Sicily is a historic crossroads of the Mediterranean with a history of winemaking dating back over three thousand years ago. It is one of the oldest, and largest, wine-producing regions across the country, and with over sixty native wine varieties, produces flavors of wine that will not be found in any other region.
In the past, Sicily was known to produce wine in bulk as farmers once favored higher yields over quality products, but in the 1980s, the Sicilian wine scene was revived, and producers began to restrict yields to focus on indigenous varieties, which now has the region producing some of the best wine out of Europe.
If you want to make your own wine and want to see which grapes are used to make Sicilian wine, you came to just the right place as below, we share a list of grapes used in Sicilian wine so you can enjoy the taste of your own wine while having a great conversation starter when sharing some with friends and family.
First, we want to say there are over ten thousand wine grape varieties to choose from, and only a select few have global acclaim and popularity, this said, the grapes below are not the end-all list, and if you see we have not shared one you feel we should have, reach out to us so we can consider adding it to our directory.
Etna Rosso is a “volcanic” dry red wine produced with two types of Nerello grapes grown at the foot of Mount Etna that give it a warm, fresh, berry flavor that is distinctly acidic. The prestigious Etna DOC is well-known for making excellent wines. Read More.
As the most popularly grown, red grape variety in Sicily, it was brought to the region by ancient Greeks and is still grown and loved to this very day.
It grows best in Noto and Pachino (where it thrives in a dry climate with coastal sea breezes) and is known for its ruby-dark color and strong hints of spice, tobacco, chocolate, and black cherry aromas. Click here to learn more about this grape and the wines it is used in.
This white, late-ripening grape is indigenous to Eastern areas of Sicily and is the main grape used in Etna DOC wine where it is often blended with Catarratto and Minella Bianca, although, many make delicious, single-varietal Carricante that is great for those that want a unique taste few other grapes offer.
These grapes grow at higher altitude vineyards (near Mount Etna) which makes them acidic and better suited for aging, they result in zesty-flavored wine with hints of anise, mint, green lime, and lemon citrus. Click here to learn more about Carricante.
This is one of the most-grown grapes as it accounts for nearly a third of all plantings in vineyards on the island, it has seven biotypes but the main ones are Catarratto Bianco, Bianco Lucido, and Bianco Commune.
Catarratto, and Zibibbo, are also parent grapes to Grillo, which is a popular, white wine variety in Sicily.
This grape is a descendant of Garganega (white Italian grapes used in Soave/Veneto wines) and is used in many DOC wines, including Marsala and Etna Bianco. It packs vibrant, energetic tastes with hints of citrus, salinity, orange blossoms, and tropical grapefruit, learn more about Catarratto here.
Grillo, which is also known as Riddu and Rossese Bianco, is an essential grape in Marsala wine due to its high sugar content, which makes it a great variety for blends ranging from dry to light to sweet or full-bodied.
Grillo-made wine has hints of herbs, melon, lemon citrus, and white peach/flower, making for rich-tasty, single-varietal wine that many blend with Inzolia, Catarratto, or Chardonnay from the Sicilia DOC brand, visit here to learn more on Grillo grapes.
Zibibbo, also known as the Muscat of Alexandria, is a white grape that many believe came from Egypt. It is among the rarest of grapes in the world and is not only used to make wine but as table/raisin grapes too.
Zibobbo is one of the oldest, white-grape varieties and dates back over five thousand years when Egyptians used them to make wine in North Africa along the Mediterranean Sea. These grapes are known to result in a soft, sweet, and persistent taste and are used to make blends that are known as Cleopatra’s wine of choice, visit here for more on Zibibbo.
This white grape variety may be native to Sicily or may have come from Greece (its origin is debated) but Grecanico Dorato is one of the most intriguing wines in the region and is now a staple in many of the white Sicilian wines we enjoy today.
Over ninety percent of Grecanico grapes are grown in Sicily (north of Mount Etna) where it thrives in volcanic soil that is rich in nutrients/minerals, which gives them a distinctive taste that brightens the scent and aroma of any wine that uses them.
Visit here to learn more about Grecanico, and the wines they are used and infused in.
Nerello Cappuccio is a dark grape grown at high elevation by Mount Etna and other mountains in the Messina region, this grape plays a big role in the making of Nerello Mascalese (a red wine) and is used in many FARO DOC blends.
Despite not being used in complex blends, it has silky, highly inviting aromas with hints of berry, violet, cherry, and dried herbs.
Nerello Cappuccio is rarely in varietal wines as it is often used to enhance the flavor of its cousin (Nerello Mascalese), which is planted in larger volumes and deemed to be higher quality, visit here to learn more on this grape and the wines it is used in.
Known for its bland yet neutral and pleasant taste, Chardonnay grapes are a green grape variety used to produce white wine; it first came from eastern France in the Burgundy region but now grows in places ranging from Italy to England and New Zealand.
Chardonnay wine uses a blend of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc varieties with tastes that vary based on where they grow, it may be a dry or full/medium-bodied wine with low/moderate acidity or alcohol with hints of apple, lemon, papaya, and pineapple with hints of vanilla if aged with oak, learn more on Chardonnay here.
This Italian grape variety grows in Sicily and Tuscany, and despite being a famous ingredient in Marsala wines, is now used in more wines than ever as its crisp taste makes for great blends and single-varietal wines.
Inzolia-made wines are lightly aromatic and tend to have nutty and citrusy, strong herbal notes that have brought on many unique wines, like Sicilian DOC wine as it truly lets the palate of these grapes shine.
Visit here to learn more about Inzolia and the wines they are used in.
Nerello Mascalese is a light-bodied red wine that primarily grows on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Despite its rarity, the wine offers amazing value and a taste profile that’s often likened to fine Pinot Noir and frequently resemble the noble wines of Burgundy and Barolo in terms of aroma. Click here to learn more about Nerello Mascalese