Wines of Ischia island
ARTICLE UPDATED MAY 2023
September in Ischia is dedicated to the Grape Harvest and Wine.
The island of Ischia is an outstanding wine producer in the world and in recent years many of the most important wineries of the island received prestigious prizes and awards that have increased the fame and reputation of the island.
The island in September has a particular energy, the air is crisp, the sunsets are of an exciting pink and the scent of the grape harvest inebriates tourists and Ischians.
Do you want to spend a vacation in Ischia?
THE WINE HISTORY OF ISCHIA ISLAND
"One evening on Mount Olympus Zeus and Dionysius toasted to the prosperity of the upcoming harvest. A drop of nectar fell into the sea and the Volcano Epomeo puffed with pleasure in tasting the divine drop. The Giant Typhoeus awoke and thus was born Ischia, the island blessed by the gods." (Alessia Peraro)
The history of Ischia Wine has its origin in the eighth century BC when the island was named by Greeks "Oenaria", from Greek "place of vine and wine".
The Eubeans were the first settlers of the island and they immediately understood the aptitude of the land of Ischia in producing grapes.
At that time dates back the Cup of Nestor, famous historical find of Ischia, among the first witnesses of the written Greek. The engraved epigraph reads "Of Nestor the cup good to drink. Whoever drinks from this cup immediately so will be taken by the desire for the beautiful diademed Aphrodite".
This is how the wine history of the island and of its enological culture began. In fact, wine has always been the base of the island's economy and its inhabitants soon became artists in building terraces and related dry stone walls, the famous "parracine".
Soon Ischia's inhabitants became artists in building terraces to get more portions of cultivable land.
Today it is still possible to admire terraces cultivated with vines, even in the most inaccessible and remote areas of the island.
It was during the Middle Ages, and then during the Renaissance, that Ischia's wine became such an important production that it was exported in the mainland, in the main Italian and foreign markets. Every land of the island used to produce wine and the garden of the castle was full of vines which extended as far as the present rocks of Sant'Anna which later sank in the sea because of the phenomenon of bradyseism.
Then, at the beginning of the 50's, the tourist industry took away workers from the land and many vineyards have been abandoned.
Fortunately, in the last years, the attention towards enology is increasing, thanks to the amazing results achieved by some Ischian wineries.
Ph: Ig D'Ambra Vini
This seems to be a vine of Corsican origin introduced by Hellenics around the VII century b.C..
It is a white grape variety widespread in Campania whose greatest concentration is in Ischia. The Ischia's Biancolella is famous all over the world and very loved especially in Australia and California.
It is a white grape vine of unknown origin. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was imported in the Campania islands during the phylloxera crisis which severely affected the vineyards of the Phlegrean islands. This is the origin of its name deriving from "forestiero" (not originally of Ischia). In Ischia this vine has found its best habitat and it is now one of the main grapes produced on the island, whereas on the other islands it has practically disappeared.
Il San Lunardo
It is a white grape variety from Campania cultivated in Ischia since 1700. Its name probably derives from the religious "Don Lunardo" who discovered the variety. Others believe it derives from the saint "San Leonardo". The variety is at risk of extinction. For this reason Professor Luigi Moio, journalist Ian d'Agata with the help of Eng. Giancarlo Carriero have started a project in order to try to recover San Lunardo and other endangered grapes present on the island. Read the article (italian)
It is a white grape vine probably of Sicilian origin but present since remote times on the island of Ischia so much so that it is possible to define it as local. Present mainly in the south-west of the island is also mentioned by the historian Giuseppe d'Ascia in 1867 in the work "History of the island of Ischia".
It is a red berried grape of unknown origin. It has been hypothesized that this variety was imported by Eubians in the 8th century BC during the first colonization of the island. This vine is very popular on the island and it is often blended with Piedirosso for the production of Ischia's red wines.
Guarnaccia is part of Professor Moio's project of recovery of rare varieties.
Per 'e Palummo or Piedirosso
It is a red berried grape of very ancient Campania origin, it spread between 700 and 900. It is believed this is the Colombina grape mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his monumental work "Naturalis Historia". The name of the vine certainly derives from the shape of the stalk which resembles the foot of the pigeon ("Palummo" in Ischian dialect).
It is a black berried grape whose origin is unknown but many believe it had a similar history to San Lunardo. The name means small apple and it is due to the shape and color of the grape. Cannamenu is also one of the three grapes of the project of recovery of particular varieties of Professor Moio and we invite you to read more about it.
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WINERIES OF ISCHIA ISLAND
Ph: FB Cantine Antonio Mazzella
The wineries were founded in 1940 by Nicola Mazzella and enlarged by his son Antonio. Production lands are located at about 150 meters above sea level. Grapes are still harvested by hand and kept in cellars dug in the tuff where production is perfected. The lands are reachable only by crossing ancient paths, therefore the transportation of bottles is done by sea in order to make logistics easier. The wineries are growing considerably, establishing themselves at an international level. There are really a lot of awards they have obtained in recent years such as "The Wine Hunter Award" won by Villa Campagnano 2017 and Nero70 or the award "Winery of the Year 2019" won at Vinitaly after the prestigious success obtained by Vigna del Lume 2017 as "best White Wine 2018".
Check the website of Vini di Mazzella
the winery was established in 1888 thanks to the genius of Don Francesco D'Ambra. He was the son of winemakers from Ischia for generations and decided to found the winery and to export the wine in Neapolitan markets where, since the beginning, it had an incredible success.
