7 Wineries in Sicily to Check Out When Exploring the Island

Published by Jeremy.

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When traveling in Sicily, you really need to check out some wineries. But there is far more to Sicily than the famous wineries on Mount Etna, and other regions like Vittoria, Marsala, and the island of Pantelleria also make some absolutely beautiful wines from grapes like Nero d'Avola, Frappato, Nerello Mascalese (Etna), Zibibbo, fortified Marsalas, and so many more.

Over my two visits, I have had the chance to explore several wineries in Sicily, primarily focused around Marsala and Etna regions in particular.

So, in this one, I thought I'd share a bit more about each of the wineries we've personally visited and what you can expect at a tasting! Be sure to check back in the future as we will update this article when we return to Sicily and check out more producers.

Note: As with all of our winery guides, the following are a selection of Sicilian wineries we've personally visited- particularly in the Etna and Marsala areas. These are just a starting point as there are many great wineries to check out all over Sicily! It is also worth noting that many of the wineries featured in this article are available in the USA on companies like Wine.com. When tasting, we did a quick price/availability check to maximize our shopping experience.

Benanti Winery

Benanti Winery

Benanti Winery, located on the southeastern slopes of Mount Etna outside of Catania, is the kind of property that has something for everyone. They've been producing wines since the 1700s, are found in a stunningly beautiful estate that was once a former winery itself, and, perhaps most importantly, they own vineyard plots in all of the major regions in Etna.

We tried out their Selezione Benanti tour which featured a tour of the property and a sampling of five wines that showcased an array of vineyard plots from the region, including a taste of their Contrada plot wine as well (contradas are named sites, often found on the northern slopes, that have been studied for their unique terroir from elements like elevation and lava flows).

While Nerello Mascalese and Carricante are the primary grapes you'll enjoy here, we were surprised to be able to try a varietal Nerello Cappuccio as well. This grape is often used in blending, so finding a varietally pure bottle to try here was a real treat as it was highly reminiscent of a Cabernet Franc.

Although the Contrada Nerello Mascalese samples were some of our favorites, we noted that many of our favorites were available on Wine.com for similar prices at the winery, so we opted to pick up bottles of their Nerello Cappuccio and Pietra Marina Etna Bianco Superiore (which we're told is one of the finest white wines in all of Etna) to bring home with us as these are either rarely available or only at a significant premium.

Benanti Winery is located at Via Giuseppe Garibaldi 361, in Viagrande, Italy. 

Passopisciaro – Vini Franchetti


Passopisciaro, also known as Vini Franchetti, is arguably one of the most famous wineries in Mount Etna thanks to its founder, Andrea Franchetti. You'll likely hear the name Franchetti a lot if you visit any higher-end wineries in Etna, and this is because he was one of the first mainland Italian winemakers to take a chance on Mt. Etna and restored an old farm starting in the year 2000. This was Passopisciaro, which went on to usher in a fine winemaking revolution in Sicily.

The notion of contrada wine production, leaning into the nuances of the terroir of a vineyard plot (particularly around understanding the historic lava flow patterns and the respective soil and mineral deposits), has changed the way grape growers and winemakers think about Etna wine.

Naturally, we had to try their Le Contrade dell'Etna tasting to sample our way around a selection of their wines, including tastings of contrada Nerello Mascalese from a few named sites. This one helped us get a fuller appreciation of the terroir element specifically; however, we did wish we could've sampled more. That said, the winery here seemed very flexible to sample other bottles in their portfolio for an additional fee- something other guests on our tour took advantage of.

Passopisciaro is located at C. da Guardiola, Passopisciaro 95012, Castiglione di Sicilia.

Tenuta Terre Nere

Tenuta Terre Nere

Tenuta Terre Nere is another highly rated winery located in the heart of north Etna with a robust portfolio of wines ranging from entry-level wines to what they define as premier and grand cru style bottles- typically made from specific contradas.

During our early May visit to this estate, we were fortunate enough to witness bottling of some of the wines fermented in the previous year, which gave some fun and valuable insight to how wines are made locally.

My one regret with visiting Tenuta Terre Nere, however, was that we only could visit for their entry-level Terre Nere tour. This one featured a sampling of five wines, two of which were in their premier cru category focusing on contradas, and, due to availability and our schedule, we missed out on a more robust cru tasting that we would've liked a bit more. Still, a few extra bottles made their way out on this tasting (particularly because they were just bottled the day before), and we got a chance to taste some Superiore bottles side-by-side with their entry-level counterparts which made for a fun tasting experience all around.

As the quality of the premier cru wines were quite good, we purchased a few grand cru bottles sight-unseen for very similar reasons to our Benanti experience above. We can't find them at home, and we expect them to be even better than what we were able to sample!

