Vito Catania: “Southern Italy did not suffer from the drought, only lazy vintners suffered from it”

Vito Catania

After announcing the first day of the 2014 harvest at Gulfi Estate in Sicily, owner Vito Catania addressed some earlier statements concerning the drought in southern Italy and spoke of ideal conditions for Famiglia Catania’s vineyards.

The first in Europe to start harvesting this year, Sicily is among the wine regions to have benefited from the best weather conditions in Europe. How do you explain that phenomenon?
Vito Catania: “I have no answer because I do not share the secrets of Gods, but one thing is certain, the gods are still with us. Again, this land received their favors and we are grateful. It is true the climate throughout Europe, this year, was particularly heterogenous. The sun has been shining in Sicily for a few months, which allowed Gulfi to be among the first wine estates to harvest in Europe. This is not a big thing by itself but as the full maturity had been reached, we had to begin to reap the fruits of our work done throughout the year. And the harvest will be long because it will end in October, on Etna at 900 meters of altitude. ”

With more than two months without rain, some say southern Italy suffered from the drought. What do you think?
V.Catania “It’s always the same thing, people mix everything to get to the same conclusion: global warming will change the world map of the vineyards, drought hurts the vineyards of Southern regions … But It is not fresh news that we have hot temperatures in Sicily, we are used to it ! Grape varieties such as Carjcanti and Nero d’Avola in Pachino are also used to it. The unique ecosystem that we have created at the heart of the GULFI vineyards (including our rigorous massal selections, the refusal to irrigate and maintaining the Albarello’s system of cultivation) is the best answer according to us. In reality, only lazy vintners are suffering from drought, those who did not plant the right grape varieties in Sicily, those who irrigate continuously to get yields that Nature can not guarantee alone.

The harvest at Pachino, reknown for the 4 Gulfi Crus, is starting. Any first impression?
V.Catania: “The development of the vines in 2014 reminds me of the 2005 vintage. A slow and gradual progression of maturity that leads to concentration. In this ecosystem, the vines have been able to regulate themselves. We see it very well, grapes are smaller than usual, but at the same time they are more concentrated. Albarello has been a key driver for the perfect development of the vines in Pachino, a very hot location in Sicily. This is of course a topic we like to talk about with some vintners, whether in Chateauneuf du Pape, in Napa Valley or Australia. The Albarello system is perfectly adapted to Nerelo Mascalese and Nero d’Avola as it gives them a stronger protection against external attacks such as sunshine. But it is a huge work and we must be in the vineyards much more often. As did our grandparents a long time ago!

(Write to VitaBella