Viticultural area: Aeolian Islands

Associated viticultural areas Italy Italy Sicily Sicily Aeolian Islands Aeolian Islands

Aeolian Islands

From Byzantine times, the threat of pirates had forced people off the islands and meant that the population of Lipari went to the island only when it was time to look after the vines and to harvest the grapes. After Salina had been abandoned for many centuries, the population very slowly began to return at the end of the 1500s, encouraged by the leases granted by the Bishop of Lipari, peaking in the mid 19th century. The sudden increase in demand for Malvasia that occurred in the first decade of the 19th century, caused by 10,000 British soldiers stationed at Messina who were trying to face Napoleon’s possible advance on the island, gave the Salina people the tools needed to improve the quality of their wine. For 10 years the British army officials asked for the well-known Aeolian "Malvasia", and served it at the officers’ tables. This order lasting so many years triggered a development process of the local economy.

Facts and figures

Total vine-growing area of the Aeolian Islands (Sicily Region) (ha.)


Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain
(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)


Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)


Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)


Area terraced (ha.)


Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)


Area of vineyards on difficult terrain

Sloping hillsides

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

Much of the area consists of small patches, in fact 30% of the wineries cultivate less than 0.2 hectares. A further 30% have holdings between 0.2 and 1 hectare; 20% between 1 and 3 hectares and the remaining 20% over 3 hectares.

Wine-growing landscape

The land is highly fragmented and the market very difficult for smallholders. The costs of making improvements are also raised by the fact of being located on islands and by the restrictions that apply to the whole territory having been declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2000.
The agricultural landscape of the Aeolian Islands features mainly vines, caper bushes and fig trees.

Main vines

White grapes:

  • Malvasia delle Lipari
  • Catarratto
  • Inzolia
Black grapes:

  • Corinto Nero
  • Nocera
  • Nero d’Avola
  • Nerello Mascalese
  • Nerello Cappuccio                         
-- page break --