By September 25, 2017 0 Comments Read More →



The 2017 vendemmia began on Tasca d’Almerita’s two seaside wine estates

From Tasca d’Almerita:

The varied climate of the Sicilian ‘continent’ means that our harvesting period lasts around 90 days. The indigenous grape varietals of Grillo and Malvasia delle Lipari in the islands of Mozia and Salina are some of the first to be harvested.
The tiny island of Mozia is located on the furthermost tip of Western Sicily. Harvest here begins at daybreak; men are on the boat by the crack of dawn. There are ten of them and they know this routine like the back of their skillful hands. The majority of them have worked with us since we acquired the vineyard twelve years ago. As the boat leaves Marsala the water is calm and the journey across the lagoon is tranquil, floating past windmills and huge mounds of the famous Mozia salt tingeing the water pink. Jokes are shared and the mood is jovial. As the boat sails past, the salt workers are already harvesting, taking advantage of the cool of the morning before the scorching sun completely rises. They push the dried salt in wheelbarrows to be weighed; the boss inspects them from the comfort of his chair, controlling everything.
As the boat docks into Mozia, the men unload their crates, of which there are roughly 100. This uninhabited island could seem on the surface uneventful, but here layers and layers of cultures have left their mark. Alongside our 11 hectares of Grillo vines there are ancient mosaicked houses and religious ruins of the Phoenicians, which archeologists are still excavating today.
The team spreads out throughout the vineyards and work in twos, swiftly collecting the grapes, then carrying the crates to the end of the rows of vines for the tractor to collect. The vines are grown in the ancient alberello alla marsalese style, meaning ‘little tree’, they are pruned so that grapes are shaded by the vine leaves.
Calls and laughs ring out throughout the vineyard, as they point towards the sky and shout ‘talìa!’ which means ‘look!’ in dialect. Pink flamingos fly towards the salt pans: Mozia is a place of special interest for its birdlife, particularly for migratory birds.
Everyone works diligently and quickly to get the first grapes on the boat; and then directly into the refrigerated van that waits; they need to prevent the Grillo grapes from warming once they are off the vine.
Once the day is complete, the van is driven to our main estate, Tenuta Regaleali, in the middle of Sicily. The grapes will be pressed immediately on arrival and then held in stainless steel vats for five months, on their way to becoming a crisp white wine with a distinct, fresh saltiness.
As in Mozia, our harvest teams are in the Capofaro vineyards by sun rise. Capofaro is located on the island of Salina, one of the seven islands in the Aeolian archipelago in Eastern Sicily.
The history of Salina can be told through Malvasia delle Lipari. In the 19th Century a large amount of the island was planted with the grape, and it provided work for many families. This sweet wine was even enjoyed on the tables of Napolean and his soldiers, who while stationed in the nearby town of Messina developed a liking for it, and spread its fame throughout England and Europe. However, this success came to an end with the arrival of a small aphid; the phylloxera bug. Its destruction of the vines and people’s livelihoods led to a mass migration of the island’s inhabitants across the world in search of work and a better life. It is only in the last few decades that the production of Malvasia wine has started to steadily increase in Salina and winemaking is once again thriving on this island. Our sweet and dry Malvasia wine preserves this history of salina and maintains the essence of the noble Malvasia grape.
The Capofaro estate and vineyards gets its name from the commune of ‘Capo’ where it is located and ‘Faro’ which means lighthouse in Italian. On the morning of the harvest, the fully functioning lighthouse looks over the workers in the vineyards. At sun rise a few guests start to appear for their morning run or swim in the pool. As they open the doors of their white-washed suites, they are greeted by the sight of the harvest with the islands Stromboli and Panarea dotted beyond in the distant sea. Occasionally smoke from the volcanic Stromboli surfaces, blotting the morning sky.
A percentage of the grapes, destined to become our dry Malvasia wine: Didyme, will travel on a refrigerated truck to the boat waiting for them at the port of Salina. The boat takes around one hour to reach Milazzo and then a final two hours by road to reach our team in Regaleali. Upon arrival the fruit is pressed and put into stainless steal tanks four months. The result is a truly refreshing Malvasia.
The grapes for the sweet Malvasia will be dried in a controlled area on the island for 15 days, then the dehydrated grapes will be taken to Regaleali for fermentation and ageing.


Check out our reviews of Sicilian wines here:

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