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.