Mount Etna's Federica and Cesare have a purpose much greater than making wine: they hope their bottles will help you to time travel. By studying old texts, they've returned to ancestral methods: their own spray concoctions, foot stomping, basket pressing and making their own chestnut barrels. This is real natural wine.
"Everybody uses enological methods to try to make a good wine, but for us, that’s the wrong way. Because you see—we already know how to make wine. We’ve been looking for how wine was made in the past."
People: Federica Turillo and Cesare Fulvio
Place: Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy
Varieties: The classic Etna Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, but there are white varieties present, too. Carricante, Catarratto, but many others are a mystery!
Farming: Organic with elements of biodynamics and permaculture
Did You Know? Their vineyard was here long before them; some of the vines are at least 140 years old. The old planting method of layering is still present here; testament to time before phylloxera.
“We prepare and make our own sprays from very old recipes. It works really well, it’s very cheap, and it enriches the land and plants. We don’t want to harm the land or take anything away from it.”
They melt their own sulphur, along with other minerals, and prepare fertiliser and sprays from cow manure, milk, ash, herbs, fruits. We stop him, asking, "fruits?"
“Yes! All sorts. The point is fermentation. When things start to ferment, if you put it into water and spray, you’ll transmit energy, as you’re spraying microorganisms that are alive. Those tiny guys work in the vineyard by creating a very big energy in the hummus. That’s romance: something that gives life, that transforms, that keeps working.”
“We have trees just 50m from the vineyard, so biologically and geographically they are close to the vines. So when we made our chestnut barrel and put the wine inside, the two were in touch with one another once more. So of course, there was no bad reaction between the wood and the wine; rather they had something in common.”
He goes on to explain that the trees and the vines have more in common that what initially meets the eye: