I’m not new to wine. My father inherited 3 hectares of vineyard from my grandfather and in the 90s he gave most of the grapes to other wineries in the Marsala area. Wine production was limited to family consumption. My first memories in the cellar are from when I was 15 and helped my father in the production of those few bottles. After a couple of years I decided to study oenology and viticulture, gaining experience in a few wineries, some of which abroad.
At university I’ve been taught that wine is a biochemical process, but soon I realised that I saw wine in a different manner. The winemaker staying in his cellar – adjusting the wine, modifying it, assembling it, often tasting it and deciding whether or not to improve it – that’s just not me!
It was thanks to my oenology studies that I realised that true wine is not chemistry but territory.
I am a winemaker: the one that works in the vineyard, raising and arranging it. I select the best grapes because, thanks to my studies, I’m very familiar with the chemistry of fermentation and when I taste the grapes I know when will be the best time for harvesting. And then I take the grapes to the cellar and vinify them, as naturally as possible. I produce wine that is the maximum expression of the territory in which I live.
Currently I take care of 5 hectares of vineyard (and two more to come). Making an authentic wine is the mission that motivates me each day to work in the vineyard and in the cellar. For me “Authenticity” means to be able to fully express the Marsala territory in my wines.
The varieties that I grow are Catarratto, Grillo, Nero d’Avola and Merlot (one of my father’s vineyards). Most of the vineyards are located practically in front of the Nature Reserve of the Stagnone Islands of Marsala. I really love this territory, with it’s sea breeze and warm Sicilian sun, the spectacular reflections of the salt pans and the breathtaking view of the Aegadian Islands.
Respecting the authenticity of the territory means fighting vine diseases with few sulphur and copper treatments, which I decide based on the year’s rainfall, but mostly considering the degree of humidity in the vineyard. The vineyard interventions are decided one at a time. It’s very important to me to make my wine with good, healthy grapes. In case of a bad vintage, I sort the grapes. Producing a good wine asks for quality, not quantity. And that quality, firstly and fore-mostly, has to be achieved in the vineyard.
In the cellar all fermentations take place spontaneously. I use little chemistry, that is I add (only to some wines) a very small amount of sulphites in the pre-bottling stage. For these wines I also control the temperature because the fermentation is at high risk of blocking itself. I think this is a necessary practice here in Sicily, where temperatures reach 35° – 40° C in August/September.
Yet I make some of my wines without adding any sulphur and without practising temperature control. Every year I decide what to do, because winemaking is not an exact science!
My wines narrate a passion for “slow cultivation” and the uniqueness and beauty of the territory in which I live.
The vine, the branches, the leaves, the grapes run across each one of the labels. Take a good look: it’s not a random aesthetic choice, but rather my philosophy of wine: it starts in the vineyard, passes through the cellar, and arrives in the bottle, ready to be enjoyed in good company.