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Old World favourites reaching new peaks on Mount Etna
- Dino and Sophie are what can only be described as the ultimate Old World power couple - she’s French, he’s Italian and both have a passion for quality winemaking. Despite both coming from countries which established the most well loved and respected winemaking traditions in the world, they certainly aren’t afraid of a good shake up.
- Eco friendly winemaking had long been a point of fascination for the duo, so when they spotted a small vineyard on Mount Etna with stunning views of the Volcano, they knew it was time to make a run of things for themselves. They take a minimal intervention approach to the winery, allowing nature to take center stage and treat each old vine (with an average age of 50!) with kid gloves.
- With Etna's volcanic soil at their fingertips, Dino and Sophie have given old world Italian wines quite the revamp. If you’re looking to enjoy premium quality wines, as well as the knowledge that you’re supporting a small family business, look no further...
Dino Distefano's Story
Dino and Sophie's Story
Sophie is a journalist and Dino is a computer scientist. They are also both entrepreneurs, sharing a passion for new challenges and building things from scratch. They also share a passion for wines and wine-making, which led them to taking up wine courses to become sommeliers.
We are French and Italian and share a passion for wines, following the long winemaking traditions of both our countries of origin. We are also curious about new wines and new ways of making wines. We are especially interested in natural, eco-friendly winemaking and our dream was always to make our own. Four years ago, we spotted a small vineyard on Mt Etna where Dino is from. We fell in love with its old vines and stunning view of the volcano. We bought it and decided to make our dream come true.
What is it about your job that you love?
We love experimenting new ways to make a unique wine that truly reflects the very specific terroir of Mt Etna's volcanic soil. Every year, we like to try something different. The first year, we mixed up red and white grapes like in the old days. The following year, we made a rosé wine. Last year, we harvested a small parcel of white vines separately and made a lovely skin-contact Orange wine in amphora. We are also very proud of respecting nature and letting it express itself, taking inspiration in biodynamic agriculture and using zero pesticide, doing all works in the vineyard manually and having minimal intervention in the winery.
What makes your wines special?
Etna's volcanic soil gives our wine a very rich, unique character and our old vines of about 50 years on average means low yields but very high quality. We use no pesticides, no chemicals or additives and only the minimum level of sulphites to keep the wine stable.
Any tales of joy or sorrow along the way?
2018 was en eventful year for Mt Etna - and for us too. First it didn't rain at all. Then it rained too much. Then came the heat wave in August and a hail storm destroyed nearly half of our grapes. Sophie was heavily pregnant and insisted to be there for the harvest. The night before the harvest, the entire village got shaken by a 4.1 magnitude earthquake, forcing us to spend the night in the car. At 6am, we were already working in the vineyard. To finish the year on a softer note, we decided to make a high-quality rosé called Sorta, which means Off-rail in Italian, to reflect the chaotic nature of the year. The result was astonishing too, but in a good way!
Most memorable moment making wine?
The most amazing and moving moment beyond the harvest itself is when we taste the first "juice" that comes out of the first press every year.