Graci | Sicily, Italy
Alberto Graci bought the winery in 2004. Having initially made a steady income selling his grapes, he then decided to try his hand at winemaking. Alberto does not come from a winemaking background and is self-taught. He based his business on export markets first as these are easier to establish than the difficult domestic market.
The winery and vineyards are located in a valley at 600 – 1000 m altitude, close to the slopes of Mount Etna. Alberto Graci owns 18 hectares of land in the Contrada Arcuria vineyard with varying ages of vines planted. The best vineyard is the Barbabecchi at 1000m altitude and a portion of the vines are as old as 100 years. The soils are young and fertile, rich in minerals. Planting is done on a 1 x 1m basis, therefore very high density (10 000 plants per hectare) and average yield is very low – 500 – 600g per plant, due to judicious green harvesting and selection in the vineyard.
All the wines are essentially single vineyard wines. They are all vinified plot by plot in a quest to understanding the different ‘crus’ and their uniqueness.White varieties planted include Catarratto and Carricante, which are pressed and fermented in large cement tanks for the Etna Bianco. The red variety planted is the native Nerello Mascalese. It’s a variety that tends towards reduction. It is hard to mature and has high tannins and acidity. The reds are not crushed but rather allowed to crush by weight. They are fermented in large old oak vats and after pressing are put back into these vats, mostly Austrian wood.