Sicily VIP Wine Tour
25th to 29th September 2024
VIP Wine Tours in conjunction with the Wine School of Cheshire and Bond Travel invite you to join us on this exclusive tour of the Etna wine region in Sicily.
Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has a winemaking history going back 3000 years. With over 65 native wine varieties Sicily makes flavours that can only be found on the island. From warm waters in the Tyrrhenian Sea to the snowy peaks of Mount Etna, Sicily has most of the climates found in the rest of Italy concentrated on their one island. Sicily is a food lovers paradise, the home of Cannoli, Pasta all a Norma, Granita and the best pistachios.
Mount Etna is Europe’s highest active volcano located in northeastern Sicily. The wineries nestled on Mount Etna yield characteristic volcanic wines from vines growing on the fertile volcanic soils and micro climates around the slopes. Etna wines have a marked mineralogy and bright acidity. We will learn how the volcanic soils impact the wine.
We will drive through small authentic mountain villages, through the Sicilian countryside full of orange and lemon plantations, olives and almond trees, houses and old churches built of lava stone.
Evidence of wine growing in Etna’s foothills dates back to the 6th Century BC. DOC status was granted in 1968
After World War 11 the Italian government encouraged the mass production of wine, most of it at low quality and sold in bulk. In the 1980’s quality-minded winemakers realised the distinctive nature of their climate and terroir and took steps to improve their wine. And so Etna is now an exciting up and coming region with fascinating wines produced from indigenous grape varieties.
The dominant grape variety is a native red, Nerello Mascalese. The other native red grape is Nerello Cappuccio.
The most important white grape varietal is Carricante. The grape harvest happens during September and October. Many of the vines on Etna are over one hundred years old and have survived hundreds of eruptions and endless showering of dust, ash and even lava.
The idyllic, cliff top, medieval town of Taormina will be home for four nights, offering spectacular views across to Etna and its beautiful winding streets where you will find bars, restaurants and boutiques. A cable car journey will take you 2km below the town to some of the most famous beaches in Italy, Isola Bella, Bay of Mazzarrò, Bay of Giardini Naxos. Taormina is home to one of the most famous Ancient Greek Theatres in the world. with a stunning backdrop of Mount Etna. Many important monuments and buildings were built in Taormina by the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Spanish and the French.
Your accommodation is in the four-star Taormina Palace Hotel, a lovely small hotel in a fabulous location five minutes' walk from the pedestrian zone of Taormina historical centre, near to shops, restaurants and the Greek Amphitheatre. It has a small rooftop terrace with sea views. The 5-minute cable car ride to the beach can be found close to the hotel. All rooms have air conditioning, Wi-Fi, flat screen to and a minibar. There is also a wellness centre featuring a sauna, Turkish bath, solarium and hot tub.
We will be meeting the EasyJet flight from Manchester airport to Catania Sicily, in the Arrivals Hall on the 25th September.
Manchester to Catania EZY2137
After meeting at Catania airport, on the way to Taormina, your first visit will be to Cantina Benanti, a 19th century wine estate at the foot of the Monte Serra in Viagrande, considered both an iconic producer and a pioneer that has set a very high standard and has been an inspiration to other wineries.
Benanti only make superior wines focusing on indigenous Etna grape varieties. Benanti is one of the most celebrated and highly regarded wineries on Etna. It is the only winery on Etna with vineyards on the four slopes of the volcano. Antonio and Salvino Benanti were born and brought up in the shadow of Etna. The family winery was founded by their father, Giuseppe Benanti, in 1988. With capital made in his pharmaceutical business Giuseppe was able to hire the right experts to revive his family’s ancestral vineyards.Their wines are considered classics today.
After your visit, tasting and lunch you will head to the hotel in Taormina. Tonight will be free to settle into the hotel and explore the town..
After a free morning exploring Taormina the next visit will be to the Gambino family winery, perched on the eastern slope of Mount Etna about 800 metres above sea level. Rated by National Geographic as one of the top volcanic vineyards for wine tasting with a view, their wines are award winning and exported around the world. The winery began operations in 1978, focusing on the quality of the grapes during the 80’s and 90’s. After a tour and tasting with a view we will visit the boutique winery Fischetti.
