INDIGENOUS GRAPE VARIETIES
The vines are cultivated following the Etnean traditions, placing first and foremost respect for the environment and for the people who live here.
This agricultural approach leads us to use only traditional fungicides such as copper and sulphur.
The farming system with which all our vines are cultivated is the Etnean Alberello. This system, deeply rooted in Etnean viticulture and the native vines, allows us to reach, thanks to its optimal vegetative-productive structure, the most minimal intervention or use of external products.
The lower quantity of grapes, which reaches an excellent polyphenolic ripeness, produced per vine is compensated by the high density of the vines (8000-10000 plants per hectare).
The Vigneri company owns vineyards located in three areas of the Volcano.
In contrada Caselle, Milo 750 a.s.l. we grow the white grape varieties Carricante and Minnella. The vineyard is located, as the crow flies, 10 km from the crater and 8 km from the Ionian Sea.
In contrada Porcarìa (Feudo di Mezzo) 550 a.s.l., the Passopisciaro fraction of Castiglione di Sicilia, we grow the red grape varieties Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, and Granache. 15 km from the crater and 20 km from the sea.
In Contrada NAVE, Bronte, in a small parcel of vineyard at 1300 m a.s.l, we grow Granache, Minella nera, Greganico, Minella Bianca and other unknown varieties. 10 km from the crater and 26 km from the sea.
We are the owners of all our vineyards. We do not buy grapes. We do not lease or rent vineyards. This way we have 100% control of our grapes. All our vineyards are in Alberello Etneo, cultivated in the traditional way as has always been done on Etna. In our vineyards there are no iron or concrete poles, no iron wires on which to place the vines – only and exclusively chestnut posts from Mt. Etna. We do not use plastic to tie the vines, only organic ropes made of natural fibres (plastic, year after year, ends up in the vineyard so polluting it). We don’t use big and heavy tractors that compact the soil. The fertilizer for our vineyards is sheep manure that comes from local sheepfolds where the sheep stop at night after a day of grazing – these are animals reared in a natural way. We personally collect it, when it is ready and suitable for our vineyards, so it is locally sourced. It is not treated by industries far removed from Mt. Etna. We know the shepherds and sheep who produce our manure. We want to maintain human relations with our territory and terroir. In the vineyard we prefer to do little or no treatment, only using sulphur or copper, Consequently, we free the bunches from the leaves to allow air recirculation and a natural defence against diseases – this is an expensive manual practice, but fantastic for the quality of the grapes. We do not use irrigation for the vines. Adding water for long periods of time involves wasting water and increasing the surface concentration of salts in the soil with consequent sterilisation of the soils. In our vineyards we have from 8,000 to 10,000 plants per hectare. We work manually for 200 days a year per hectare. This means that over 80% of the work done manually by the Vigneri workers in the vineyards is returned to the local economy. Most of the tools we use in the vineyard and in the Palmento are produced by local artisans. The health and preservation of our land, where we live, is an essential goal for us. All our vineyards are terraced to preserve and safeguard the territory, this terroir. All our vineyards are worked within natural ecosystems, oaks, chestnuts, wild aromatic plants (oregano, thyme, helichrysum, giant valerian, etc.) in order to preserve and protect insects such as bees, butterflies, etc. Our vineyards share the land with other native plants – apples, cherries, pears, hazelnuts, plums and strawberries, in order to reduce the impact of monoculture and increase biodiversity.
The total vineyard area is 7 hectares, of which 5 are planted with vineyards for the production of Etna Rosso red wine, Etna Bianco Superiore white wine and our rosé.
“Men and womenn, as well as an Alberello vine, must always have its roots firmly in the past, in the ground, living the present with the vision of the future, in harmony with all living beings, with all that surrounds us, with nature, with our Earth, of which we are a part, and not something above.“
– Salvo Foti