Sicily Wine Tour

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A wine tour to the splendour of Sicily, the wine, the food and the sunshine

— Sicily is one of the “hot” wine regions in Italy. They have their own unique grape varieties that give wines filled with fruit and freshness. Nero d’avola, for example, makes powerful yet fresh wines, or Etna’s elegant nerello mascalese, “the Nebbiolo of the south”. The quality has increased with meteoric speed the last few decades. Etna has become one of the trendiest wine regions. It is also an island filled with culture and a rich history. They have their very own gastronomy; Sicilian food has nothing to envy the rest of Italy: fresh fish, sun-ripened vegetables and much more. And plenty of sunshine and warmth!

Tour Highlights

  • 4 nights
  • Private tastings, approx. 10
  • Focus on Etna
  • Luxurious accommodation
  • Price: [this is a sample programme]
  • Innovative winemakers
  • Dinner at Michelin star restaurant
  • Sicilian local gastronomy
  • Spectacular scenery

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Please Note: This Is A Sample Programme

This is a sample programme, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the programme, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

Next Wine Tour To Sicily-Etna

  • This tour is currently not on our tour schedule. Contact us for information about future dates or to discuss a custom tour.

Sicily, the biggest island of the Mediterranean has a very special charm. Perhaps it is the location that almost touches North Africa. Or the majestic landscape dominated by mountains and not least Etna, the volcano. Or the Greek heritage that is noticeable everywhere, for examples the temples, the arenas, and the harbour town of Syracuse.

Then there is the wine. It is getting better and better, something that you will notice for yourself on this very interesting and exciting wine tour. You can find vines all over Sicily. We will concentrate on the eastern part of the island: the vineyards in the black volcanic soil on Etna. This is a place where today many of the wine world’s winemaking stars gather.

To cover the entire island in a few days is impossible. It is a mountainous landscape and getting around takes time. But that also means that the landscape is beautiful, spectacular, and with a very long Mediterranean coast line.

A long time ago Sicilian wines were almost synonymous with Marsala. But that is indeed a very long time ago. This sweet and fortified wine is still produced on the western part of Sicily but today more people think of Moscato de Pantelleria, if they are looking for a sweet wine.

Vineyards on the volcanic soil on Etna, Sicily
Vineyards on the volcanic soil on Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
Vineyards on the volcanic soil on Etna, Sicily
Vineyards on the volcanic soil on Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

The red wines made from the nero d’avola grape have conquered the world. On the Etna slopes we find nerello mascalese and nerello cappuccino making astonishingly elegant wines. Sicily has also had great success with some very pleasant white wines from grapes such as inzolia, cataratto and carricante. In southern climates the wines can sometimes become overpowering but here on Sicily they use local grapes perfectly adapted to the hot climate.

We will stay in Catania the first and the last night. Catania has good flight connections with most of Europe. The second and third night we stay in the village of Linguaglossa on the slopes of the Etna volcano, on the north side. We will stay in a luxurious boutique hotel.

We will enjoy gourmet lunches together, often along with a wine tasting, as guests of wine producers. One of the evenings in Linguaglossa we dine together at the hotel’s excellent restaurant, which has a star in Guide Michelin. The other evenings are free to stroll around Catania and Linguaglossa and make your own gastronomic discoveries.

The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.

The coast of Sicily is dramatic and beautiful
The coast of Sicily is dramatic and beautiful, copyright BKWine Photography
The coast of Sicily is dramatic and beautiful
The coast of Sicily is dramatic and beautiful, copyright BKWine Photography

Programme — Sicily-Etna wine tour

Preliminary programme.

Contact BKWine for more details.

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Programme overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Catania, Sicily
  • Day 2, Thursday — Etna, the black soil on the slopes of the volcano
  • Day 3, Friday — Etna, the southeast side
  • Day 4, Saturday — Etna, the north side
  • Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home

Wednesday, day 1 — Arrival in Sicily, Catania

Arrival in Catania and check-in at our centrally located, four-star hotel.

Catania is the second city in Sicily, after Palermo, and is dominated by its closeness to Etna, the volcano. It is an active volcano and every once in a while, a thin layer of black dust, ashes, cover the streets of Catania. Like many other cities on Sicily, Catania was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1693. It was totally rebuilt in Baroque style. There are many beautiful baroque buildings dating from that time, not least the Doumo, the impressive cathedral.