The Fischetti is an old millstone at the base of Mount Etna in Castiglione di Sicilia that was once renovated by the Fischetti family. Their indigenous vines are an average of 80 years old. There will be a visit to the estate’s centuries-old vineyard and the old Palmento to taste various vintages of Etna DOC.
On arrival back in Taormina dinner will be at a Michelin starred restaurant in Taormina.
Today’s visit is to one of Sicily’s leading wine producers with six estates with vineyards covering 363 hectares. Planeta have established estates in five different areas of Sicily from West to East. For five centuries and through seventeen generations the Planeta family have been involved with the course of agricultural evolution in the complex land of Sicily. They didn’t plant vines on Etna until 2008 after searching for a long time for the best land for the vines. They planned Nerello and Carricante vines and in 2012 established the winery.
Their Sciaranuova estate will be dedicated exclusively to us with a visit to the vineyards, the ancient Palmento, tasting of wines from the different Planeta areas of Sicily, an aperitif and lunch.
Next will be a visit to the Tornatore winery located in Castiglione di Sicilia on the northern slope of Mount Etna. The family’s wine heritage on Mount Etna can get traced back to the late 1800’s.
Tornatore is the largest vineyard owner on Etna with vineyards from 300 to 700 metres above sea level. The Tornatore family has been growing grapes for family winemaking and to sell to large companies until 2012 which is their first commercial vintage. Here you will have a tour of the winery and a tasting
The Antichi Vinai winery is located in Castiglione di Sicilia. The history of the winery dates back to 1877 and for four generations the Gangemi family has been working with passion and dedication to enhance the production of Sicilian Indigenous vines.
The family have a very exciting day ahead planned, this is the visit they have planned in their own words.
EXPERIENCE THE VOLCANO and FEEL LIKE ONE OF THE FAMILY
A visit to the Antichi Vinai 1877 winery lets you experience and discover an ancient art in a unique, beautiful landscape where Mount Etna holds centre stage.
You can feel the family history in the air at every step in this place full of memories and hard work. We will share the story of the Gangemi family, inseparable from the story of the wine we have produced here for over a century.
We want you to feel – as much as possible – at home.
Cut into the lava basalt, the cellars are located in the best zone of the ETNA DOC area.
The first ageing cellar is a silent “waiting room”. It holds a wide variety of barrels where wines mature for years in a space that protects their repose.
In the second, like a little sanctuary, you’ll be amazed at our older oak and chestnut barrels,
imposingly middle-aged (some are already 50 years old).
The tasting takes place in the living area, which has a stunning view across the Alcantara Valley, where you can see extinct craters and vineyards spread across ancient lava hills. The show is truly spectacular.
Our wine comes from the land: the Volcano plays a fundamental role in its production and we love to promote it and tell our guests about it.
Get to know Etna and its unique landscape which creates wines of authentic character, recognised all over the world.
Wear comfortable shoes. We’re expecting you!
Working with young local expert environmental and tourist guides, we have arranged a trek on the North slope of Etna, a few miles from the winery.
So, you will be trekking on Mount Etna, enjoying the beautiful scenery and experiencing the unique landscape of the volcano. The trek is suitable for all levels to experience Mount Etna’s wild nature and lava landscapes in complete security, returning to the winery for a tour, tasting and lunch.
After breakfast there will only be time to travel to the airport in Catania in time for your flight to Manchester.
Transport for the whole trip including transfers to and from the airport in Catania.
Accommodation in a four-star hotel and spa.
Breakfast each day and one other meal per day including drinks, as per itinerary.
Winery visits and tastings.
What’s not included
Flights (these can be arranged by Bond Travel on booking confirmation to give you ATOL protection)
Meals not included in the itinerary
Compulsory travel insurance with medical expenses and repatriation
Personal expenses at the hotel
Single room supplement of £443 for four nights
Total cost for 5 day Sicily wine tour (excluding flights)
£2200 per person, based on 2 guests sharing a double or twin room.
The trip is subject to a minimum number of 10 people booking, maximum 16 people. It is possible that slight changes may need to be made to the itinerary and these will be communicated to you, a full confirmed itinerary will be sent to you a couple of weeks before departure.
A 30% non refundable deposit is payable on booking with the remaining balance due to be paid by 16th July 2024.
For any further information please contact Karen at email@example.com or 0208 144 0756
Jayne at Bond Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01925 757757
Flights booked directly with Bond Travel will add ATOL protection to your package.