Stress Testing Sicily: Exploring The Wine Mojo Behind The Hype

Trending 3 months ago

Let maine commencement pinch afloat disclosure: I americium nary master connected Sicilian wine. Wine professionals who are much knowledgeable than maine tin speak to Sicily’s indigenous varietals, and that unthinkable achromatic ungraded successful nan vineyards of Mt Etna, and nan lava stone outcroppings that randomly (and pinch a consciousness of I-was-here-first authority) interrupt nan methodical patterns of statement aft statement of vines.

But present are 5 things that I do know, that person inspired maine to tease retired nan variables accounting for nan mojo infinitesimal that Sicilian vino and Etna vino successful peculiar is experiencing — and enjoying — correct now. Is nan vino itself worthy nan hype? Judge for yourself. In nan meantime, see these 5 variables of nan mojo down nan hype.

Years-Long Bet connected Sicily

Several years agone I led a investigation task into early opportunities for Italian vino accumulation and income successful nan US, pinch a squad comprised of American and Italian manufacture professionals pinch heavy acquisition successful their respective markets. The Italian contingent, barroom none, were fresh to spot their bets connected Sicily arsenic nan country’s astir promising region moving forward. The roots of nan momentum for Sicily correct now were coming and planted years ago.

ETNA, SICILY, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 22: Nerello Mascalese grapes flourish successful a vineyard connected nan bluish ... [+] slope of nan Mt. Etna volcano, Europe's largest and astir active. (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Land Prices astatine 10x

Earlier this week, a new article by Lucy Shaw successful The Drinks Business indicated that onshore prices connected Etna are 10 times higher than onshore successful nan remainder of Sicily. Who owns this existent estate? In immoderate cases it’s nan smaller, bequest brands who are now optimally positioned to capitalize connected Etna’s popularity. In different cases it’s nan big-name brands, from different parts of Italy and elsewhere, who are looking for their portion of nan action.

Ageability of Etna Wines

Last play astatine nan Taormina Gourmet festival, connected nan northeastern seashore of Sicily, I led a maestro people astir Etna wines for an assemblage of enthusiastic consumers. We tasted 2 verticals (red and white) from Palmento Costanzo successful Contrada Santo Spirito, connected nan bluish slops of nan volcano. The prima performers successful nan lineup, for nan assemblage and myself, were nan older vintages: 2016 for nan reddish and 2019 for nan white.

It was a consequence that pointed toward an aging imaginable for nan wines that was, for nan astir part, little appreciated aliases understood previously. Earlier that week I enjoyed a akin acquisition — of preferring nan older vintages complete nan younger, that is — pinch Feudo Maccari, wherever my individual tastes leaned toward nan oldest vintages connected nan array of that brand’s iconic Saia label.

Labor Demand and Supply

Earlier past week I besides learned of Feudo Maccari’s finance successful their workforce, which is progressively comprised of workers from, among different places, sub-Saharan countries including Ghana and Burkina Faso. Italy and Sicily, for illustration truthful galore European vino producing regions, look nan situation of a depleted workforce comparative to much robust labour readiness successful years past. Feudo Maccari’s labour pipeline, now, is being fed by group whose state of root boasts an cultivation manufacture that’s much apt to cultivate cocoa than grapes.

Nonetheless, managers and agronomists for illustration Enrico Bigiarini astatine Feudo Maccari find opportunities to tie parallels for illustration maturation levels and perfect times aliases dates for harvesting. Bigiarini sees affirmative results successful position of their retention of workers: nan awesome wines of nan world are ever great, he says, partially because of nan consistency of nan aforesaid unit moving nan aforesaid onshore twelvemonth aft twelvemonth and successful immoderate cases for decades. That’s becoming much and much rare, though Maccari’s efforts connection a modern twist connected a solution.

The White Lotus Halo

It’s difficult to miss nan non-Italian connection conversations underway successful airports, hallways, restaurants and sidewalks successful Sicily, peculiarly among visitors from nan US, China and Australia. The effect (both pro and con) of celebrated civilization is debatable, not slightest of which is nan occurrence of nan dark-comedy HBO bid called White Lotus that was filmed successful Palermo and Noto, 2 of Sicily’s astir photogenic locales. It’s difficult to miss nan precocious density of selfies taken astatine locations that are iconic to nan communicative of nan White Lotus series.

At nan moment, vino from Sicily is strutting its mojo. Like immoderate bully narrative, there’s much to nan crippled than meets nan eye. Or, successful this case, nan vino successful nan glass.

Follow maine on LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my different work here.