Viticultural area: The island of Pantelleria

Associated viticultural areas Italy Italy Sicily Sicily The island of Pantelleria The island of Pantelleria

Pantelleria Island

The island of Pantelleria, as writes Broggia, lived for many centuries in poverty; then in the second half of the last century, thanks to the recognition of Zibibbo, the island economy began to develop. The name of the vine comes from the Arabic zebib, which means dried grapes. In about 1929 zibibbo found a new market, exportation in its natural state as dessert grapes, however, this meant fighting the fierce competition from mainland grapes. For the agricultural year 1906-1907 the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Trade statistics showed the area of vineyards as 3084.60 hectares. It reached its maximum extension in 1925 with 5,200 hectares. In 1930 the Pantelleria vineyards took their greatest blow ever when phylloxera landed on the island. Only in 1975, after re-planting, did the vineyards regain the area covered prior to being attacked by phylloxera. The overall crisis of the agricultural sector on the island has led to a reduction in the area cultivated to today’s 1,400 hectares.

Facts and figures
Total vine-growing area of Pantelleria (Sicily Region) (ha.)

1400

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

1200

Area with slopes > 30% (ha.)

400

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

60

Area terraced (ha.)

1200

Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

500 - 600

Area of vineyards on difficult terrain

All over the island

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

The most common situation, 47% of wineries, is of holdings between 1 and 3 hectares. This is followed by 43% of wineries with from 0.2 to 1 hectare and 8% with over 3 ha. Only 2% cultivate plots less than 0.2 hectares.

Wine-growing landscape

Man’s labour can be seen throughout the island landscape; terraces and dry-stone building work and strangely shaped vine dressing, often peculiar to the island. The beauty of the terraces lends order to the scenery, connecting the various elements of a landscape so rich in contrasts to be described as “more a work of gardening than agriculture”. The rural buildings - including Dante’s gardens, which served to protect the crops from prevailing winds and the “dammusi” traditional farmers’ houses – are spread all over the island.

Main vines

White grapes:

  • Zibibbo
  • Catarratto
  • Inzolia
Black grapes:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Nero d’Avola
  • Nereo Nostrale

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