Mt. Etna regenerates itself constantly, and generates new life and new culture: the frequent eruptions cause the landscape to be ever-changing, and the same power has the work of the people who persevere in living on the Muntagna. The lava flows that followed one another over the millennia have created an incredibly variable terrain. For as much as we help them with our work, the vines have to struggle to survive. Some send their roots down into fertile soil, others only find the volcanic bedrock. The microclimate is marked by extreme variability; we have rigid, almost alpine, temperatures in the winter, but in the summer the hot Sicilian sun brings us back to the South. Drought is exacerbated by the sandy volcanic soils. It costs us much labour to hold back at least a small amount of moisture that allows the plants not to give up.
The vines suffer from all this, but suffering is a stimulus for the plants: they give few, but very rich fruits. Never too sweet or concentrated, always in great balance with the right acidity. Carricante, Minnella, Grecanico, Malvasia, Visparola among the white varietals, and the red ones Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Alicante, have always been cultivated on Mt. Etna. Usually, we find them planted side by side, in promiscuous vineyards. In these vineyards a primordial form of viticulture is practiced, and to produce an Etnean wine costs time, resources and effort. But we’re not able to imagine resorting to shortcuts, as only the respect of raditions enables us to make the kind of wine we want to make. The vines are bush-trained (in the alberello-system) and planted in high density, up to ten thousand vines per hectare. Thanks to the manual cure that the Vigneri reserve to each single plant, we need only a few treatments during the year, using only sulphur and bordeaux mixture. We harvest late in the year, and only healthy and naturally-grown grapes, to become great, really Etnean wines.