Tenuta Terre Nere is located at Strada Comunale Calderara, snc, 95036 in Randazzo, Sicily.

Tenuta Tascante

Tenuta Tascante

Tenuta Tascante, within the Tasca d'Amerita brand, was arguably our favorite winery visit in Etna, not only because the wines themselves were quite incredible, but also because the views from the vineyard tour itself is unparalleled.

Tenuta Tascante is the Etna based location within the Tasca d'Amerita company, which owns vineyards and wineries all over Sicily. This allows the winery to have a robust portfolio of wines covering almost every grape and style you can find on the island. Still, our premium Philosophy of Tascante tour focused heavily on the Etna grown varietals, ending with a few contrada selection wines, with Contrada Sciaranuova and an old vine bottle from the same plot being two of our favorites that we bought to bring home with us.

Along side the wine tasting, one unique element we quite enjoyed was that Tasca d'Amerita also makes olive oils on each of their vineyard sites, and we also got to sample our way through a flight of five olive oils to see how the terroir of various regions influence the taste of oil just as it does the wine. They were strikingly different!

Tenuta Tascante is located at Contrada Rampante, Sicily.

Gambino Vini

Gambino Vini

The final winery we visited on Mount Enta is Gambino Vini, on the eastern slopes. I visited this one on my first visit to Sicily in 2019 for a lovely estate tour with some incredible views looking towards the east. The red Etna DOC wines were of particular note here, as tasting through their offerings helped give a nice introduction to the variations you can expect in Etna wine, including other grapes you may not expect like Nero d'Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon!

Gambino Vini's location is also of particular note, because it, like Benanti above, are easily reached from Catania or even Taormina compared to some of the more remote wineries along the northern slopes of Etna. So if you can't make it further north to taste other wineries on this list (as much as we recommend it if you have the time), the wineries on the eastern slopes like Gambino Vini are not to be overlooked!

Gambino Vini is located at Contrada Petto Dragone in Linguaglossa, Italy.

Baglio Oro

Baglio Oro

Baglio Oro was a fun visit for me near Marsala as this small, family-owned winery has a robust portfolio of some unique grapes that you can only really enjoy if you look outside of the Etna region. Think grapes like Nero d'Avola, Grillo, dry Zibibbo, Frappato, and many, many more.

Baglio Oro is the kind of estate that is growing to offer something for everyone be it tastings or other winery-oriented experiences. I visited this one, unfortunately, outside of their conventional season to check out of some of the other offerings (my visit was partly coordinated via a local distributor that carries Baglio Oro to try more grapes that they may want to carry), but I really enjoyed checking out the views and learning more about the goals of this winery in particular.

But to be able to try out more Sicilian grapes that I had not been able to access at a winery up until this point, it was a real treat- and their premium oaked Grillo was a delight!

Baglio Oro is located at Contrada Perino, 235, 91025 just outside of Marsala, Italy.



Finally, we come to Donnafugata, arguably one of the most famous wine producers in all of Sicily, with several locations found all over the island, including on Pantelleria nearby. I visited their Marsala location which is only an active winery (no grapes present) for a robust tour learning about all of the grapes and styles of wine they produce.

We always love seeing large producers when in wine regions, and Donnafugata's operation is unrivaled in terms of its production size.

Due to the timing of my visit, I was only able to organize their base-level tasting, which included sampling of wines from their four major regions of production in Sicily- Marsala, Vittoria, Etna, and Pantelleria along with food pairings to showcase the versatility of the wine. While I probably would've preferred the more premium variants of each respective grape, there is one bottle that most every tasting ends with, and the one I was most excited to try- Ben Rye.

This bottle is made in the passito style where Zibibbo grapes grown on Pantelleria are dried and soaked on grape must for a sweet, honey, and floral wine. There are average passitos that lack intensity. There are good passitos that start hitting the flavor intensity we like. Then there is Ben Rye, a passito that is so intense and flavorful it is unlike anything I have ever tried. While you can find this bottle online, and at a good price, one of the perks of visiting the Marsala winery was being able to buy bottles form their cellar, and I purchased a 10 year old bottle to get ahead start of aging (in addition to some young bottles).

While at your tasting, especially if you are looking to shop, see if you can snag a taste of their Mille e Una Notte. This super premium red is made from Nero d'Avola and is arguably one of the most famous red wines in all of Sicily. It does not come cheap, but is a lovely bottle and, much like Ben Rye, I was able to purchase a few vintages back to get ahead start of aging after sneaking a taste once our tasting ended. A real treat!

Donnafugata has several locations around Sicily; however, I visited their Marsala location at Via Sebastiano Lipari 18 for this tour. This winery is located just across the street from Marsala producer Florio, which I sadly did not have time to visit but would recommend checking out if you are able.

Do you have a favorite Sicilian winery we should check out on our next visit? Comment below to share!

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