HISTORY OF CONTRADE
In 2008 Andrea Franchetti, an eclectic pioneer in the field of wine, transformed a visionary idea into the most important wine festival on Etna. Thus was born “Contrade dell’Etna”, an intuition, characterized by a strongly convivial imprint, that wants to bring together local producers in the ritual of “en premieur”, directly imported from the historic tradition of Bordeaux. The first edition hosted a few producers, captivated by the histrionic personality of Franchetti, owner of both the Etna company “Passopisciaro” and the Tuscan “Tenuta di Trinoro”.
The idea is simple and yet brilliant: give new life to a land with a secular tradition,Etna.
It is on the slopes of the largest active volcano in Europe that all the Contrade rise, each characterised by unique and inimitable properties and peculiarities due to the diverse composition of the soil.
The organoleptic properties, the different microclimates and the original stratified composition of the soil, means that each Etna vineyard acquires its own identity, with a strong and incomparable soul, which makes unique and unrepeatable the explosive charm of the Volcano that powerfully explodes inside every sip of wine. Mount Etna, known as ‘A Muntagna’ by its inhabitants, with its 3.300 meters of altitude and a diameter of 45km, can guarantee an exclusive and always evolving wine production, thanks to a volcanic activity in constant movement, that continuously transforms the soil, giving uniqueness and character to the vineyards of the nearby Contrade.
The happy marriage between Etna and wine has for many centuries given prestige to the whole island, that exported the precious nectar all around Europe. When the Circumetnea railway line was built in 1895, this brought to a further growth in the distribution of the local wine and improved connections between the hinterland and the port of Riposto. Towards the end of the XIX century, following the industrial revolution, the Etnean lands experienced a setback due to the masses moving from the countryside into the cities. It was only in the early 60’s that Etna wines started to flourish again with the recognition, in 1968, of one of the first denominations in Italy, the Etna Doc.
Throughout the years, there has been a gradual and inevitable evolution of “Contrade dell’Etna”. Wine makers gathering in private cellars for wine-tasting and to compare the vintages, aware of the frenetic escalation in the wine production, have managed to keep up with the times and increasing national and international demand for their wines (cellars).
The increased popularity of the labels has given power to the event that has kept up with the “Etna phenomenon” while still giving continuity and maintaining a sense of belonging to the true essence laid down by its creator
The genuine, free spirit of its founder, always moving forward, year after year, has allowed for the event to be the imprint that Franchetti so much wanted and that winemakers also embraced, continuing to follow with respect and sense of belonging this vocation. Passion and hard work to honour a unique territory: “A Muntagna”, which around here is “like one of the family”.