I Custodi delle Vigne dell’Etna
With a name that translates to “the guardians,” native Sicilians Mario and Manuela Paoluzi at I Custodi consider themselves guardians of Etna’s vineyards. Their four plots each sit at different elevations around Mt. Etna, providing a diversity of expressions of their native grapes. During their first visit to the Moganazzi vineyard, Mario and Manuela were inspired by a natural amphitheater framed by walls of black lava blocks, with a traditional wine pressing house in the center. They used the healthy, half-century old vines found there to make their first red wine, called Aetnus. They also found an extraordinarily high concentration of ungrafted vines in their Vigna Saeculare vineyard, with some of them more than two centuries old. They continue to prioritize an investment in the conservation of Mt. Etna’s viticultural landscapes: preserving the land, maintaining the traditions, and respecting the people. From these values spring the wines of I Custodi, the result of the generosity and minerality of the warm volcanic soil, the moderating influence of the muntagna, and the sun of Sicily.