Our hotel is centrally located, a short walk from everything in the centre. It is only a stone’s throw from the main square with the famous elephant statue and the fish market and restaurants. In other words, very well located for exploring the city.

The evening is free for you to enjoy the city. Perhaps a glass of catarratto for aperitif? The white catarratto grape is the most widely planted variety on Sicily.

There are plenty of fresh fish on the food markets on Sicily
There are plenty of fresh fish on the food markets on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
There are plenty of fresh fish on the food markets on Sicily
There are plenty of fresh fish on the food markets on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

Thursday, day 2 — , the black soil on the slopes of the volcano

Our bus picks us up at the hotel after breakfast and we head north, to Etna, up to the black soil.

Etna is Europe’s highest active volcano. And also, one of Europe’s most spectacular wine regions. The main grape here is nerello mascalese, planted on the slopes of the volcano in the black lava soil. Other grapes grown are nerello cappuccio, carricante, pinot noir and grenache. The vines are planted at high altitudes, up to 1000 meters above sea level. They are often trained in traditional albarello to low and gnarly, free-standing bushes.

Etna is the most talked about wine region in Sicily today. More and more people are buying land here, producers from the mainland and producers from other parts of Sicily. There is apparently an incredible quality potential to judge from the interest of winemakers.

Winding roads lead us to the north side of the volcano. We head towards the small village of Passopisciaro, which is 600 meters above sea level.

Winding roads take us up on the volcano. Our morning visit will be with Cantina Benanti at their vineyard Monte Serra Viagrande. It was in the late 1980s that Giuseppe Benanti started to develop the family’s old property. He studied the soil here on Etna and various clones of local grape varieties. He realized the potential for quality wines. At Benanti we find a combination of old tradition and new technology that result in superb wines.

A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily
A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily
A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

The lunch visit will be at La Gelsomina run by Tenute Orestiadi, a spectacular winery in the form of an amphitheatre. They have 15 hectares of vines, olive trees and fruit trees. After the visit and tasting it will sit down for lunch, maybe a barbecue in the garden. The last visit today will beat Vini Scirto in Passopisciaro. Giuseppe Scirto and Valeria Franco make wine as naturally as they can on 4 hectares of vineyards at high altitude. 2010 was their first vintage.

Late afternoon we check in at our lovely hotel in Linguaglossa, Shalai Resort ****. We will stay here for two nights. You have time to get settled in your room and have a look around and then we meet for a lovely dinner in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. They make Sicilian specialties and of course we will have Etna wines.

Tortellini with truffles at a luxurious meal in Sicily
Tortellini with truffles at a luxurious meal in Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily
A small village hanging on to the slopes of Etna, Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, day 3 — Etna, south-east side

Etna is big so the best thing is to visit one side at a time. Today we head down to the south-eastern side of Etna, the one that looks out to the sea and Catania.

The morning visit will be at the high-quality producer Vivera. The Vivera family bought this property in 2002. They grow 12 hectares of local grapes such as nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and carricante. Fine, complex and spicy wines.

Next stop is at Tenuta di Fessina in Castiglione di Sicilia where we will enjoy a very delicious lunch after first having visited their vineyard with very old vines and the wine cellar. Sicily has an abundance of good food gathered from the sea and from the mountains, both meat of different kinds as well as fish and seafood. And of course pasta. Silvia Maestrelli came to Etna in 2006 and was completely taken by the landscape. In 2007, the Tenuta Fessina project was born, in collaboration with a Tuscan winemaker. The wines are now much sought after.

We then follow the eastern side north and visit the beautiful estate of Barone di Villagrande near the town of Milo. Here the family has been making wine since the 18th century. We take a walk in the vineyard, take a closer look at the soil and the special training system they have. We end with a visit to the wine cellar and of course a tasting.

Late afternoon we are back at the hotel and you have a free evening take a stroll in the Linguaglossa village.

There are many old vines in the vineyard on Sicily
There are many old vines in the vineyard on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
There are many old vines in the vineyard on Sicily
There are many old vines in the vineyard on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, day 4 — Etna, the north side

Today we drive counter-clockwise around the volcano, direction north, and make more visits on the northern side of Etna. A north slope is not at all a disadvantage here.

