Tag: italy

Sicily, land of wine

 - Sicily is one of the most genuinely Mediterranean lands of Italy, and so its agriculture, from ancient times, perfectly sums up the purest essences of the culture, the climate and the character of the island.

With ideal physical characteristics for the elaboration, among others, of products such as citrus fruits, olive oil and of course, wine, Sicily has a tradition of vine cultivation which is lost in antiquity, although it seems that Greeks and Phoenicians were responsible respectively for planting the first vines in the hills of Sicily and market them around the Mare Nostrum, which they found perfect for it because of their mild temperature, the sea breeze that runs its coast and the vast amount of sunlight that still makes the autochthonous grapes particularly suited for the different varieties grown in it.

With an area of about 150,000 hectares of vineyards, three quarters of them for white grapes (mainly in the west) and the rest to red grapes (especially in the east of the island), Sicily produces one of the world’s most famous wines, the Marsala, a fortified wine similar to Port, which shares with it the British origins of the wineries that produce them. This is an ideal wine as an aperitif or with cheese, fruit or dessert, competing for this purpose with other local products such as Passito di Pantelleria, made with raisins, the Malvasia delle Lipari, the Moscato di Noto and Syracuse or the Zibibbo.

Among the table varieties, are internationally known the Nero d’Avola, one of the more popular by its contribution to the Sicilian viticulture and placed among the best Italian wines. This wine takes its name from the most famous local red grape variety. The Bianco d’Alcamo, white and red Eloro, Contessa Entellina, Delia Nivolelli, Etna, Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Nerello Cappuccio, Nerello Mascalese, Frappato are also remarkable, the same way that other wines produced with autochthonous white grapes, such as Carricante, Cataratto or Grecanico. Many of these wines are protected by local geographical indications DOCG, DOC and IGT.

Consumers stay home and drink wine

Good news for the wine industry: a recent survey shows wine has become consumers’ first choice in the US, UK, and Australia when they stay at home, which itself remains a strong trend as people seem reluctant to return to their pre-Crisis levels of spending on eating and drinking out.

The bad news for upper tier wineries is that the wines chosen remain on the lower end of the price scale in the US, Australia, and other countries like Italy and Austria. Only the UK is feeling optimistic- 30% are willing to pay more then $10 per bottle versus the $7 bottles selling in the other countries.

Red wine

What does this mean? In the short term wineries selling wines over $10 are going to continue to struggle for a while and wine flash sales and deals will continue- more of the same we’ve been seeing in the past year. But long term it means drinking habits are shifting from beer and spirits towards wine, which is considered better for your health, adds an additional level of pleasure to food, and has strong associations with sharing good times with family and friends. Even the Crisis has had one major upside, as in their search for values consumers have become more open to experimenting with new regions and varietals. This means once confidence is restored the industry may have its best moment yet- a wide wine drinking population, now open minded and with increased power to move up the price scale and searching for great finds at all levels. And with internet shopping for wine now more widely available, consumers will be able to take advantage of more choices than ever.