“Great things are done when men and mountains meet,” said William Blake (thanks to Chris Wilson of The Buyer for bringing this quote to our attention). Producing some of the most distinctive wines on Mount Etna Davide Bentivegna is a passionate advocate for natural viticulture and winemaking in the region.
Thirty years ago, no one gave a monkey's about Etna. Now it's one of the most exciting places in the world for wine. It's got it all: a long winemaking history, indigenous old vines (some of them pre-phylloxera), wonderful volcanic terroir and a cast of producers committed to making wines in a very low-intervention, vineyard-focused way - wines to can rival fine Burgundy in terms of elegance and that certain je ne sais quoi haunting quality.
To us, Davide is one of the most important players in that cast. He started Etnella from nothing (his first wine, Notti Stellate Etna Rosso, was bottled in 2010) and from the beginning was committed to low-intervention practices in the vineyard and cellar. In practical terms, vineyard work follows the phases of moon. No chemical fertilisers or pesticides are used - only low doses of copper and sulphur. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts and Davide sticks to Vinnatur rules concerning sulphur use (maximum 40mg/l total SO2 for whites and 30mg/l for reds).
Some big producers are getting in the act in Etna and starting to spoil the party as they brand up the mountain. But then the magic dies as they apply their big winery techniques. By contrast Davide is trying to protect and promote Etna winemaking tradition. His wines are the real deal and we’re proud to support him in his endeavours.