Allegrini 2018

Between history and culture, Sicily grows and is narrated through wine

Assovini: the numbers that “certify” the oenological renaissance of the island, and the discovery of its many souls and UNESCO World Heritage Sites

In Sicily, perhaps more than in any other territory, wine is the expression of the harmonious interweaving between a centuries-old history, between landscapes designed by the many cultures and populations that have passed, over the centuries, through the “Trinacria”, and the work of man who, especially in the last decades, has been able to enhance the many souls of a wine-producing continent where the vineyard draws the territory from Val di Noto to Trapani, from the slopes of Etna to the coast, resting on the sea, and where there are the many green islands, from Pantelleria to Salina and Vulcano. A variety crystallized in 24 Docs and a Docg, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which tell in the bottle the charm of one of the most beloved Italian wine territories in the world, and among the best known, behind “sacred monsters” like Piedmont and Tuscany, as told by the investigations of Wine Spectator and Wine Intelligence, protagonist of a sensational success, exploded in recent years, but the result of a wine “Renaissance” led by great families, such as the Planeta, Tasca d’Almerita and Rallo (Donnafugata), and also built by many small and large producers who have brought to the forefront of the world an ancient and modern wine region together, which has invested and is investing heavily in its ancient and indigenous varieties, from Nero d’Avola to Malvasia delle Lipari, from Nerello Mascalese to Catarratto, from Grillo to Frappato, just to name a few of the many, without ever forgetting the great potential of international varieties. Also for this reason, today, Sicily is the largest regional vineyard in Italy, with 98,992 hectares out of 660,000 in the whole of Italy - and also the first organic vineyard, with 35,900 hectares (2017), 34% of the national area - and produces alone, with almost 5 million hectoliters, 10% of Italian wine. With an increasingly high quality production, given that, also thanks to the incentive of the Sicilian DOC, the “umbrella” denomination of Sicilian production, more than 82% of the Island’s production is made up of PDO (28%) and PGI (54%) wines, which has also led to the growth of the turnover of Sicilian wine, which has exceeded 550 million euros. These numbers are from Unicredit’s Industry Book 2019, and they are in the centre of Sicily en primeur, signed by Assovini, led by Alessio Planeta (who brings together 90 wineries with a turnover of 300 million euros) who, after the tour of these days to make the oenological continent known to world opinion leaders, will concentrate in Ortigia (Syracuse), from 9 to 11 May, with a taste of the many expressions of the 2018 harvest, “which in Sicily was good, despite some rain in the harvest period but has affected only a few vineyards, and with peaks of absolute excellence on Etna and in the south-eastern territories,” Alessio Planeta comments to WineNews). Where the great variety and importance of Sicilian wine - one of the pillars of the rebirth of the whole of Sicily, increasingly freed from the image of a backward region and afflicted by the mafia, and seen as a land rich in agriculture and viticulture of quality, history, beauty, and culture - will also be declined in five “Master Classes”, led by five Masters of Wine, from 'Etna, territory in continuous evolution. The volcanic soil that surprises”, held by Jean K. Reilly, at “Doc Sicily, Nero d’Avola and Grillo, but not only. The Doc of the records ” led by Madeleine Stenwreth, from “Time travel. The aging capacity of Sicilian wines”, with Martin Hudson, to “Vineyards and wines with sea view. The wines that are produced along the coasts”, with Anne McHale, to the “Small names with a great history. Doc less known all to discover”, with Lynne Sherriff.
Characterizations of a Sicily of wine that has invested heavily in the markets of the world, where now comes 50% of Sicilian wine, but also on the territory and on wine tourism, so much that all wineries (94%), according to Assovini data, have space for hospitality, 69% offers catering services and 40% also hotel hospitality, often of a high level. With wine that really becomes a tool to know a territory that holds many treasures, and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from Palermo Arab-Norman Area to the Archaeological Agrigento (Valley of the Temples), from the late baroque cities of Val di Noto to the Aeolian Islands, from Syracuse and the rocky necropolis of Pantalica Etna, to those “immaterial”, such as the vine in Alberello di Pantelleria or dry stone walls, among others.
“As every year, the Sicily of Wine plays the role of ambassador through the treasures of the Region, to make known to journalists from around the world examples of productive realities of excellence and, new this year, all the Sicilian UNESCO heritage. This is how the valorization of wine also passes through the valorization of the territory, and, at the same time - explains Alessio Planeta, president of Assovini Sicilia - wine becomes one of the most important keys of interpretation of our Region. We are proud to think that the event “Sicilia en primeur” every year has the merit of making Sicily the absolute protagonist of wine in the world”.

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