Sicily
Sicily is an autonomous region of Italy, and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. The region has been significant in winemaking for over 2500 years and boasts near perfect growing conditions. There is consistent sunshine, moderate rainfall, and a hilly landscape which provides an ideal terroir for wine-bearing grape vines. Mount Etna, which is Europe’s tallest active volcano, is responsible for the mineral-rich, volcanic soils that dominate the area to the east. Sicily has more vineyards than any other Italian region, and competes with Puglia for the largest wine producer. Vineyards in the east of Sicily are now planted high up on the volcanic slopes so as to take advantage of the cool air and rich soils present there. To the west the volcanic hills may not be as dramatic, but still influence the soil types. In recent years, quality-focused attitudes have led to Sicilian winemakers producing better wines that have gained more notice internationally. Many grapes grown in Sicily are made into raisins and used in cooking, or used in creating dessert wines. Dessert wines are renowned in Sicily, in particular the famous Marsala wine. In fact, 90% of all DOC production in the region is made up of dessert wines. Red and white wines are also respected as well, including natives Nero d’Avola and Grecanico.