Sicily

Sicily produces about 110 million cases per year, making it one of Italy's largest regions.



Much is grown at extremely high yields so it will be designated to be made into a spirit. The north of the island has more elevation and is cooler but sunny, the south is lower in elevation and quality and needs irrigation. Sicily’s most famous wine has to be Marsala, produced on the west side of the island. Marsala as a cooking wine has led to a decline in Sicily’s image as a quality producer. Today, there are some good quality Marsala, made from Grillo, Cataratto, Inzolia, and Damaschino grapes. Nero d'Avola produced the highest quality reds, and Sicilians have been hoping it will become the next thing for decades, but this never materializes. Other reds include Nerello, Frappato di Vittoria and Perricone (Pignatello). White wines are made from Catarratto Bianco, Trebbiano Toscano and Carricante, with Inzoilia producing the best. Another specialty are sweet wines made from Moscato or Malvasia. The Lipari Islands to the north and Pantelleria to the south produce this.

Barrel aged Chardonnay and good local reds entered the market in the 1990's to resounding success, but Sicily still needs to shake its image as a bulk producer. In Sicily, it was large companies that led the way, and 90% of output still comes from Co-operatives. Big companies ruined Marsala and turned into a cooking wine. Partially to blame for these wines not receiving recognition is that less than 5% is DOC level. Most reds are sold in bulk internationally, or blended with lighter northern Italian wines. However, the final 10% that comes from private producers are where the quality is currently. The future of Sicilian wines is in individual table wines, however problems with co-ops, political corruption and consumer image are all obstacles to face.