When Ciro and I first thought about re-kindling the family legacy of winemaking, which dates back to the mid 1600’s, his father told him to forget it, as a great deal of  time and money had been spent on his degree in Florence and he should go on working as an architect .  Ciro then approached Salvo Foti, a well-known winemaker on Etna, but was told in equal terms to forget it.  Undeterred, my courageous husband took up the challenge and eventually managed to seduce Salvo into working with us and ignoring his father’s upturned eyes and disgruntled tutting, accompanied by his characteristic sharp upward jut of the head, Ciro determinedly started work on clearing the ancient terraces of the Cisterna Fuori, many of which had collapsed owing to tunnelling rabbits.  Once cleared and the terraces rebuilt, they were in turn, re-planted, although the vineyard did still boast an admirable quantity of the oldest and most beautiful vines I had ever seen.  When we proudly took our first vintage, ‘Nessuno’ 1999 to the Biondi residence one evening, soon after it had been bottled, it was flatly ignored by Turi, until towards the end of the meal, he was finally persuaded to take an extremely reluctant and equally miniscule sip, after which, he firmly pushed the glass away and hastily changed the subject.  However, a decade later, the Elder Biondi appears to have softened, and regularly shares his precious winemaking secrets with his son, of whom I suspect, he is now really rather proud.


About Stephanie Biondi

Brought up in Nigeria and sent to Boarding School in England. Has been in Sicily since '91 teaching English and producing award winning wines on Mt Etna with her husband Ciro Biondi since their first vintage in '99.
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