Monday 4th April saw the closure of the 2022 edition of Le Contrade dell’Etna.
The Contrade is an amazing show case for the wines of Etna. It is a remarkable opportunity to meet with the people behind the labels and taste wines from wineries, big and small; longstanding and new.
This year the event was specially dedicated to its founder, Andrea Franchetti, who sadly passed late last year. Andrea Franchetti – a household name for those in the Italian wine industry – certainly played a hand in placing Etna wines on the map, and part of this path was indeed Le Contrade, which he initiated in 2008.
Le Contrade takes place over 3 consecutive days and is held in early spring. This year the days were divided into press, public and industry professionals, Sunday being the day for the general public, who may purchase tickets online.
Most of the stands are fronted by the actual producers and/or their knowledgeable team and so it really is a magnificent occasion to meet and ask questions about the wines, their procedures, and the territory. During the visit it is possible to taste Etna in all its forms: Spumante, White, Rosé, Red, distilled products and even olive oil.
Contrade, or districts, are how the various areas of wine production are divided and named. The complex mosaic of the volcano’s terroir is made up of over one hundred Contrade.
The four main native grape varieties of Etna are Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio for reds, rosés and spumante. Carricante and Catarratto for white wines.
Most, but not all, producers use the traditional alberello training method which must rigorously be pruned and harvested manually.
Dates for the 2023 edition should be published by the end of this year or early in the beginning of the next but if you cannot wait to know more about Etna wines get in touch to organise your Etna wine discovery.
Can’t travel right now? For an engaging Etna couch tour check out Benjamin North Spencer’s book: The New Wines of Mount Etna. It is not only an excellent reference for Etna wines but also looks into the history of the territory.