The settlement of Greek colonies around the island during the 8th century BCE provided an important impetus to the growth of viticulture in Sicily, as illustrated by local production of western Greek amphorae.

For climate and geology, Sicily is often considered a continent in itself. Mount Etna, with vineyards at elevations up to 1,000 metres asl, is distinctly alpine, while Pantelleria, only 75 kilometres off the coast of Tunisia, is subtropical.

An important turning point for the island’s wine production was the introduction in 2011 of the regional denomination DOC Sicilia. Yield controls and mandatory quality assurance measures were established, today adhered to by over 500 wineries.

This provides important protection for two of Sicily’s most acclaimed indigenous grape varieties, the white Grillo and the red Nero d’Avola, the names of which may no longer be on labels for non-DOC wines.

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