According to legend, Dionysus (aka Bacchus) was the God who brought pleasure to mankind, and wine to Sicily.
Legend aside, it is certain that wine has been made in Sicily for millennia. There is evidence that Mycenaean traders cultivated grapes as early at 1,500 BC and when the Greeks began to settle in Sicily in the 8th century BC, they too were unable forgo their favourite libation, "oinos", and introduced several varieties of vines.
The next important date in Sicilian wine history is 1773, the year John Woodhouse started producing what was to become one of the island's most famous products: Marsala.
Woodhouse understood immediately that the decent local wine could be transformed, using in perpetuum techniques (similar to the solera system used to make sherry), which, through the addition of alcohol, would not only fortify the wine but also help it survive the sea journey back to England in tact. It was an instant success with the British, and other entrepreneurs, such as Ingham and Whitaker, soon hurried out to exploit the wine's popularity.
Syrah: anyone familiar with the southern hemisphere wines (or indeed French wines) will have tasted plenty of Syrah and the climate and soil of Sicily are particularly suited to this tasty grape.
Sicily is a wine-lover's paradise, such is the variety, complexity and abundance of Bacchus' unique gift!
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