N. 1234/07

The project Sicily – A Continent Of Wine was set up by Valdibella Coop. Agricola. The main idea is to promote the Sicilian island with its traditional vineyards and wines. We would like to take the visitor of this website on a virtual trip to the most suitable wine-growing areas while showing the strong link between our “continent” and the history, the culture and the people of the island.

Key players of the project are the wines produced according to the new DOC Sicilia regulations in compliance with the requirements of the Decree n. 284 6/12/2011 introduced on November 22nd, 2011. Our main interest lies in those Sicilian wines produced with grapes from old local vine stocks which better reflect their unique quality.

We have chosen the USA as target nation for the presentation of our project as Italy is today the main importer of value wines to the US wine market. Our intention is to provide a virtual platform, a forum for the exchange of ideas, views and information raising the awareness for DOC Sicilia wines and current research activity on old indigenous vine varieties.

We wish to create a link between our partners, stakeholders and consumers, a virtual meeting point where experiences, good practices and information may be exchanged and where all events and news from the DOC Sicilia Wine Continent may be spread reaching wine lovers worldwide.

Titolo del vitigno /HISTORY
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scheda tecnica
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Tel: +39 0924 582021
Fax: + 39 0924 58 20 21
Cooperativa VALDIBELLA
via Belvedere, 91 - 90043 Camporeale (PA)
Sicilia - Italia

  • Wednesday 12th - Boston (Massachusetts)

    Wine tasting with food pairing and Dinner wednesday night at Oleana Restaurant (134 Hampshire street, Cambridge)

  • Thursday 13th Febraury - Boston (Massachusetts)
    -Retail tasting at Central Bottle, 5-7pm. (196 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge)
    -Party afterwards at Belly Wine Bar, 7:30 or 8pm onward. (1 Kendall Square, Cambridge). The event will be open to the public

  • Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th February - Boston (Massachusetts)
    Boston Wine Expo – booth/table 440
    200 Seaport Blvd.,
    Boston MA 02210
    Trade only hours: 11 AM – 1 PM. At 1 pm the event will open to consumers. Trade professionals are welcome to stay in the Grand Tasting during consumer show hours.

  • May 2014 (5 days – date to be confirmed) - Portland (Oregon) Wine Tasting

  • May 2014 (2 days – date tob e confirmed) San Clemente (California) Wine Tasting

  • (2 days – date to be confirmed) - New York (New Jersey) Wine Tasting

  • 22-23-24-25-26 September 2014 – Meeting with operators and/or journalist of Third Countries
  • 12/02/14 Andover Liquors 209 North Main Street - Andover, MA 01810

  • 12/02/14 Shawsheen Village Liquors 4 Poor Street - Andover, MA 01810

  • 12/02/14 Colonial Spirits 87 Great Road - Acton, MA 01720

  • 13/02/14 Social Wines 52 W Broadway - Boston, MA 02127

  • 13/02/14 Cambridge Spirits 9 Broad Canal Way - Cambridge, MA 02142

  • 13/02/14 The Wine Bottega 341 Hanover St - Boston, MA 02113

  • 12/02/14 Oleana Restaurant 134 Hampshire St - Cambridge, MA 02139

  • 13/02/14 Central Bottle Wine 196 Massachusetts Ave - Cambridge, MA 02139

  • 13/02/14 Belly Wine Bar 1 Kendall Square - Cambridge, MA 02139

  • FIERA Boston Wine Expo La fiera si è svolta nella città di Boston (Massachusetts) il 15 e 16 Febbraio 2014 presso il Sea Port Hotel & World Trade Centre sito al 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston MA 02210.

