The history of our Viticulture

In the vineyards of Cavanera Etna Estate there is a rare and precious treasure. The oldest part of this wonderland vineyard lays along the profile of the erupted lava, with plants characterized by extraordinary shape, size and vitality. They distinguish themselves from all others by the growing of the trunk, often evolved into concentric circles, spirals and twisted arms. Creatures that Time has forged, bringing them to us full of history and yet vital, tough, full of fruits. They are rootstock less, some of them have been planted before the Phylloxera in the early twentieth century. They are extraordinary plants.

They’re Prephylloxera. They are not just vines, plants, but the bold sculptures of nature, in which it is still alive the atavistic memory of those who planted them, a real open-air museum, where it is possible to tell the history of Etna viticulture. It is very difficult to sharply date them, since the vine wood uses to crumble along the years; we know they are rootstock less and, certainly , some of these plants date back to the time when the Phylloxera was not endemic to Mount Etna yet and rootstock less vines were commonly used. To study them closely is a unique privilege , there is not only the history of viticulture and Mediterranean oenology, there’s more: an inexhaustible source of information about the evolution of the climate, of the vintages, of what the individual plant has seen and experienced. For these specific reasons, the Department of Agricultural Sciences , University of Palermo, and the National Research Council will both keep them under observation. The first has dated them with a dendrochronological analisys confirming they’re there before the phylloxera stuck and almost 150 years old.
Specifically, the National Research Council reconstructed the genotype of these plants in order to map its ADN to compare it with that of the modern Nerello vines, currently present on Etna, finding also few AND profiles still uknown.

To protect and to keep them productive is Firriato’s most sacred and sincere commitment. This project aims at safeguarding this historical, cultural and enological heritage by preserving the germplasm and the ADN of these plants by perpetuating the genome with the offshoot technique in order to guarantee the genetic continuity of the vineyard, making it in fact immortal.

In this way, from the oldest vines, new plants are generated, which bring with them the enological, antropological and historical heritage of this vineyard

We show them to you, here they are, look at them in all their beauty.
Firriato Winery, Authentic Terroir