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Salvo Foti, the extreme winemaker known as “the magician of Etna”, has succeeded in the crazy challenge of making wine on parcels located in the Etna region, where one of the highest volcanoes in Europe and one of the most active in the world is located! Salvo lives for the huge passion he has for his territory, the mountain that saw him born and that he calls “La Montagna di Fuoco” in the novel he wrote in 2008. His novel is about a journey through the vineyards and cultures around the volcano.
The vineyards of the Salvo Foti estate range from 500 to 1300 meters above sea level, in an area where the vegetation seems to be on borrowed time and where some ancient lava flows still remain. Salvo himself said, “Living on the slopes of Etna is the risk of life. It is this particularity that makes each parcel of land have its own terroir, history, grape varieties and, consequently, its own identity.
His work philosophy consists in a minimum of interventions in the vineyard and to cultivate in arbarello. This “goblet” cultivation is a traditional technique, invented by the Greeks and Romans, which consists of growing the plants in staggered rows, not by trellising them, but by planting them around a stake. The best friend of the grape is the sun,” my grandfather used to tell me. When the vine is pruned vertically, it is upright and faces the sun. If it is pruned horizontally, it sits and breathes badly. It is like a man…”.
He harvests his grapes by hand, without using pesticides or other products that are not natural. He also opts for a natural vinification with indigenous yeasts in open oak vats, without temperature control. Racking and bottling are done according to the lunar cycle and the wines are bottled with little or no filtration. The wines are made from a blend of grape varieties such as catarratto, minella, nerello cappuccio and nerello mascalese.