Pantelleria for wine lovers and luxury travellers
This small and lonely island situated in the heart of Mediterranean Sea, closer to Tunisia than to Sicily, is a real unicum, a place where wine lovers should go once in a life time. And, we should include it in one of our Sicily wine trips or design a special trip for it.
This small island make all Sicilians proudly stand up and say Sicily boats a unique record in viticulture and culture: for the first time a traditional agricultural practice of cultivating, referring in this case to the ‘vite ad alberello’ (head-trained bush vines) of the community of Pantelleria, has been included in the assets of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Due to its central position, ever since ancient times, the island has been a crossroads on shipping routes between Africa and Europe, governed first by the Phoenicians, then by the Punics, Romans and finally by the Arabs who gave the island the name of “Daughter of the wind” (Bent el-ariah).
And its the constant blowing of the wind, together with the scarcity of rain, that has enforced the ‘vite ad alberello’ agricultural practice (head trained bush vine growing) onto the community of Pantelleria.
The inscription in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage represents the recognition of the true act of heroism belonging to every “pantesco” (the name of the inhabitant of this island, more farmers than fishermen) working to make this region capable of producing sources for human sustenance in its arid context: the climatic conditions of this territory, with the strong wind blowing steadily and the constant sunshine, strengthen the spirit and the abilities of vine-growers who have been passing their knowledge from a generation to another till today.
The inscription also proves the passion how passionately the winemakers in the island take care of their environment, focusing on the sustainability of resources. The practice of vite ad alberello of Pantelleria is definitely a key part of the cultural heritage of the island: its rural dimension has always been visible way of living in the area, formed by the terracing (on the steep slope), stone walls (as whole, about 8 km long), Arab gardens and typical dammusi, local squared buildings dome-roofed . Here, day by day the cultivation of the vine is a true symbol of a hard-working community renewing the deep bond between man and nature.
Despite the hard sacrifice of local men and the meagre revenue from the grape trade, the fact that the element is very much alive today shows how deeply it is perceived as an integral part of the identity of the island, both from a cultural and an environmental point of view. All the population of Pantelleria know and practice this type of vine growing: out of a total population of about 7,650, with an average age of 42 years old, about 5,000 inhabitants own a plot of land cultivated in this traditional way, considered an essential familiar tradition handed down from generation to generation from season to season until today. Knowledge and skill in cultivating the “head trained bush vines” was and still is handed down from father to son by oral and practical instructions in the local dialect all year round. The young apprentice vine-grower learns the technique whilst working alongside the master, from whom he picks up small secrets.
Vineyards in Pantelleria can count only on the human labour, no machine to replace the strain of men and women and their productive sensibility. We call it a heroic practise as it need a total amount of hours for each labourer triple to that needed on any other vineyard on the main land.
All these strain, care and passion goes to the cultivation of the Zibibbo grape, the local name for the Muscat d’Alexandrie from which the Moscato di Pantelleria wine is produced. It is said this was produced since 200 b.C. as it dates back to those times the first descritption of the the production of what we can define the ancestor of the modern Moscato di Pantelleria by Magone, a Carthaginian general.
Myth says Bacchus lived in Pantelleria for the excellent wine this island produced and Venus used to come and see him every night, after looking in the mirrored water of the homonymous lake. Centuries later the famous latin lover Giacomo Casanova offered his victims a glass of this exquisite juice to let them succumb into his arms.
The Moscato the Pantelleria, in its dry and dessert versions,is a wine for wine lovers and pleasure seeker.
So, join some of the worldwide celebrities who love Pantelleria, spend their holidays here, restore stunning dammusi to live and enjoy its atmosphere, food and wine: fashion designer Giorgio Armani and photographer Fabrizio Ferri owns their superbly restored dammusi, Sting, Sharon Stone,Michelle Pfaiffer, Madonna often take a break in the island as their guests. Gerard Depardieu and Carole Bouquet bought eight hectares and started their production of Passito di Pantelleria named Sangue d’Oro who got 91 points from Wine Spectator in 2009.
Your Sicily wine trip in Pantelleria, the ultimate luxury escape for wine lovers and luxury travellers.