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The Sicily of wine focuses on high-end wine tourism, in the name of authenticity and discovery

Assovini, from “Sicilia en primeur 2023”: “wine as a cultural container of history, landscape, nature, culture and gastronomy”

Sicily is a “strong land, a land of contrasts, a true land” where wine, which has become one of its most valuable resources over the years, is “only” a red thread that connects millennia of history, culture, and beauty. Because “those who come to Sicily come to discover: wine has always been a calling card for Sicily, but there is a world behind it. Wine is a common thread that leads you to true stories, stories of business, architecture, food, and wine culture, all of which Sicily has in abundance. As a result, we producers are true guardians of the land and ambassadors of a wonderful Sicily”. Words from Laurent Bernard de la Gatinais, at the helm of Assovini Sicilia, brilliant intuition of three great noble fathers of Sicilian wine such as Diego Planeta, Antonio Rallo and Lucio Tasca, today a network that brings together the virtuous wine companies of the Region, 100 wineries that they bring together a turnover of over 300 million euros. And which, practically in their entirety, are investing in wine tourism, and therefore in a tourism in general which, in Sicily, cannot and does not want to be “mass”, but of a high level, sustainable, capable of enhancing the great beauty and the authenticity of that land which today is one of the diamonds of Italian wine, with its thousand facets. Reflections that come from “Sicilia en Primeur 2023”, (preview of the wines that will culminate in Taormina on May 13th).
With wine thus becoming an exclusive key to understanding the island's thousand facets and historical-cultural heritage, as well as the history of producers and wineries. “Sicilia en primeur 2023 is dedicated to wine as a complex cultural factor, ambassador of Sicilian tourism, to wine tourism in its many forms but above all to the role of the Assovini Sicilia cellars as guardians of culture and territory. With “Ambassadors and custodians of culture and territory” (this is the claim of this edition, n. 19), Assovini Sicilia, a network that brings together the virtuous companies of Sicilian wine, becomes the spokesperson for the knowledge and enhancement of the territories through the wines and its producers, as promoters of quality, of scenic beauty, of the uniqueness of the historical-archaeological heritage of Sicily. As an association - explains Assovini Sicilia - we underline that, in the context of experiential tourism, the vineyards, the cellars, the wine, represent the ideal cultural container for an integral experience: from wine trekking, to the picnic among the rows, music in the vineyards, artistic installations in the winegrowing landscape”.
It is no coincidence, then, that 74% of Assovini wineries are family-run, 90% have a structure used for wine tourism for tasting in the cellar, 32% have a lodging facility with beds, and 30% offer a restaurant proposal. With an increasing emphasis on the "wine experience," given that 51% of wineries offer everything from cooking classes to wellness programs, wine trekking to tours that interact with the landscape and culture of the places. Increasing emphasis on non-massified, high-end tourism. Primarily to preserve the authenticity of Sicily in terms of landscape and culture, but also to preserve the history and business stories, and sometimes even life stories, that the cellars tell. Then, because the luxury market knows no crisis, it is the segment of tourism that many look to in order to break out of a general economic slump.
Sicily has all the credentials to attract investments of this type, being able to count on a rare multifaceted cultural richness, in which history, literature, architecture, art, landscape and, obviously, food and wine tradition guarantee unparalleled and out-of-the-ordinary experiences outside of the mass routes.
The variety of landscapes and climates of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean (26,000 square kilometres), translates into an extraordinary diversity of soils: lava, calcareous, clayey, tuffaceous soils. On these, native and international vines are grown from which wines are born that are the full and multiple expression of a specific territory. From the wines of the island of Pantelleria, the European strip closest to Africa, to those of the Faro Doc that stretch east towards Calabria, to the volcanic wines of Etna and the relic wines. A regional heritage of unparalleled richness and diversity.
“As a result, wine, one of the symbols of excellence of Made in Sicily”, explains Assovini, “becomes a cultural container capable of narrating and synthesising elements such as history, landscape, nature, culture, tradition, and gastronomy”. Wine tourism is evolving into something more complex and diversified. Hospitality is a complete way to promote the Sicily of wine, from small to large wineries, wine tourism brings together the emotions that a series of quality factors can generate: territory, wine, nature, food, relaxation and conviviality. Assovini Sicilia wishes to promote the diversity of Sicilian territories, their gastronomic richness and culture, the landscape-cultural and wine heritage through wine tourism.
Sicily has all the credentials to become a wine destination of excellence. And today the Assovini-branded wineries have a double merit: traveling the world to make the Sicily brand known and promoting the territory and culture through the experience of Sicilian hospitality in their companies. Behind every wine there is always a great story to discover and tell”. A great deal of work remains to be done in order to find a long-term solution capable of bringing together the two roles of the wine world: ambassadors and guardians of culture and territory.

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