  • 01/05/14 Corsino Restaurant 637 Hudson St. – New York, NY 10016

  • 02/05/14 Natural Wine Co 211 North 11th St. - Brooklyn, NY

  • 06/05/14 Justa Pasta 1336 Nw 19 th Avenue – Portland Oregon 97209

  • 06/05/14 Luce 2140 E. Burnside – Portland Oregon 97214

  • 06/05/14 Small Wares 4605 NE Fremont St.- Portland Oregon 97213

  • 07/05/14 Noli 769 Monroe St. – Eugene Oregon 97401

  • 07/05/14 Broadway 17 Oakway Center - Eugene Oregon 97401

  • 07/05/14 Beppe e Gianni 1646 E 19th Ave - Eugene Oregon 97403

  • 08/05/14 Nostrana 1401 SE Morrison - Portland Oregon 97214

  • 08/05/14 Carmella’s 1320 SE Water Avenue - Portland Oregon 97214

  • 08/05/14 Cyril’s 815 SE Oak Street - Portland Oregon 97214

  • 09/05/14 Cloud & Kelly’s 126 SW 1st St. - Corvallis Oregon 97333

  • 09/05/14 Corvallis Brewing 119 SW 4 th St. - Corvallis Oregon 97333

  • 09/05/14 Luc 134 SW 4 th St. - Corvallis Oregon 97333

  • 09/05/14 Il Fornaio Cucina Italiana 1555 Camino del Mar - 92014 California

  • 09/05/14 Solare Ristorante Italiano 2820 Roosevelt Road- Liberty Station, Point Loma – San Diego, CA 92106

  • 09/05/14 Il Fornaio 1333 First Street – Coronado CA 92118

  • 12/05/14 Toscanova 10250 Santa Monica Blvd – Westfield Century City - Los Angeles, CA 90067

  • 12/05/14 Bar Toscana 11633 San Vincente Blvd - Los Angeles, CA 90049

  • 12/05/14 Sapori Ristorante Italiano 1080 Bayside Drive – Newport Beach, CA 92660

  • 12/05/14 The Meat House 23982 Alicia Parkway – Mission Viejo, CA 92691

  • 12/05/14 Angelina’s Pizzeria 32860 Pacific Coast Highway – Dana Point, CA 92629

  • 13/05/14 Sfixio Ristorante 9737 Santa Monica Blvd – Beverly Hills, CA 90210

  • 13/05/14 Vincenti Ristorante 11930 San Vincente Blvd - Los Angeles, CA 90049

  • 13/05/14 Il Segreto Ristorante 2932 Beverly Glen Circle – Bel Air, CA 90077

  • 13/05/14 The Wine House 2311 Cotner Ave – Los Angeles, CA 90064

  • FIERA VINO CALIFORNIA La fiera si è svolta il 14 Maggio 2014 presso il Ristorante Valentino sito al 3115 Pico Blvd a Santa Monica - Los Angeles.


OCM Vino - Regolamento (CE) n. 1234/2007 del Consiglio

Decreto Ministeriale del 22 luglio 2010 n. 4123

Assessorato Regionale Risorse Agricole e Alimentari Dipartimento Regionale Interventi Strutturali in Agricoltura - Bando "Promozione del vino sui mercati dei Paesi terzi" Campagna 2013/2014



  • Assessorato Agricolture e Foreste della Regione Siciliana:

  • Istituto Regionale Vini e Oli di Sicilia:

  • Ministero delle politiche agricole alimentari e forestali:

  • Unione Europea: Politiche Agricole

  • Registro nazionale delle varietà di vite


“The variety of Sicilian wines is a diversity representing unity.”
“One of the few reservoirs of wine variability in Europe.”
“We will produce original and unique wines, avoiding the risk of trivialization.”

(Attilio Scienza)

For over ten years associations, cooperatives and vine growers in Sicily have worked together to obtain the DOC Sicilia label, which is the 23rd DOC designation on a regional level.
There is a peculiarity about this new brand: it can be added to the already existing 22 DOC designations and will make it easier for operators on the international wine market to identify the various DOCs on the Sicilian territory.

The DOC Sicilia designation introduced lower maximum yields per hectare compared with the former IGT regulations. This way, winegrowers aim at a qualitative improvement of their wines in spite of production yields.

Higher quality standards are combined with a strong commitment for a maximum valorisation of wines produced on our island. Our commitment seems more than necessary if we consider the growing interest in our wines of the US and Canadian market as well as of the emerging markets such as Russia, China etc.

The new brand DOC Sicilia has the intention to strengthen the identity of Sicilian wines, while improving their quality, image and market position.


Key points of the DOC Sicilia regulation:
The decree, which regulates the production of wines labelled DOC Sicilia, was introduced on November 22nd, 2011.

The regulations refer to all wine varieties produced on the Sicilian territory. The first wines labelled DOC Sicilia were produced with the 2012 harvest.

Aiming at improved quality standards for Sicilian wines, the DOC Sicilia designation introduced lower maximum yields per hectare compared with the former IGT regulation.
The DOC Sicilia designation refers to five types of wines:

  • White wines, including late harvests;
  • Red wines, including late harvests and reserves;
  • Rosé wines;
  • White Spumante (white sparkling wines);
  • Rosé Spumante (rosé sparkling wines);

including 26 varieties of wines. 13 of them are produced with grapes from old indigenous vines and are described on our website.

