The ancient stone walls of Etna vineyards

The ancient stone walls of Etna vineyards

by Monte Gorna

The ancient stone walls of Etna vineyards

Monte Gorna

MEET OUR
WINEMAKER
31/JUL/2016
end of project
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Etna is majestic and mysterious, and, above all, it’s alive. Sometimes, it spits fire. Etna is not an easy place. In order to grow vines on its slopes, for centuries local workers have built the “Custere”, terraces formed by lava rock. A piece of history perfectly integrated in the local ecosystem, a unique cultural heritage, that modernity threatens to destroy. Sebastiano Licciardello and his family want to protect them and bring them back to life.

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About the project

We have been working these vines for more than ten years. Our grandfather was a "Capo Chiurma", the leader of a team of harvesters, and in 2002 our family decided to resume the production of the autochthonous grapes of Etna in his vineyard.

When we made this decision, we were aware that working here does not only mean viticulture. It also means to take care of a small part of "Muntagna", Etna, as it is called by the inhabitants, a treasure for Italy and for the entire world.

 

Etna is not just a mountain. Etna is a volcano, the highest in Europe. It is majestic and mysterious, and above all it’s alive. Sometimes it spits fire.

It’s not easy to live with Etna.

Its magnificence and strength are almost disarming and we must respect them. Its presence makes our land so special: beyond the extraordinary typical volcanic soil, these places are characterized by a complex landscape. There are different levels and slopes and this doesn’t make the work of winemakers easy. Especially in the past when technology did not exist and patience and physical strength were the only allies to face this hard work.

 

To solve this problem, local workers began to reshape the profiles of the mountain with terraces of lava rock. They are called "Custere", and they are terraces formed by lava stone walls and the "rasole", small streets over the walls.

The "Custere" are perfectly integrated within the environment and they facilitate our work. We don’t know when they were built, maybe centuries ago. We only know that the "Custere" are part of this ecosystem, and it is not uncommon to see them covered by lichen and moss, the ''u lippu" as we call it in Sicily.

 

Observing the old “Custere” in our properties we have a strong desire: to bring these ancient walls back to life, recreating the ancient landscape. We ask your support to consolidate the terraces of our vineyard, facilitating our long and arduous work made with energy and passion. But above all, we would like to valorise this piece of history and preserve a valuable cultural heritage, a gift for Italy and for future generations.

Monte Gorna

The Winemaker

Sebatiano Licciardello, a young boy whose faith was written in the story of his family. The choice of his father to upgrade his grandfather’s vineyard resuming the production of the native grapes to make their own wine, has predetermined Sebastiano’s future.

Now this dream is reality. This work is very hard but at the same time it gives great satisfaction. Sebastiano lives for this passion.

The responsibility for this unique heritage and the awareness of the traditions and the values coming from his ancestors, contributed to the discovery of Sebastiano’s natural inclinations and encouraged him to resume and continue the path begun by those who came before him. The road is still long but the premises are amazing.

 

Sebastiano and his family are inspired by Etna: "The way Etna made them". Etna is magic and mysterious with its stories, its legends and myths. They call themselves assistants and artisans. They practice organic farming in the vineyard. They respect the rhythms of nature to preserve the sincere expression of those volcanic soils and the biosystem in which their vines grow, without invasive methods in the cellar.

Monte Gorna

Update \4

03/Aug/2016

We made it!

Every stone, chosen with care and attention, each wooden pillars, found at the foot of Etna, every effort, under the summer sun of Sicily and under the cold winter rain, are the pieces of this large mosaic.
Step by step, in this long journey made of successes and difficult moments, Sebastiano and his family have finally rebuilt the ancient stone walls of Etna vineyards. Precious guardians of a wild and majestic land, dominated by the highest volcano of Europe.

Now Sebastiano and his family are admiring their great work. They consider it a special gift for their land, a return to old memories when the local shepherds took care of it.
A precious gift that Sebastiano and his family made thanks to their Wine Relatives and Winefriends from all over the world that helped them to realize this wonderful project.

We made it!

Update \3

30/Jun/2016

Shovel, pick... and a lot of energy!

