Acclaimed Italian winemaker Angelo Gaja is set to make his first wines on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily after joining forces with local producer Alberto Graci.
Angelo Gaja, famed for his Piemontese wines, has bought 21 hectares (ha) of land on the lesser-known southwest slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna through a 50/50 joint venture with Graci, according to Italian website cronachedigusto.it.
The land, split between two districts, includes 15ha of DOC Etna vineyards in Biancavilla, almost all of it planted to Nerello Mascalese.
The first wines will be produced from the 2017 harvest, with the venture poised to build a winery and purchase further vineyards in the longer term.
Gaja’s move is the latest evidence of growing interested in Etna, and wines from volcanic regions in general.
‘We will do things without hurry, step by step,’ Gaja told cronachedigusto.it. ‘I come to Etna to learn, and to harvest grapes that I have not grown.’
He added that he had been thinking about Etna for some time, after first being told about the potential of the area by fellow Italian winemaker Giacomo Tachis.
Graci is a former financier who has been making wine in the area for about 10 years.
The venture marks Gaja’s third move outside Piemonte, following his investment in Montalcino in 1994 with Pieve Santa Restituta, and in Bolgheri two years later with Ca’Marcanda.