For further information, please download the full version of the DOC Sicilia regulation available on this website (Italian version only).


"Soil, Sun, Wind, Water and Space. These are the natural forces, which provide nutrition to a vine stock. The ideal place for a vineyard is where these five elements are present in due proportion – a place where vine stocks feel at home.

Knowing how to manage these vital forces here in Sicily is the core of the art of winegrowing. This means to succeed in the production of high-quality wine grapes for winemaking without any need to correct deficiencies or excesses during and after the winemaking process.

We are strictly against the use of chemical fertilisers to “help” the Soil, of sugaring to “adjust” wine grapes with low sugar contents (which is typical for areas where the Sun does not shine regularly), the use of pesticides to “protect” vine stocks where there is no Wind or too much Water. And finally Space, which embraces the power of life. Our winegrowers have learned to produce their wines in harmony with the five elements and we know how to channel their potential and vital energy in order to obtain best value wines.

The winegrowers of the cooperative Valdibella, Palermo


When the DOC designation ("Controlled designation of origin") was first introduced in France in the 1930s, what was the idea behind it? What had to be protected? Perhaps the areas where the most vigorous and healthy vine stocks where growing? We will try to answer this question with a citation by Nicolas Joly, a French vigneron and great supporter of biodynamic viticulture:

“What was considered an “ideal” place at that time [the 1930s]? A place where “lady” vine felt well and could “sing” freely and tell everybody about her happiness. […] When lady vine grows in a place where she can express all of her potentials, she transfers to her fruits the characteristics of the place she is growing in, especially as she is a peculiar vegetal being with a proper willpower. It’s just these simple things? This means that, thanks to her roots, lady vine conjoins with the soil, attaches herself closely to it and through her leaves she receives all the climatic components which characterize the place she lives in. To these characteristics belong various typologies of heat, which appear in very different moments depending on the intensity of light, on wind, which can be soft or tumultuous, on light or abundant rains, on morning or evening mist...All these components are part of the climate and are first transformed into plant material and later into fruits.”(Nicolas Joly, 2008)

We have chosen a somehow poetic citation with the intention to introduce the now widespread concepts of terroir and zoning in viticulture. These principles are part of all DOC regulations in order to guarantee viticultural practices, which are respectful of the natural and original environment of vine varieties and which, at the same time, are committed to the quality improvement of old indigenous wines.
The pedo-climatic conditions of an area play an important role in the plantation of vines as these characteristics are crucial for the personality and quality of the wines. On the Sicilian territory we distinguish 7 types of soil suitable for winegrowing. The right balance between soil, climate and human intervention is the key factor for a high-quality wine production according to the DOC Sicilia regulations.

The following list shows what kind of characteristics a wine develops depending on the soil where the vine stock is growing. Permeable soil with pebbly layers
Wines obtained from the grapes produced on this type of soil are of high quality, have high alcohol contents as well as intense, refined aromas.
Sandy soil
Wines coming from this soil typology have refined and delicate aromas and a low content of extractive matters.
Clay soil
Wines obtained from the grapes produced on this type of soil have a high content of extractive matter and a balanced acidity. These wines are soft and suitable for aging.
Heavy soil and heavy clay soil
Wines coming from this soil typology have a high content in extractive matters, intense aromas and colours.
Wet soil
On wet soils vine stocks produce grapes for a wine with a low alcohol content, high acidity and a high protein content.
Calcareous soil
Wines with a high alcohol content and intense aromas originate from this type of soil. Also included in this category are marly soils with a high percentage of mineral salts as well as all red soils, both producing grapes for high-quality wines.
Acidic soil
Wines obtained from the grapes produced on this type of soil are refined and delicate, medium-bodied and of high quality.

Wines obtained from the grapes produced on this type of soil are refined and delicate, medium-bodied and of high quality.

A soil is normally composed of two layers: an arable upper layer and a second layer, the subsoil, whose characteristics are determined by its unique geological components. These characteristics of the subsoil are important for the development of a vine stock. From here, the roots of the vine absorb all nutrients (mineral salts etc.) required by the plant. The formation of a wine’s personality starts with this process.

Therefore soils are divided into two categories:
- dark-coloured soils, which absorb more light which, in turn, gets converted into heat, thus contributing to a faster ripening process of the wine grapes (e.g. in the area around Mount Etna);
- light-coloured soils, which absorb less light which, in turn, converts less heat, thus contributing to a slower ripening process of the wine grapes (e.g. on the south-eastern part of Sicily).

