In a relatively short space of time the Sicilian group of wineries, Planeta, have firmly established themselves as one of the premier wine producers of Italy.
For five centuries, through 17 generations, the Planeta family have called Sicily their home, cultivating their land round the old fortress of Ulmo set amidst some of Sicily’s most stunning scenery. It was only as recently as 1985, however, that the family planted their first vineyard here. Since then two generations of brothers, sisters, children, nieces and nephews have all worked together; combining respect for traditions with one eye firmly fixed on innovation but perhaps most importantly, a great love for this land.
With this in mind it is no surprise that sustainability is key to the family, who seek to protect the environment, culture and traditions of Sicily.
A Sicilian wine route
Over the years the Planeta Wine project has grown to now include six wineries, each one leading on to the next in both time and location, taking the wine lover on a magical tour around the island.
The story begins in the west near the town of Sambuca di Sicilia.
Ulmo Winery, Sambuca di Sicilia, Western Sicily
Near the shores of Lake Arancio, this is the oldest of the Planeta vineyards and marks the start of their wine journey. First planted in 1985 the inaugural harvest did not follow until 1995. The Ulmo Winery now produces five wines including an innovative Chardonnay which established the estate's international reputation and is now said to be the benchmark for Italian white wines.
Dispensa Winery, Western Sicily
Inspired by the success of the first harvest in Ulmo the company expanded with the first planting at the nearby Dispensa Winery. Five wines are now produced here including a fresh and fruity rosé, perfect to enjoy by the pool on a Sicilian summer’s day.
Dorilli Winery, Vittoria, South East Sicily
First planted the following year in 1997 in the heart of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, this winery produces three red wines including the newest of the Planeta wines, a single variety Frappato.
Buonivini Winery, Noto, South East Sicily
Near the late-Baroque towns of Noto and Modica, the Buonivini Winery followed a year late. It now produces three wines including the excellent aperitif, Moscato di Noto.
And in 1999 Planeta won the much coveted Cantina dell’Anno (Italian winery of the year award) an outstanding achievement in such a short space of time.
Having expanded year on year throughout the second half of the 90s the family concentrated on refining their knowledge, sustainability and of course, the final product, their wines.
Feudo di Mezzo, Sciaria Nuova, North East Sicily
The next chapter in the Planeta story was not until 2008 with its first vineyard in the extraordinary wine growing area on the northern slopes of Mount Etna at an elevation of over 2,000 feet.
Planeta Sciaria Nuova now produces five wines from grapes grown on these volcanic soils including the impressive sparkling, Brut Metodo Classico.
La Baronia, Capo Milazzo, North East Sicily
First planted in 2011, this estate is the latest addition and also the smallest and most northerly of the Planeta vineyards. To date it produces just one wine, a fresh and fruity red, Nero d’Avola Nocera.
Wine Tasting in Sicily
Four of the Planeta wineries offer tastings (see the wine glass symbol on the map below) accompanied by the best regional produce, from local cheeses to homemade breads made from ancient local recipes. You should also try the Planeta Olive Oil but that is another story.
A range of tasting options are available starting from €15 for a one-hour guided tour with four wine tastings. Their most lavish tastings, costing €60 for a three-hour experience, includes a guided tour with wine and olive oil tastings as well as a traditional four-course lunch. Full details can be found on their website, Planeta.it.
For a first hand account of a Planeta Wine tasting experience, read about Becky's visit to their winery in Vittoria.
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