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WineNews Reportage: Etna and “bio-diversity” wines, their history, nature and growing numbers

For the first time, the Consortium has dedicated a press tour to the world media on the volcano. Where we went to get producers’ visions

“The island within the island” is the Sicilian “wine continent”. Etna is different from the other wine territories in Sicily, Italy and the world because everything is different on the highest active volcano in Europe, one of the most active on Earth, and a Unesco Heritage as well. WineNews went back to the volcano to record the visions of the producers, i.e., the “voices” on Etna that narrate a land made of great “natural biodiversity”. Their visions document the “magic” of Etna wine, Sicily’s “diamond”, including its history and future, driving markets and territorial projects transitioning from DOC to DOCG, and to a more in-depth zoning starting from the Contrade, a “super-heroic” viticulture, and where the growth of wine was the decisive development engine in a territory that still has a lot of room to grow (here the reportage, and here the analysis of the "bio-diversity" of the volcano, by Attilio Scienza, one of the leading viticulture experts in the world and professor of Viticulture at the University of Milan, while the next monograph in “I Quaderni di WineNews” is dedicated to our tasting notes on Etna wines, which express the personality of each single vineyard like no other territory does). We drew up the report while waiting for “Etna Days - I Vini del Vulcano” (September 13-18th). It is the first press tour with which the Consorzio Tutela Vini Etna DOC is welcoming the major International journalists in the wine sector directly to its slopes, especially from the USA and Northern Europe, as well as expert tasters who, over the last few decades have consecrated Etna to the global level among the wine territories on the crest of the wave. “It is very important for us to carry out this project, since last year it was postponed due to the pandemic”, Francesco Cambria, president of the Consortium, explained, “the wines of Etna represent the highest peaks of not only Sicilian, but also Italian viticulture. The tour will allow the leading International magazines to get to know and then spread their knowledge to the whole world of the variety, diversity and quality of our producers’ wines”. The Etna DOC Consortium today incorporates the work of 383 producers, and, in 2021 production reached more than 4.5 million bottles. The ancient native varieties, such as Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante, together with a viticulture that has highly distinctive characteristics — the volcanic composition of the soils, centennial vines, the sapling training system, the various slopes on Etna and the 133 Contrade - offer a complex and fascinating scenario. The wine types produced on Etna include red, white, rosé and sparkling wines (but the prices of the DOC and TGI vineyards are also growing, which are worth between 41-85.000 euros per hectare, according to CREA 2021 data, analyzed by WineNews).
The press tour, “Etna Days - I Vini del Vulcano” dedicated to the International press, comes right at harvest time (here the first “impressions” of the producers at WineNews).
The Consortium explained that it is a journey to discover the increasingly dynamic ETNA viticulture, deepening knowledge and an immersion among the vines and wines of the Denomination through a program of tastings, Masterclasses and visits to producers.
After welcoming the guests on September 14th, the Consortium will present a volcanologist from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), and, then there will be will be a tasting desk, including all the wines of the Denomination as well as an archaeological visit to the impressive rock millstones, the ancient sites dug into the rock for pressing grapes and fermenting musts. On September 15th and 16th, the journalists will visit 40 companies that also host the wines and producers of 50 other Etna DOC wineries. Finally, on September 17th, they will be taken on a guided tour to the spectacular summit craters of the volcano, up to Rifugio Sapienza. The day will end in Catania, at Palazzo della Cultura, where a meeting with the producers will be held, and then a special, grand finale wine party.

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