In short, the organoleptic and sensory characteristics of a high-quality wine strictly depend on the colour of the soil, in which the vine stock grows in, as well as on the soil’s structure and its chemical properties.

In addition, we should also bear in mind that the thermal conditions to start the ripening process of a vine stock, strictly depend on the variety.

We can thus conclude that our territory is particularly suitable for viticulture as all necessary conditions for a good winemaking are present in our region, satisfying the DOC Sicilia standards...a real continent of wine!

What follows is a list of the vine varieties included in the DOC Sicilia regulations:
  1. Alicante
  2. Cabernet franc.
  3. Cabernet sauvignon
  4. Carignano
  5. Carricante
  6. Catarratto
  7. Chardonnay
  8. Damaschino
  9. Fiano
  10. Frappato
  11. Grecanico
  12. Grillo
  13. Inzolia
  1. Merlot
  2. Mondeuse
  3. Müller Thurgau
  4. Nerello cappuccio
  5. Nerello mascalese
  6. Nero d’Avola
  7. Nocera
  8. Perricone
  9. Pinot grigio
  10. Pinot nero
  11. Sauvignon
  12. Syrah
  13. Viognier
The following list shows which vine varieties are grown in which province of Sicily thus trying to simplify the identification of the production areas according to the DOC Sicilia regulations:
Agrigento: Cabernet franc, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Fiano, Frappato, Grecanico, Grillo, Inzolia, Nerello mascalese, Perricone, Pinot grigio, Viognier.
Caltanissetta: Catarratto, Chardonnay, Frappato, Grecanico, Inzolia, Müller Thurgau, Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Pinot nero.
Catania: Alicante, Carricante, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Frappato, Grecanico, Inzolia, Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Viognier.
Enna: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carricante, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Frappato, Grillo, Inzolia Müller Thurgau, , Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Pinot nero.
Messina: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carricante, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Frappato, Grillo, Inzolia, Müller Thurgau, Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Nocera, Pinot nero.
Palermo: Catarratto, Carricante, Chardonnay, Frappato, Grecanico, Grillo, Inzolia, Müller Thurgau, Nerello mascalese, Perricone.
Ragusa: Cabernet Sauvignon, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Damaschino, Frappato, Grecanico, Inzolia, Nerello mascalese.
Siracusa: Catarratto, Chardonnay, Damaschino, Grillo, Frappato, Grecanico, Inzolia, Nerello mascalese, Nocera.
Trapani: Cabernet Sauvignon, Catarratto, Chardonnay, Damaschino Greccanico, Grillo, Frappato, Inzolia, Merlot, Müller Thurgau, Nerello mascalese, Perricone, Syrah, Viognier.

Further information about the 13 indigenous vine varieties included and protected by the DOC Sicilia regulations is available on this website. All datasheets are based on studies published by the Assessorato delle Risorse Agricole ed Alimentari della Regione Siciliana, the Agriculture Inspectorate of Sicily.


Many history sources confirm that the heritage of indigenous grape varieties is more complex and richer than commonly assumed. Some ancient historical evidence show that wine was already consumed on the Sicilian island in the XVII-XIV century B.C.
The Phoenicians introduced the famous drink in the Mediterranean area?and also in Sicily.?At the slopes of Mount Etna and in the area of Agrigento the finding of the so-called “ampelidi” vine stock proves that wild vines were already part of the Mediterranean flora back in the Tertiary.

In the VIII century B.C. the Greeks arrived on the island and introduced their cultivation techniques and brought with them their own vine varieties like the Grecanico and the Grecaù. During the following five centuries Sicilians and Greeks lived together in harmony and the indigenous population learned everything about the cultivation of vines, olives and wheat, becoming as skilled as their teachers.
Under the domination of the Romans (III B.C.) the cultivation of vines gained more and more importance and wines like the Malvasia from the Eolian Islands, the Pollio from Syracuse and the Mamertino from Messina were exported and appreciated all over the Roman Empire.