We will visit the Pietradolce wine estate with 10 hectares of vineyards at an altitude of 600-700 meters, also on the north side. Some really old vines grow in the volcanic soil here.

Then we will visit Azienda Girolamo Russo close to the Passopisciaro village. Giuseppe Russo is the owner and winemaker and he makes concentrated wines from low yielding grapes. His wines are organically certified. Together with Giuseppe we will enjoy a home-cooked lunch accompanied by his wines and by the view over Etna.

We will also visit another fascinating grower, Frank Cornelissen. He makes wine in his special way. He works close to nature. Many love his wines, others are more hesitant. In recent years, however, he has moved away from the more extreme methods and now makes a range of different wines from vineyards high up on Etna. He is one of the big stars in Sicily.

Late afternoon we are back in Catania for our last night. Free evening in Catania.

Vineyards with the Etna volcano fuming in the background
Vineyards with the Etna volcano fuming in the background, copyright BKWine Photography
Vineyards with the Etna volcano fuming in the background
Vineyards with the Etna volcano fuming in the background, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, day 5 — Heading back home

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Go For It!

We’d love to have you with us.

You must not refuse when someone tempts you with cannolo on Sicily
You must not refuse when someone tempts you with cannolo on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography
You must not refuse when someone tempts you with cannolo on Sicily
You must not refuse when someone tempts you with cannolo on Sicily, copyright BKWine Photography

More travel information

Here are some useful pages and guides about this travel destination:

Even more info

We have written a lot about Sicily and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

Wine books

We have written more than ten wine books. They have won both national and international wine writing awards.

No other wine tour organiser has a comparable knowledge, competence and experience.

A collection of wine books written by BKWine

Tour Details — Sicily-Etna Wine Tour

Dates: [this is a sample programme]

Price per person: [this is a sample programme]

Single room supplement: [this is a sample programme]

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

ADJUST TOUR DETAILS AS NEEDED, LUNCHES DINNERS ETC ETC ETC

Included in the price:

  • 4 nights hotel accommodation, double occupancy, including breakfast in good quality 4-star hotel
    • 2 nights in Catania
    • 2 nights in Linguaglossa, Etna, at the luxurious Shalai Resort
  • Meals as described in the programme above (*):
    • 3 gastronomic multi-course lunches including tasting of different wines; at wine estate of local restaurant
    • 1 dinner at the restaurant at Shalai Resort with one star in Guide Michelin
  • Start and end point: Catania
  • Bus transport during the whole trip
  • All vineyard and winery visits
  • Private, high quality tastings at wineries, approx. 3 per day
  • Interpretation from French as needed, though some visits may be in English
  • Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide

(*) See below for more important information on our meals.

Not included:

  • Travel (flights etc) to the destination and back to your home location.

You are responsible for organising your travel to and from Catania yourself.

If you would like assistance organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.

We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time. It is a very interesting place and well worth some regular, non-wine related tourism too. We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights as needed.

For this tour to take place we must have a minimum of 4 participants registered by the “book before” date. Maximum number of tour participants: 8.

Book This Tour

Book before: [this is a sample programme]

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of [sample programme, this varies by trip]. Full payment should be received at the latest [sample programme, usually one month or 60 days, depending on the trip] before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.

It is important that your read our travel booking terms and conditions.

We also invite you to read more on why you should travel with BKWine, about customer protection, and about what you can expect from our wine tours in the section below “More on our wine tours”.

You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:

  • phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
  • Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
  • email: info@bkwine.com, or use the contact form below

“I want to book this tour” or “I want more info”

* = required

Important: We automatically send you a copy of this email when you submit it. If you have not received it within a few minutes: 1) check your spam folder, 2) consider resending it, you might have misspelled your email address. Or simply send us a normal email using our address noted just above.

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More on our wine tours

Why travel with BKWine?

We are Britt and Per Karlsson. We are specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also experts in wine in general. We are internationally published wine writers and have written ten award-winning wine books.

No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tourism and gourmet travel.

We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours, and this is what we love to do. We take it very seriously – it is not a sideline or a hobby – and what we want more than anything is to share all these wonderful experiences with you.

