Harvest on Mount Etna – Santa Maria La Nave (VIDEO)

This video tells about the 2017 harvest on Santa Maria La Nave’s vineyard on Monte Ilice. As you will see from this other video, Monte Ilice is a crater of incredible beauty. It is quite recent: less than 1000 years old, nothing if you consider that Mount Etna was born more than 600.000 years ago…

Etneans have understood Monte Ilice agricultural potential and started to cultivate it a few centuries after it was created. The soil, made of black volcanic sand and stone chippings, was perfect to grow Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Catarratto, and other local grapes that would be used to make Etnean wines. The grapes stayed intact until they were perfectly mature, thanks to the inclination of the crater, its exposure and its sandy soil, and the wine was deemed of high quality and “suited to the navigation” – i.e. it could endure a long sea journey. These characteristics played a critical part in the survival of the vineyard on Mount Ilice through the centuries.

The merchants from Riposto’s used to buy the higher quality and more resistant wines at the highest prices, since they could be transported to Northern Italy or to other European country, where the wine was “paid more”. These highest prices allowed the owner of the vineyards on Mount Ilice to justify the efforts that were required to grow a vineyard in such a difficult territory. Its strong inclination and the softness of the sandy soil forced the winemakers to make “one step forward and two steps back” while working in the vineyard. This volcanic cone was considered extremely suited to this kind of cultivation, so much that a vineyard was planted inside the crater itself. Since it was very difficult to carry the grapes on such a steep terrain, many small palmenti (millstones) were built in various parts of Mount Ilice and in the surrounding area, so the vinification could be performed on site.

However, the migration flows abroad and the fact that people started looking for work in the city made the costs of growing heroic vineyards on Mount Ilice prohibitive and vineyards have been abandoned. In 1963 a young fellow called Alfio Puglisi felt in love of a plot of land on Monte Ilice, managed to buy it and saved the vineyard there. After more than 50 years he decided to sell it to me. Since few years I have been involved in the titanic task to restore this beautiful ancient vineyard. Don Alfio is always beside me, his help and advice are crucial. I dedicate this video to him and to my ancient vines, I promise them to respect that sanctuary and to dedicate to it all of my efforts, to protect it with true love and to bring it back to the ancient magnificence it deserves.

For more details visit santamarialanave.com or email at sonia@santamarialanave.com


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