We discovered Azienda Agricola Sofia through our friend Giusto Occhipinti of COS. They are a relatively new winery located in Solicchiata on the north side of Mount Etna, home of the region’s top red wines. The origins of the winery start with Gioacchino Sofia, the first born of family with a long history of farming in the area. In 1980, Gioacchino received just under a ½ hectare from his father of an old vineyard in the contrada of Piano dei Daini in Solicchiata. Over time the family was able to acquire neighboring pieces of vineyards from owners who had grown too old to continue cultivating. Currently the family owns about 3 hectares in total, 2 on volcanic soil in Solicchiata and one on clay soil in the famous contrada of Pietra Marina, about 3 kilometers from Solicchiata.
Until recently, they produced some wine under simple conditions that was only sold locally. Following the growing notoriety of the Etna region, Gioacchino’s children, Carmelo and Valentina, had the possibility to turn their family work into an official winery founding Azienda Agricola Sofia with their first vintage, 2017. Both Carmelo and Valentina had worked in other wineries locally, including at Vini Franchetti, and so added their newfound experience to their family’s long history of vineyard work. The winery’s official name is Azienda Agricola Sofia but in honor of their father they added the name La Vigna di Gioacchino to the label as well.
The Etna Rosso is made from 100% Nerello Mascalese and his white (currently labelled as Terre Siciliane Bianco) is made from a blend of 90% Carricante with a mix of 10% other indigenous white grapes such as Cataratto, Minella and Inzolia. The vineyards are all farmed organically, and the winemaking is natural and low-impact in terms of any wood used for vinification and aging.
Both the reds and the white are fresh and mineral-driven, with elegance emphasized over power, which this unique terroir can provide beautifully through careful stewardship from vineyard to bottle.