The Social Cellars were born in Sicily at the end of the 1950s, forming the first cooperatives that brought together the winemakers of the territory.
Before then, the Sicilian wine was used as a blending wine for French and Piedmontese varieties, due to their characteristic strong alcohol content.
In the 70s, however, Sicilian winemakers refined their production techniques and thus began to produce the first products of the territory with a controlled designation of origin.
It is believed that, in Sicily, grapevines grew spontaneously, even before the appearance of man on Earth, as evidenced by the fossil pips found on the slopes of Etna and in the Aeolian Islands. It is also believed that since the 12th century B.C. the consumption of wine was widespread among the Elimi and other populations who inhabited Sicily during the Bronze Age.
With the Phoenician colonization, and, especially, with the proliferation of Greek colonies along the Sicilian coast since the eighth century, viticulture experienced a period of extraordinary diffusion throughout the island.
The Greeks introduced pruning, varietal selection and sapling cultivation, and planted different varieties brought directly from the motherland. Among them we remember the ancestors of Inzolia, Grecanico and Catarratto, which still today are the white grape varieties among the most cultivated in Sicily.
The importance of the culture of grapevine and wine is evidenced by the rich decorations on the wine vessels, the bowls, the craters found in the various archeological areas of Selinunte, Agrigento, Syracuse, and even by a silver coin minted in Naxos, near of Taormina, depicting on one side the head of Dionysus and on the other a bunch of grapes.
The development of viticulture in Sicily was further consolidated in the Roman period and from here, thanks to the Romans, grapevines and wine began their journey of adaptation to the different climates and environmental conditions of Europe: wine did for Rome at least as much as the its legions in the conquest and consolidation of the Empire and was an extraordinary vehicle for the cultural colonization of the peoples of the other side of the Alps, from France to Germany, from Spain to the eastern provinces.
It is said that Mamertine was Julius Caesar’s favorite wine, that Pliny the Elder liked the Faro and that the wines of Triocala and Entella were exported to many regions of the Empire.
In the following centuries, after a brief decline following Arab domination, Sicilian wines experienced moments of true splendor with the Aragonese, who began to export them throughout Europe, and later with the Bourbons. It was precisely in the period of the Viceroys, at the end of the 1700s, that Marsala was born and with it Sicilian wines landed in the Americas.
At the end of the 19th century the vineyards were decimated by phylloxera, which destroyed almost 70% of the European viticultural heritage: the replanting lasted over half a century, until its total reconstitution in the 1960s.
Since the 70’s, Sicilian enology has experienced a period of great development, gradually abandoning mass production and increasingly orienting itself towards the elaboration of quality wines: first with experimentation on international vines (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah), and in the last ten years with the rediscovery and enhancement of the most interesting indigenous varieties.
Today there are more than one hundred Sicilian autochthonous grapevines selected and cataloged, and at least twenty of them are able to give life to wines of exceptional quality. Among the red berried grapes, in addition to the Nero d’Avola -now known all over the world- we can mention the Nerello Mascalese and Cappuccio, the Frappato, the Alicante, the Perricone, the Nocera, while among the white berried varieties, apart from the splendid Inzolia (and to Grecanico and Catarratto of which we spoke earlier), the Carricante, the Malvasia di Lipari, the Zibibbo, the Moscato di Siracusa and the Grillo are worth mentioning.
These unique varieties, many of which are still unknown, represent an extraordinary ampelographic and cultural heritage, which has continued throughout the centuries and has made Sicily the island of wine par excellence.
Sicilian wines are recognized with several awards, such as Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC), Denominación de Origen Controlada y Garantizada (DOCG) and Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT).