promoters but also producers of culture.
Our task in this area lies in the conception and production of a cultural offering that enhances the territories and promotes a variety of awareness and alternative achievement. Our vineyards and wineries become subjects and objects of cultural activity, through the art project Viaggio in Sicilia and the Theatre in the Vineyard which we have established on Etna, both parts of a structured programme in which we maintain constant investment.
Viaggio in Sicilia, project for contemporary art and the territory
Menfi, Vittoria, Noto, Etna, Capo Milazzo. Our Viaggio in Sicilia, not a random route and strongly linked to the diversity of landscape, the winds, the character of men and their wines, this project offers not only our interpretation but a glance at art. We host painters, photographers and writers, Italians and foreigners, and guide them through the districts that we have chosen for our vines and their wineries, during the harvest. We leave them the freedom to describe them with their pictures and emotions, capturing the spirit of each place. At the end of each journey we welcome the artists to the house at Ulmo, where they begin their creative work; in the following June all the work appears in an exhibition and one of each of their selected works, in the same spirit, contributes to family collection. It is our way of looking at our land, always with new eyes.
Theatre in the Vineyard, Sciaranuova Festival
A natural theatre in the heart of vineyards where the volcano’s wines are produced, joining the world of wine and that of spectacle together. For the first time in Sicily we have transformed the vineyard into a theatre, excavating a stage from what were terraces for the cultivation of vines and exploiting the mountains, lava and ancient pines as scenery.
The theatre lies a short distance from Feudo di Mezzo winery, among the vineyards of Sciara Nuova and the old press carefully restored and now used as the tasting room, which every year hosts the Sciaranuova Festival. The idea of building this natural amphitheatre and investing on our own account in a theatre production, allows us to communicate with another form of art and to found on Etna a specific project of enhancement and cultural significance.
We sustain every form of art
Other than being producers of events with cultural content, we are happy to support interesting projects involving every form of art and to promote their diffusion. We are partners with the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome in the review ‘Spirito Classico’, edited by musicologist Giovanni Bietti. At the same time we have established a relationship with the Feltrinelli bookshop in Palermo for their annual programme of book presentations, with the authors’ participation. We also support the Orto Botanico in Palermo, which organises the Fair of food bio-diversity every year.