Best of Sicily
Food & Wine
Map of Sicily
Purchase fine wines from Sicily directly from the winery for sale in your
wine shop or restaurant. Sicilian wines for
wholesale export anywhere in the world.
Stay at a working winery near
Alcamo in the hills of Sicily's enchanting wine country. Or just drop by for a
country lunch. Visit our site for more information.
Italy's largest contiguous
grape-growing region lies in the far west of Sicily, straddling the low but rugged Gibellina Mountains in what is still
sometimes called the "Mazara Valley." It is a vast viticultural area larger than those of Piedmont, Veneto or
Tuscany, and the hearty wines produced here under the Sicilian sun are still used to "fortify" the weaker
potions created in northern Italy. That, and frequent use in making strong Marsala wine, was their traditional destiny
for the last two centuries. More recently, Sicily's wine renaissance
has changed both the substance and image of Sicilian wines.
The heart of the region will be found between Salemi and Marsala. More broadly, the viticultural region extends from
the suburbs of Marsala south-eastward toward Menfi, framed by the ancient Greek sites of Segesta and Selinunte, including localities such as Alcamo in the northwest, Trapani in the
northwest, and Castelvetrano in the south. The larger cities are not without their charm, but it's the smaller towns and
hamlets, with the occasional castle or farmhouse, that capture the imagination. And, of course, vineyards as far as the
eye can see. The rolling hills planted with vines are themselves the main attraction; the
mountains are merely a backdrop. It's a good place to breathe the tranquility of the real, rural Sicily of centuries
Though the Greeks are usually credited with the introduction of viticulture in Sicily around 600 BC (bringing several
grape varieties with them during their extensive colonization), the Phoenicians, too, probably raised grapes in this
part of Sicily, especially near flat coastal areas. There is also evidence that the Elymians (or Elimi or Elami),
western Sicily's native people, raised indigenous grapes and made a form of wine. There is another large wine region in
"Hellenic" eastern Sicily, developed around Mount Etna and extending southward to Catania and Siracusa
(Syracuse). Until a few years ago, the wineries of western Sicily were perhaps too closely linked to the Marsala wine
industry, but many now cultivate grape varieties (not traditionally associated with Marsala) on younger vines introduced
recently. This has changed the face of western Sicily as newer vines have been planted to replace older ones.
The Sicilian wine page presents an overview of Sicily's wines and spirits.
About the Author: Vincenzo Mormino has written about wildlife and nature for Best of
Sicily and hard-copy publications.