Owner: Federico Graziani
Winemaker: Maurizio Pagano
Vineyards: 6ha, all estate-owned
Vineyard management: Not certified but ethical and sustainable management
Soils: Volcanic soils, stones, ash, and volcanic sand
Grapes grown: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc
Annual production: 22,000 bottles
- Federico Graziani began his sommelier studies at age 15, and won the “Best Sommelier in Italy” prize at age 23 in 1998. His experience as a sommelier has shaped his winemaking style.
- He works with Salvo Foti and Maurizio Pagano of I Vigneri to make the wines.
- He describes his vineyards at the foot of Mt. Etna as “an island within an island” due to their unique high-altitude microclimate.
Federico Graziani was one of the top sommeliers in Italy when he visited Etna in 2008 and fell in love with the area. He spontaneously bought a small (0.5ha) vineyard that was about to be ripped up, and with the help of neighbor and mentor Salvo Foti, he began producing his first wine, “Profumo di Vulcano.” From there, he made a hobby of finding other abandoned and overlooked vineyard sites, and today he produces four different wines, all from estate fruit.
The vineyards are located on the north and northwestern slopes of Mt. Etna, from 600-1200m of elevation. For Federico, “Etna is a place unlike any other. Mountain and sea, fire and ice, volcanic stones and sand, ancient history and modern innovation. I’ve never found anything like these temperature swings, this light, this energy, on any of the four continents I’ve visited for wine.” Making wine on Etna requires attention and a lot of manual labor, as mechanization is not possible. He works with Salvo Foti and Maurizio Pagano of I Vigneri to farm using non-invasive methods and tools, completely avoiding pesticides and systemic treatments.
Federico feels that his experience as a sommelier has contributed greatly to his experience as a winemaker: “I have had the possibility to drink the best wines in the world, so I know what makes a great wine: to have a direction, an objective, and an identity… I believe that the wines very much reflect my taste as a sommelier, characterized by drinkability, freshness, elegance, and adherence to the territory of origin.”
“Unlike 90% of Etna wineries, I believe in the value of vineyard sites but not as single-vineyard bottles. A complex and important wine must be a product of harmony–a blend of the best vineyard sites and the best parcels, together.”