Sicily (now) has a special place in my heart, and in my mind. I thought it had one, based solely on some of the great, truly exciting wines I’ve enjoyed over the years, but after having spent 3 weeks there in 2016, covering all of the (major) winegrowing regions, now I know it has one. This place is wild, and yet in many ways it’s refined, and it’s got so, so much diversity – of everything.

If I were a young man/woman just starting out, and I wanted to make my way in life as a winegrower, I’d be looking seriously at the regions around Etna and Vittoria. The potential here, and (to a lesser extent) other places around Sicily (e.g. Marsala, Messina, etc.) is genuinely exciting; many of the wines are already tapping that potential.

Extended visits here generally include basing out of/near Comiso or Ragusa (wines of Vittoria), and Randazzo (wines of Etna).

If you’re visiting for the first time, pick a corner (NW, SW, NE, or SE) of the island and explore it – don’t try and see the whole island in one trip, you’ll be doing yourself a grand disservice. I can’t stress this last part enough.

That said, my upcoming 3-week visit will focus on just two winegrowing areas: Etna and Vittoria, with one day of tourism/relaxing planned in Noto. And, if time permits, a day trip to Pachino (because, after hearing about it from trusted sources and after reading this Wikipedia entry, I think I have toPachino (Italian pronunciation: [paˈkino]; Sicilian: Pachinu) is a town and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily (Italy). The name derives from the Latin word bacchus, which is the Roman god of wine, and the word vinum, which means wine in Latin; originally the town was named Bachino which eventually was changed to Pachino when, in Sicily, Italian became the official spoken and written language.

(photo: taken while visiting the vineyards/estate of Passopisciaro, Etna, Sicily)