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.