After the selection of the stones and the wood, Sebastiano and his family have begun to rebuild the ancient stone walls of Etna!
First of all it is necessary to work the soil, and then you have to start to position each stone. In this way the walls will be able to support the slopes at the foot of Etna, where the vineyard of Tenuta Monte Gorna grows.
The stone walls will constitute a sort of terracing, very important for the life of the vineyard, but they will also create a soft and sinuous landscape. The same landscape you could admire some centuries ago thanks to the wisdom of the ancient winemakers and local farmers.
Shovel, pick and a lot of energy are the only tools for Sebastiano and his family.

Continue to support our winemakers from Etna, and you will see again the ancient landscape of this wonderful land!

Shovel, pick... and a lot of energy!

Update \2

11/Mar/2016

The first stones

Spring is in the air, the first shy sun awakes nature from the winter sleep. It's time to start planning the construction of the ancient stone walls to be ready for the new wine season.

The first important step is searching and select the stones that will compose the ancient walls.

Every big or small stone ensure the stability of the structure so they will be placed on each other by wedging their irregular and natural shapes. In this way, we will create a single monolithic block able to guarantee stability and security for years.

It is a very delicate process because everything has to be made without using concrete; we need only a lot of patience, ability and attention to create a perfect composition.

These are the first wooden pillars and rocks we have choosen, only local material to respect the territory and its ancient traditions.

Dear Winefriends and Wine Relatives, the hard work is about to begin. We need your support!

The first stones

Update \1

19/Dec/2015

Ready to start!

After the harvest during this autumn that gave us wonderful sunny days, we can finally dedicate our energies to our project of reconstruction of the ancient stone walls of Etna. Now our dream is possible thanks to the first relatives and friends who support us from all over the world.
The first step is to take the measurements of the whole extension of the terracing on which our vineyard grows, and of the stone walls built with stones of the place.
This is very important because it allows us to understand the real work in terms of quantity and volume of stones that we have to put to restore the"custere", respecting the territory and its ancient traditions.

Ready to start!

Rewards

Winefriend
8
Donation
  • individually numbered certificate of winefriend sent via e-mail by The Winefathers
Become
Winefriend
Winecousin
3
100 €
  • 1 bottle from Tenuta Monte Gorna
  • 50% discount on the purchase of 6 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna on www.thewinefathers.com
  • 1 jar of jelly Gelo di Vino di Etna Rosso Doc (ideal as a pairing for salami and cheeses such as ragusano, pecorino sardo, piacentino)
  • 1 jar of jelly Gelo di Vino di Etna Bianco Doc (ideal as a pairing for cheeses such as taleggio and mozzarella di bufala)
  • individually numbered certificate of winecousin sent via e-mail by The Winefathers
Become
Winecousin
Wineuncle/Wineaunt
0
200 €
  • 6 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna
  • 50% discount on the purchase of 6 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna on www.thewinefathers.com
  • 1 jar of jelly Gelo di Vino di Etna Rosso Doc (ideal as a pairing for salami and cheeses such as ragusano, pecorino sardo, piacentino)
  • 1 jar of jelly Gelo di Vino di Etna Bianco Doc (ideal as a pairing for cheeses such as taleggio and mozzarella di bufala)
  • 1 salami and 1 cheese, artisanal products typical of the Etna area
  • individually numbered certificate of wineuncle sent via e-mail by The Winefathers
Become
Wineuncle/Wineaunt
Winebrother/Winesister
0
500 €
  • 2 nights for 2 people on the Etna
  • visit to the vineyards, winery and places of interest in the neighborhood
  • wine and local food tasting
  • 6 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna
  • 50% discount on the purchase of 12 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna on www.thewinefathers.com
  • box with typical Sicilian products
  • customized plaque for the winebrother
  • individually numbered certificate of winebrother sent via e-mail by The Winefathers
Become
Winebrother/Winesister
Winefather/Winemother
0
1000 €
  • 4 nights for 2 people on the Etna
  • visit to the vineyards, winery and places of interest in the neighborhood
  • wine and local food tasting
  • harvest or any activity in the vineyards appropriate for the period
  • 12 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna
  • 50% discount on the purchase of 24 bottles from Tenuta Monte Gorna on www.thewinefathers.com
  • box with typical Sicilian products
  • customized plaque for the winebrother
  • individually numbered certificate of winefather sent via e-mail by The Winefathers
Become
Winefather/Winemother