(247 acres) of vineyards and hazelnut groves near his birthplace in Randazzo, at the foot of Mt. Etna.
Francesco grew hazelnuts and initially sold his grapes to the local cooperative, but with the implementation of DOC status for Etna wines in 1968 and a drop in the hazelnut market, he soon decided to focus his attention on growing grapes for bulk wine production, replanting the hazelnut groves to vines. In the late 1980’s, Francesco’s son Gugliemo decided to build a winery to produce his own wine instead of selling the grapes. His success in selling this wine “sfuso” (in bulk) to locals and restaurant prompted him to shift his focus to quality wine production, improving his father’s vineyards and embracing lower yields. Gugliemo was joined by his brother Enzo in the new venture and thus, in the mid-90’s the first wines labeled as “Cottanera” were born. The name Cottanera comes from an ancient village positioned alongside the family vineyards, along the banks of the river Alcantara.
The brothers began by planting international grape varieties, but the focus soon turned to traditional Etna grapes, and Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and Carricante vines were planted as well. The Cottanera philosophy is best captured in a quote by Gugliemo, “In looking to the future we can but consider all that we have received. Land, as I was taught by my father, is invaluable, as it is the beginning of all, and is what we will become.” After the death of Guglielmo, Cottanera is now guided by his brother Enzo and Gugliemo’s children Mariangela, Francesco and Emanuele.
Cottanera and the Cambria family endeavor to create a center of modern, innovative viticulture, with the goal of improving the quality of vineyards on Mt. Etna and producing wines that express the particularities of this unique territory. According to tradition, almost all work in the vineyard (including harvest) is carried out by a team of women, who’s gentleness is essential in the care of vineyards and know-how continues to be passed down generation to generation. Of the 65 hectares covered with vines, over 40 are cultivated with grapes destined to the production of Etna DOC. In 2011, after changes regarding the production methods of Etna DOC, the geographic area of origin of the grape could be indicated on the label, highlighting the differences and singularities between the various Etna contradas, giving a voice to the wine and the territory itself.(247 acres)