All our tours are led and managed by guides who have in-depth wine knowledge, and in many cases we lead the tours ourselves.

Read more on why you should choose BKWine for your wine and food tour.

Thousands of happy customers

Over the years, thousands of wine lovers have travelled with us. Many come back to tour again and again with BKWine to new wine regions. Our record-breaking client has been on more than ten BKWine tours. We are happy and proud to have such faithful customers.

Read more on what travellers have said about our tours.

Awards and Mentions

We’re pleased and proud to have received many accolades, including:

  • “World’s Top Wine Tours”, Travel+Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
  • “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
  • “Recommended Wine Tours”, Munskänkarna, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year”, Gourmand International awards, and many other book prizes
  • Three OIV book awards, International Organisation of Vine and Wine
  • “Wine Personality of the Year”, an honour bestowed on Britt Karlsson by Munskänkarna in 2011, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • Inclusion on the Wine Media Power List, by Wine Business International magazine

About the wine producers and wineries we visit

Our aim is for you to experience some of the very best and most interesting aspects of the wine world, in terms of wine and food.

We put great effort into creating outstanding winery visits, and in this way we are quite different to many wine tour organisers. It is not always the most renowned, internationally known estates that offer the best experiences. Organising a wine tour featuring famous names of the wine world is relatively easy: it is merely a question of making lists and ticking boxes. On those kind of “bucket list” wine tours, you rarely meet the winemaker or the owner. You will simply be one of thousands of visitors they receive each year.

We do things differently. With BKWine Tours, you will meet the people behind the label, often the winemakers and/or the owners. Thanks to them, you will have a unique, truly personal experience and an insight into the wine world that no one else can offer. When you travel with BKWine, you are more like a special guest than a tourist.

We have personal connections and unparalleled knowledge thanks to more than 20 years as wine journalists, with 10 wine books published, and as wine tour organisers with more than 30 years’ experience. You can be sure of getting the best wine travel experiences with BKWine Tours.

Read more on the wine producers and wineries we visit.

A true gourmet experience: food and gastronomy

For us, wine and food are intimately linked, and this is a fundamental part of our wine travel philosophy. For this reason, a wine tour with BKWine is always an outstanding culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A BKWine tour is a gastronomic voyage that explores the deep relationship between food and wine.

Read more On Meals: Food and Gastronomy on Our Tours.

Customer Protection,  Financial Travel Guarantee, and Terms and Conditions

You can always feel safe when you book your tour with BKWine. BKWine has a bonded bank guarantee that gives full protection according to EU and Swedish law. BKWine is a Swedish limited company and as such is regulated by strict rules.

Read more on Customer Protection, Financial Travel Guarantee. and our Terms and Conditions.

When you book a tour it is important that you read the terms and conditions. BKWine’s booking terms and conditions follow the guidelines developed by the Consumer Protection Agency.

Health, vaccination and allergies

Our tours have no particular health requirements although inevitably we will be walking a certain amount in wine cellars and vineyards. Sensible footwear is a must.

Most of our travel destinations have no particular health guidelines or requirements for vaccinations or medical certificates, but if in doubt, you should always consult a medical professional, vaccination centre or relevant embassy in your country of origin.

We can always accommodate food allergies. However, in order for us to manage such requests you must let us know about any allergies before the tour starts.

Read more in our FAQ and in our Terms and Conditions.

Travel insurance

BKWine does not sell travel insurance. If you want travel insurance, check if your regular home insurance policy includes some kind of travel insurance, or contact your regular insurance company or a travel insurance specialist.

Custom Tours

We also offer custom wine and food tours if you want to travel on different dates, or if you want something different to what we currently offer on our scheduled tours. This tailor-made service can be offered for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.

Important information

Our groups are always small. The number of people in the group may vary. The maximum can range from 8 to around 20; check the details in each programme. But our groups are always modest in size. This is important because it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.

Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!

You are expected to organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours, but once you are at the location, we take care of everything.

For more inspiration

Read our wine travel blog. For more, read our online wine magazine the BKWine Magazine with articles from all over the wine world.

And also:

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Subscribe to our free wine and travel newsletter, the BKWine Brief. Each month, it gives you news from the world of wine, restaurant recommendations, tips on our favourite wine producers and much more. It will also keep you updated on forthcoming wine and food tours.

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