THE PRE-PHYLLOXERA VINEYARD
Today, at Cavanera Etnea, on Etna, we are back in the year 1882.
The Phylloxera invasion
There is great consternation in the Italian wine world because through the borders of France came the Phylloxera invasion. It is said that this aphid arrived in Europe in 1863 with some rootlings from North America and in France it already decimated nearly all Bordeaux vineyards. Even in
Italy the Phylloxera creates large-scale devastation and the national wine industry is terrified, because there is no remedy that could prevent its spread throughout the country. But at Cavanera Etnea a little agricultural miracle has happened.
A vineyard guarded by stone walls of lava rock seems immune from Phylloxera. The vines live on as usual through the natural stages of their life cycle. According to the University of Palermo, in the spring of 1882 the first shoots of Nerello Mascalese were seen by an old farmer in all their beauty and, in October, the harvest was as plentiful as ever. The same happened after 1882 in 1883 and again in 1884, and so on, up until this morning in the year 2014 when we harvested these century-old plants.
The pre-phylloxera vineyard
This is what is meant by “pre-phylloxera vineyard”: vines that are largely over one-century old and still give their prodigious fruits as they once did when they were planted. We do not know the face, or the voice, or the character of the peasant who planted the first vine, but we are still collecting the fruits of his work and of his genius. Talking about this vineyard, we will not say that its grapes are ripe, or beautiful, or perfect. We will only say that they are precious and we believe that this adjective can be perfectly understood by those who love wine with genuine passion.