Phoenician wine reborn

  • Friday 4 February 2000

The eminent Italian oenologist, Giacomo Tachis, and the Sicilian Regional Wine Institute have launched a project to rediscover the favourite wine of the Phoenicians, from the island of Mozia.

Tachis is world famous for his pioneering work with Antinori (Tignanello and Sassicaia, for example) and more recently for his work in bringing wineries in Sicily and Sardinia to international attention.

The idea of the Mozia project is to make a white raisined passito wine from Grillo grapes grown on the island of Mozia, just off the coast of Sicily near Marsala's home town of Trapani. Mozia was an important Phoenician trading base 2,500 years ago supplying the coastal ports of Sardinia, Tuscany and Spain with wine, although it wasn't until the English 'invention' of Marsala in the 18th century that modern vineyards were re-established.

The 'bianco di Mozia' has not yet acquired a brand name for the label of the 200,000 or so bottles produced, but Tachis's idea is to use it as a special gift for eminent foreign visitors to Rome this year, Jubilee Year; a piece of drinkable ancient Italian history.

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