The Young Etna Terroir

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The young Etna soil

The identity of volcanic soils

Viticulture on mount Etna is affected by such a chilly and diverse climatic environment as to create utterly unique growing conditions. Lava soils on Etna are so young that the first geological evidence dates back to about 570,000 years ago. Formed as a result of the process of cooling and crystallization of magma, the high presence of minerals in the soil – like pyroxene in basalts and the flowers of sulfur – contributes to the absorption of energetic substances needed for the production cycle of the vines.

The influence of climate

Chilly winters and mild springs

Significant climate differences exist across the Etna terroir. The weather impact on the Cavanera vineyard varies according to factors such as exposure to sunlight and altitude as well as the orographic conformation of the estate. Large variations in temperature between day and night, as well as the heavy snowfalls which blanket the summit of Etna, – especially in October and November – define the organoleptic features of the grapes giving life to the wines from this area.

Mountain altitude

Mountain climate in the Mediterranean area

Up to 1000 metres above sea level, there is intensive grape production. The volcanic structure of the Etna terroir is extremely fertile: besides vineyards, one can find almond orchards, pistachio trees and hazels as well as olive groves. There is no well-defined hydrographic system in the areas covered with lava: here winter snow and spring rains determine such utterly unique soil and climate conditions as to make up a micro-continent within Sicily.

Solar activity on Mount Etna

The sun and the mountains in Sicily

The sun’s rays falling on the minerals embedded in the structure of the Etna terroir create an interplay of light and reflections, giving rise to a unique view. The altitude of Mount Etna combined with the Sicilian latitude make for an extraordinary combination of weather and light exposure with no equals in the European winemaking scene. The extra hours of sunshine – 1000 more than in the Po Valley – help us to grow grapes producing wines with the unique features of this land.

Firriato’s Etna DOC wines

Firriato’s five great labels from the treasure trove of Cavanera

The beginning of Firriato’s winemaking history on Mount Etna dates back many years, to the birth of two historical labels: “Sabbie dell’Etna Bianco” and “Sabbie dell’Etna Rosso”. However, it is with the “Cavanera Rosso Rovo delle Coturnie” and “Cavanera Bianco Ripa di Scorciavacca” that Firriato’s style and elegance reach the highest levels among wines produced on the volcano. Mineral as well as pronounced and persistent scents characterize these two noble labels, with iron-like nuances turning into notes of wild berries for Cavanera red, while Cavanera white has salty notes and a perfect balance between freshness and acidity. To top it off, the Cavanera estate also produces Gaudensius, an Etna DOC classic method sparkling wine whose perlage adds an exclusive note to the range of labels from the volcano.


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