Planeta's Latest Coup

Sicilian wine company Planeta is taking over the management and distribution of the Feudi Spitaleri winery on Mount Etna, with immediate effect. The winery cultivates 60ha of vineyards and is the oldest winery on the volcano - a legend that had almost fallen into oblivion.

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Solicchiata Castle on Mount Etna
Solicchiata Castle on Mount Etna
A noble history:

The noble family Spitaleri di Muglia settled on Mount Etna as early as the 14th century. It has made history in viticulture since 1852, when Baron Felice Spitaleri returned to Sicily from the Grand Tour. He created Castello Solicchiata along the lines of the French châteaux, had terraces built enclosed by over 100 kilometers of dry-stone lava walls. Moreover, he planted only French varieties and launched Italy's first Bordeaux blend in 1855. After the wines won awards at numerous world exhibitions, the Italian royal family appointed Feudi Spitali as its first purveyor to the court.

In 1907, a descendant stopped all wine sales, but at least the vineyards remained. 90 years later, wine production resumed, but hardly anyone would realise. The wines are rare and hard to find, the family lives in complete seclusion, protecting Baron Felice's lifework from outsiders.

With 550,000 vines, the vineyard is probably the largest plantation of albarello (bush vines) in the world. The areas are planted between 700 and 1,000 meters above sea level.

  • At Solicchiata it consists of 70% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The rest are a mix of other varieties from Bordeaux.
  • The heritage also includes Feudo Boschetto, which Felice chose for growing Pinot Noir. Some of the original vines are still preserved.

Currently six wines are produced, three blends of Bordeaux varieties, three based on Pinot Noir. Thus, the desire of Felice, the founder, to grow only French varieties is respected to this day.


The Planeta family will bring its winemaking know-how to the partnership. In addition to Italy, the wines will be distributed worldwide, especially in the main markets of the USA, the UK and Germany. Planeta's takeover of the management can almost be seen rescuing a cultural heritage from Mount Etna.


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