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A brief history

Since 2007, when the Whitaker Foundation entrusted us with a project to promote and restore the historic vineyards of Grillo, we have been taking care of 12 hectares of vineyards on Mozia, a tiny island in front of the Marsala Saltpans on the west coast of Sicily, bringing the “Wine of the Phoenicians” back to life.

A new chapter in the shared history of my family and the Whitaker family: the visitor registers kept by Pip Whitaker in the early 1900s bear the signatures of Ottavio and Paolo Tasca d’Almerita, testifying to a long friendship.

Though it is small, this area has always been suited to viticulture, due to the particular characteristics of the soil and also to the microclimate, which is sometimes surprising: the surrounding lagoon in fact generates a significant thermal inversion during the hottest months, which preserves the aromatic substances synthesized by the plants during the day.

Mozia is also an important archaeological site, a real open-air museum where

vineyards and ruins coexist, creating a unique and fascinating landscape.
From here, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Sicilian viticulture began again after the devastating epidemic of phylloxera. It was here that the first experimental vineyard was probably planted with a grape variety, a hybrid of Catarratto and Zibibbo, that was later christened with the “Italianised” name of Grillo (from the ancient Sicilian “ariddu”, fruit with a single seed).

On Mozia we take loving care of small unique beings – “the bushes with Marsala-style pruning” – helping them to capture the essence of this territory. After the harvest, the grapes are immediately transferred in crates, at dawn, to the mainland in small flat-bottomed boats that cross the Stagnone (Lagoon) to the coast: here, refrigerated trucks await them and they are loaded on board for the trip to the Regaleali Estate.

The result is a bright and salty white wine: Mozia, a single-variety Grillo wine.
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Established in 2007

Mozia Island
Italy, Sicilia

Meet The Team

  • Laura Orsi

    Laura was born and raised in Milan, with a PhD cum Laude in Food Preparation Sciences from the University of Milan (1994) and a Masters in Enology from the University of Piacenza (1996). Twenty years ago, she moved her life from the bustling city to work in the Sicilian countryside. She has been Head Enologist at Tasca d’Almerita since June of 2004 and resides at Tenuta Regaleali, the storied home of the Tasca d’Almerita family since 1830 and open-air viticultural laboratory. She oversees winemaking operations for all of Tasca’s five estates, working with a diligent team of agronomists and enologists and collaborating with consulting winemaker, Carlo Ferrini.
    She accepted the challenge nearly two decades ago to take the wines of Tasca to a new level, working both with native varietals but also constantly experimenting. Years of dedication and patience along with a sincere fondness for teamwork brought Orsi success both on a national and international level. She was even named Winemaker of the Year in 2010 by the Guida del Giornale di Sicilia.
    When asked to define her ideal wine in three words, Orsi declares: “A wine should be emotional, balanced and above all else express its own unique identity.”

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Tenuta Whitaker Wines