A history that looks towards the future

Assovini Sicilia: expression of the wineries in Sicily.

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A history that looks towards the future

From Ancient Greece to Expo 2015, Sicilian wine reveals its thousands of aspects


The history of Sicilian wine, for which Assovini Sicilia acts as an ambassador around the world, is one with very deep roots. The first specific mention of the quality of the wines produced on the island has in fact been attributed to Hesiod: “Well, at this point, if only I could find the shade of a rock and some “Biblinos Oenos” wine. Pliny the Elder cited in his “Natural History” the Mamertino wines produced around Messina.
During the period of Arabian domination, vines risked disappearing altogether from the point of view of production; nonetheless, wine was one of the most popular subjects even for the Arab poets in Sicily.
It was during the reign of Frederick III of Aragon that trade in wine became free but, as numerous writings demonstrate, the real large-scale establishment of vine-growing and wine production dates back to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.
The typical products of Sicily were also the subject matter for poetry in the later centuries, becoming protagonists of works written by famous names such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Stendhal.
This interweaving of viticultural history and literature has carried on through to the present day. In the 1990s there was a real boom in Sicilian wines, thanks partly to blending indigenous varieties with international ones, yielding wines that were finer and more elegant. In the last 10 years of the last century, thanks to Assovini Sicilia, there developed an even greater desire to safeguard the island’s age-old heritage.
Today the limelight is focused on indigenous cultivars and their promotion and enhancement, due to producers’ awareness that this is a unique asset that cannot be imitated.


Assovini Sicilia was founded, in order to give added value to our thousand-year-old history. Its first objective was to inform and make the institutions more aware of the important role played by the wine production sector and the difficulties it had encountered. A team was thus created of small, medium-sized and large producers, united by the same philosophy. They decided to face up to the challenges of the marketplace together in an efficient manner, as well as giving greater voice to the producers in their dealings with the institutions.

The 2000s

Thanks to the input of Assovini Sicilia, the Region of Sicily presented itself at Vinitaly with its own pavilion. It was the first Region of Italy to make this choice, giving greater weight to a shared image than to the individual brands. Assovini Sicilia’s hard work led to the island becoming one of Italy’s best known areas for wine production around the world.


The first edition of “Sicilia en Primeur”: the location chosen was Palermo, which would host the event for the first few years. The idea stemmed from a desire to communicate to the press the quality of the vintage – which was often excellent in Sicily even when it was not in other Regions of Italy – and from an awareness that to tell people properly about our area it is necessary to get to know it in person.


The event was an immediate success and in 2007 it became an itinerant one, selecting Taormina as its first venue.


Assovini Sicilia crossed the national boundaries and began organising and participating in promotional events abroad.


With aid from Assovini Sicilia, the Producers’ Consortium for the Sicilia D.O.C. was created, with the aim of enhancing the image of the “Sicilia” brand and increasing knowledge on the part of the marketplace regarding Sicilian wine production. Antonio Rallo of Donnafugata was named as its President.


Francesco Ferreri, co-owner of the Valle dell’Acate company, was elected as President of Assovini Sicilia. Mariangela Cambria of Cottanera was confirmed as Vice-President.


From 16th to 18th April, “Sicilia en Primeur” will again take place in Taormina.


Assovini Sicilia will take part in Expo 2015 as one of the principal partners of the Region of Sicily, within the Wine Pavilion and the “Bio-Mediterranean Cluster”. The objective is to promote the Region as a veritable “viti-vinicultural continent”, which produces wine in an ethical manner, and make visitors aware of the island’s extraordinary viticultural wealth, made up of countless indigenous grape varieties.