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Vini di Sicilia Blog: Piccole Donne Crescono: Marilina e Federica Paternò
In 2000, Angelo Paternò bought 60 hectares (148 acres) on a hill formerly known as Poggio dei Fossi in the southeastern Sicilian province of Siracusa near the town of Pachino. After 25 years in the business as the winemaker and technical director for the Sicilian wineries Cantine Settesoli and then Duca di Salaparuta, Angelo said that the land was one of the best viticulture areas he'd seen in Sicily. Today Angelo’s daughters, Marilina and Federica, are at the helm with Angelo still helping in the cellar.
Deeply influenced by Frank Cornelissen, the guru of natural winemaking on Mount Etna, the Paternò family organically farms their land and makes wine with minimal intervention in the cellar (little or no additives, low sulfur). They respect the land and have created a polyculture to ensure ecosystem stability. Only 35 out of the 60 hectares on the property are planted with vines; the rest of the land is used for mixed farming. Grape varieties grown on the farm include Nero d'Avola, Grecanico, Muscat Blanc, Moscato Giallo, Insolia, Merlot, Tannat, Viognier, and Chardonnay. Huge concrete tanks are used for fermentation and elevage. The large concrete tanks control fermentation temperatures in the warm Mediterranean climate, thus preserving fruit and freshness.