The advent of Christianity (IV-V sec. d.C.) and the byzantine domination (585-872) contributed to a further development of wine-growing on Sicily.
In the period of the Arab domination (872-1061) the quantity of wine produced was reduced significantly. The Muslim invaders, who lived according to the Koran, decreased the productions of grapes used for vinification to a minimum, but without prohibiting vinification in general. At the same time, they helped developing the production of table grapes such as Moscato d’Alessandria (Zibibbo), grown on Pantelleria, a small island belonging to the Sicilian territory.
With the arrival of the Normans in 1062 a period of renaissance in the wine-growing sector began. This flourishing period lasted until 1266 when Charles of Anjou introduced exorbitant taxes thus forcing people to abandon the cultivation of their vineyards.

With the Aragons first and with the Spaniards later, viticulture became the most important cultivation on the island and Sicilian wines began to be appreciated all over the word. In 1773 the Englishman Woodhouse build up a business exporting huge quantities of Marsala wine, increasing in this way the demand and the production of Sicilian wines. For over a century the wine sector boomed.
In 1880/81 European grapevines were hit by a terrible pest, the Phylloxera. On the Sicilian island it caused a reduction of cultivated vineyards from 320.000 hectares to 175.000 hectares, a serious economic disaster. To deal with the emergency, a governmental nursery, the Regio Vivaio Governativo di Viti Americane, was set up in Palermo in 1888. The only solution to the pest was grafting European vines onto phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks. A negative side effect was that by the end of the 18th century, the indigenous ampelographic heritage depleted drastically and a large number of old vine varieties disappeared.

During the Fascist regime every hope of a rebirth in the wine sector annihilated as well. After World War II many peasants abandoned their farms searching for jobs in the industrial plants of Northern Italy. Only a few stayed and worked on their farms. In the years 1960/1970 these people finally got an opportunity to improve their living conditions with the constitution of the first social cooperatives in Italy.

The situation started to change with the establishment of the Community Single Market in 1970 and the resulting demand for Sicilian wines in France. Improved cultivation techniques due to the use of mechanical means and a redevelopment of agricultural practices of farmland are the reason why the Sicilian wine sector is still in a flourishing period. What is nowadays called the Sicilian Miracle is the result of new entrepreneurial in the vine production as well as new regulations for DOC vine designations, which aim at enhancing and protecting the Sicilian viticulture.


Racina di ventu, Inzolia nera, Dunnuni, Fiore d’arancio, Nivureddu, Racinedda e Tintorè – these are only a few names of the more than 60 varieties of indigenous old vines on which research is currently carried out in Sicily.
The DOC Sicilia brand protects and encourages research in this field. The rediscovery and revaluation of old indigenous vine varieties was set off thanks to the great passion of a new generation of wine-growers, the memory of the elderly and the strong commitment of institutions such as the Assessorato all’Agricoltura (Regional Department for Agriculture) and the Istituto per il Vino e per l’Olio (IRVOS – the Sicilian Institute of Wine and Olive Oil).

What follows is a complete list of all old indigenous vines rediscovered on the Sicilian island. The genetic data of these vine stocks is currently analysed and still in a selection stage…. while we are looking forward for the day when it will be possible to taste new wines produced from our “ancestral” grapes.
  • Alzano
  • Albanello
  • Barbarossa
  • Barbera
  • Bottone gallo
  • Buntisi nero
  • Bufania
  • Canina
  • Carnuffino
  • Castagnola
  • Catanese nero
  • Cessalà
  • Coda di volpe
  • Cori di palummu
  • Cornicchiola
  • Cutrera
  • Diretto
  • Dolcetta
  • Dunnuni
  • Fiore d’arancio
  • Franchitieddu
  • Francisi
  • Fumusa
  • Gamay
  • Giacchè
  • Grecaù o Bracaù
  • Grossonero
  • Inzolia nera
  • Lacrima di Maria
  • Leanfurtisi
  • Lievusu
  • Lucignola
  • Maiulina
  • Malvagia
  • Marsigliana
  • Minnavecchina
  • Minnella nera
  • Montonico nero
  • Moscato nero
  • Musacatedda
  • Muscatidduni
  • Nivureddu
  • Nizzucca
  • Olivetta
  • Oriddru
  • Orisi
  • Palermitano
  • Pignolo
  • Precoce
  • Preventivo
  • Prunesta
  • Racina di ventu
  • Racinedda
  • Recunu
  • Regina
  • Rosata
  • Rucignola
  • Scassabutti
  • S. di Troia
  • Sparo virdisi
  • Sultanina
  • Tallone
  • Tintorè e Ibisu
  • Tremal
  • Usiriotu
  • Verbo rosso
  • Visparola
  • Vitraruolo
  • Zibibbo nero
  • Zù Matteo
  • Zuccarato