Wineries in Sicily are famous for a reason. Renowned for its beaches and gorgeous climate, Sicily is a world-renowned destination for travelers nestled in the Italian Mediterranean. Sicilian wine regions are also some of Italy’s biggest wine regions.
Historical records illustrate that Sicilians have been cultivating vines since 4000BC – and it makes sense why! This little island boasts an ideal climate for viticulture: dry conditions with normal sunlight levels and sporadic rainfall. As such, wineries throughout Sicily provide remarkable wines that can only be produced here due to its distinct terroir; unlike any other within Italian vineyards.
Join us on this thrilling Wine Trip to Sicily and explore the most special wineries in all of the area! Learn everything there is to know about Sicilian wines and vineyards in Italy while taking pleasure in one of the world’s top destinations.
Wineries in Sicily: an overview
Sicilian wine regions
The mountainous island of Sicily counts no less than 450 plus wineries who exploit the 23 subregions of Sicily vineyards, altogether covering up to 250,000 acres of vines. These subregions are divided into 4 major Sicilian wine regions:
Sicilia DOC: one of the broader Sicilian wine regions, the Sicilia DOC appellation exists since 2011 to extend its fame and turn Sicilia IGT into DOC. This Sicilian appellation is actually rather a marketing tool to help promote Sicilian wines across the international market. Any wines from Sicily can be labelized Sicilia DOC if their winemaking process meets this DOC’s regulation.
Etna DOC: a peculiar wine region because of its singular geographical situation, Etna DOC give birth to peculiar wines: volcanic wines. This Sicilian wine region has unique weather conditions: intense sunshine and twice as much rain than the rest of the island. Main grape varieties grown for Etna wines are Nerello Mascalese for reds, that are compared to Barolo’s delicate Nebbiolo and Burgundy’s Pinot Noir – and Carricante for whites.
Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG: located on the southeast part of Sicily, this Sicilian wine region is the hottest, which explains why it’s the only DOCG Sicilian vineyard – this since 2005. Cerasuolo di Vittoria wines are reds with a saturated color, strawberry and cherry notes and hints of leather. These Sicilian wines have good aging potential – they can be commercialized after a minimum aging of 18months.
Marsala DOC: on the southwest corner of Sicily, the wine region of Marsala stands out for a specific blending method called solera. Today, the favored grape variety grown there is the traditional Grillo. Yet, there are up to 10 different grape varieties allowed to be grown in this Sicily vineyard.
Sicilian wines – main grape varieties
Sicilian winegrowers that are devoted to their terroir grow indigenous grapes varieties and produce wines that reflect the complexity of their terroir at best. As a result, wines from Sicily are mainly made out of 3 major grape varieties for reds, and 3 for whites.
Red Sicilian wines:
- Nero d’Avola: this is the most popular grape variety that Sicilian wineries grow. The grape’s structure offers a wide potential between easy-going reds to more serious ones.
- Frappato: Frappato is usually blended, but it’s possible to find Sicilian wine made only out of Frappato grape. You’ll find them rather easy-drinking reds.
- Nerello Mascalese: right behind Nero d’Avola in terms of volume, this is the premium grape variety that thrives in Mount Etna’s volcanic soil.
Visit best wineries in Sicily with Winalist
Now that you know more about Sicilian wines and Sicilian wine regions, you must dig deeper and live the complete experience in Sicily vineyards with most passionate locals! And the best way to do that, is to visit Sicilian wineries to meet winegrowers dedicated to making the most of the terroir they exploit and the Sicilian wines they proudly produce.
1. Tenuta Maltese – Sicily DOC
The family has been cultivating vines for 6 generations, with still as much passion and dedication in search of excellence and finesse. Visit this Sicily winery to discover their historic cellar during a wine tour, followed by an extraordinary meal and the tasting of the estate’s wines.
2. Quattrocieli – Incredible oenological workshops
Located near the city of Alcamo, not far from the coast, Quattrocieli is one of the wineries in Sicily that is dedicated to making wine tourism a great experience, one to express Sicilian terroir at best, from the vine to the glass.
Book one of their amazing wine activity!
3. Cantine Madaudo – Winery near Messina
Go for a bubbly wine experience at the Sicily winery of Cantine Madauro! Located close to the beautiful city of Messina, the Madaudo family is particularly attached to growing indigenous Sicilian grapes. Their flagship Sicilian wine: the sparkling Capovero Grillo Cuvèe Extra Dry.
4. Antichi Vinai 1877 – Visit Etna cellars
Etna wineries make Sicilian wines shine over the whole world, and Antichi Vinai 1877 estate is proudly contributing to this fame. In the heart of Etna wine region, this Etna winery offers a guided tour of their historical cellar that have been dug into lava stone. After this absolutely unusual cellar tour, you will taste 3 of their Etna wines – you won’t see Etna wines the same anymore!
5. Emilio Sciacca Etna Wine – The reveling of Etna Wines’ secrets
Right at the foot of Mount Etna, on the north-east side, is where you will find the great Emilio Sciacca Etna Wine estate. Devoted to ethical wine-growing, the fully embrace their philosophy “Wine, Human, Nature, Etna”. Each step is carefully monitored so it can respect the winery’s natural environment at best, and reflect Etna soil at best. They are more than happy to welcome you for incredible Etna Wine Tasting with local products, and a visit to their cellars with a delicious lunch.
Visiting wineries in Sicily is a wine experience like no other in Italy. The typicality of Sicily vineyards is unique to the island’s land, and discovering Sicilian wines from Sicilian wineries is the only way to understand how valuable this terroir can be to wine-making.
Just in case you’re visiting other cities or vineyards in Italy during your vacation to Italy, Winalist has you covered:
- The ultimate Tuscany travel guide
- Italy’s most stunning vineyards
- Messina Sicily things to do
- Piedmont must-sees
- Winalist’s favorite things to do in world-famous Rome
- Arezzo Italy best things to do
- Best things to do in Chianti, Italy
- Amazing cities in Tuscany that you should visit
- What to see in Prosecco Italy
FAQ & Useful resources
Does Sicily have vineyards?
Sicily is one of the largest wine regions in Italy. While Tuscany is the best-known Italian wine region, Sicily still has its share in the popularity and production of Italian wines.
How many wineries are there in Sicily?
Sicily counts about 450 wineries that are spread over 23 wine regions – Sicily is actually one of Italy’s broader wine regions.
What is the most popular wine in Sicily?
The most famous wine that is produced in Sicily is Frappato wine, made out of the Frappato grape variety – which is one of the oldest grape varieties that comes from Sicily.
What wine grows in Sicily?
Three main grape varieties come from Sicily and are grown there: Nero d’Avola, Frappato and Nerello Mascalese.