Business flourished from generation to generation until in 1984 the winery was passed to Mario D'Ambra. He added a new piece to the company's history by starting to export to new international markets. In 2000 the winery became property of one of the founder's grandchildren, winemaker Andrea D'Ambra who, together with his two daughters Sara and Marina, runs the winery which has become an Italian excellence in the world. D'Ambra Vini today exports as far as the remote Australian and American territories and has been winning excellent awards for more than 100 years.
We suggest you to read the interview by Pasquale Raicaldo wrote for Repubblica about enologist Andrea D'Ambra (italian version).
Check the website Casa D'Ambra
Ph: FB D'Ambra Vini d'Ischia
The winery was established thanks to Francesco Cenatiempo at the beginning of the 1900's with a small cellar at the port of Ischia, where bulk wine produced by various farmers of Ischia was bottled and sold. In the 1950's the winery passed under the young direction of Pasquale Cenatiempo, who succeeded his father and started the production of his own wine. Cenatiempo today combines the direct care of the vineyard to all the production phases, bottling, distribution and sale in different areas of the world.
Cenatiempo wines are "Wines made of hills and sea" and this poetry has earned the inclusion of Kalimera among the best 50 wines of the world at the Decanter World Wine Award competition as well as the "3 bicchieri Gambero Rosso" and the inclusion in the guide "vini di Veronelli".
See the website Vini di Cenatiempo
It was born from the recovery of an ancient winery by the Castagna family who, with great commitment, wanted to revive an area that had been completely abandoned. The terraces overlooking the sea and the wine cellar, which has been restored respecting the tradition, make this wine house a real treasure of the recent history of the island.
See the website Crateca
Founded in 1880 in Ischia porto as Alfonso Perrazzo & C.. At the beginning of 1900, thanks to the great commercial skills of the officer Alfonzo Perrazzo, the company grew strongly selling bulk wines in the mainland and exporting them as far as France. Unfortunately with the arrival of war Perrazzo went into financial crisis until the arrival of Marco Sigismondo, enologist and lover of the land who founded Ischia Sapori, the first factory of liquor production of Ischia.
Check the website Perrazzo
The winery was founded by three families Iacono, Regine and Verde. Its name comes from "pietra torcia" (flashlight stone), a term used to refer to a tufaceous rock with three holes, used, until the introduction of the modern wine press, to press grapes. Pietratorcia was born from the will to preserve the island's tradition related to wine and winery.
See the website Pietratorcia
Ph: Fb Tommasone Vini d'Ischia
the winery was established in 1870 by great-grandfather Pietro and subsequently by grandfather Tommaso. The latter, after years of activity, left the business to his son Antonio who, after the loss of his father, decided to dedicate himself to the restaurant business, moving to Germany. During the years, however, the love for wine has never disappeared, therefore in 1999 he returned to Ischia where he resumed the vineyard and the production. The company in 2005 produces the first 10000 bottles and from that year grows year after year getting extraordinary results such as "3 bicchieri gambero rosso 2019", the 2nd place at the "MONDIAL DES VINS EXTREMES", gold medal with the PITHECUSA BIANCO IGP 2018 at the "MONDIAL DES VINS EXTREMES" and many others. In 2009 Antonio's eldest daughter, Lucia, moved to Ischia. After completing her studies of viticulture and enology in Germany and enriching her curriculum with excellent experiences in Friuli, today she carries on the family business and is responsible for the production and marketing of Tommasone.
Check the website Tommasone
WINERIES TO VISIT ON ISCHIA ISLAND
Wineries of Ischia are a great artistic heritage and tradition of the island, for this reason we suggest you to visit more than one of them in order to enrich your vacation in Ischia. Visits to wineries are available all year round and offer tastings of typical products and, of course, wine. Here is a list of wineries in alphabetical order and their links, where available, for information. We always suggest you to book in advance.
A' CANTIN 'E BATTIST E CENZIN
A' CANTIN 'E CESAR
A' CANTIN 'E CIRO
Ph: Ig Tommasone Vini d'Ischia
Ph: Ig Crazy4champagne - Cantine Antonio Mazzella
CANTINA E MASTU GIACCHIN
CANTINA MONTE DE ANGELIS
TENUTA GIARDINI ARIMEI - ARCIPELAGO MURATORI
ANDAR PER SENTIERI (go for paths)
It is an event dedicated to the discovery of nature, traditions and gastronomy of Ischia. The event offers hiking and trekking along the most beautiful paths of Ischia with the supervision and careful guidance of the experts of the associazione Nemo and the Club Alpino Italiano.
The event takes place in spring and is enriched by tastings in the cellar, of typical products and wines of Ischia. This year The event will not take place. It will be organized again in May 2024.
We invite you to visit the website of Pro Loco Panza
ANDAR PER CANTINE (go for wineries)
This year the event will take place from the 20th september to the 2nd of october 2023. The event consists in guided tours to discover the wineries of the island and tasting of local wines. Tours take place from 10am to 3pm, with the exception of "cantinando sotto le stelle" (wine tasting under the stars) which is a tasting at night. For information and bookings you can visit the website of Pro Loco Panza or call 081 908436.
VENDEMMIA CON NOI (HARVEST WITH US)
This new event was born to replace the famous go for wineries that from 2020 will take place in spring to allow the great wineries of the island to participate and enrich the tours.
"Vendemmia con noi" will give continuity to the autumn celebration of Ischia's wine and will allow Ischians and tourists to immerse themselves in the rural life of the island. Find out more about the programs of the tours on the page of the Pro Loco Panza.
ANDAR PER CANTINE A NATALE (go for wineries at Christmas time)
It is an event that tends to enrich the island's Christmas entertainment program by offering excursions to wineries and tastings of typical island Christmas products. for more information contact the Pro Loco Panza
Ph: Alessia Peraro for Romantica Resort & Spa