Wine, territory, men

Gulfi’s twenty-year-old history in Cerasuolo di Vittoria is made of wise investments

29-07-2016
Oenologist Salvo Foti in front of Gulfi, the winer

Oenologist Salvo Foti in front of Gulfi, the winery he directs together with founder and owner Vito Catania

Investing on men. And stimulating them to always do better. It is only in this way that you can do a good job in the cellar and in the vineyard. Oenologist Salvo Foti has no doubts: «It is true that wines are born in the vineyard. However, if we leave nature to its own resources, we’ll obtain nothing. Firstly, you need to know how to cultivate. Then you need proper work in the cellar too, with suitable instruments».

These are, in essence, the foundations of the Gulfi winery in Chiaramonte Gulfi, Sicily, and of the project conducted by the company’s founder and owner, Vito Catania, who wanted expert Salvo Foti beside him. Investing on skills also led to another advantage for the area, as all the employees are Sicilian, and were trained so as to be able to work in the company’s 65 hectares of vineyards.

The cellar
The cellar
The project turns 20, says Foti: «When we started in 1996, I remember there was still a strong presence of Chardonnay and Merlot in Sicily. It was as if they were becoming autochthonous varieties. With Vito Catania we decided to work with our local grapes instead».

Gulfi works in three different geographic areas: first of all, the area of production of Cerasuolo di Vittoria, where the winery has its headquarters; then there’s Pachino, where Nero d'Avola has its best expression; and finally there’s a small area on Etna.

«We focused a lot on the sapling method, which has many pros in this area. First of all, plants grows vertically, and naturally, keeping the bunches in the lower part. Moreover, we chose a high density, 8,000 plants per hectare. As a consequence, fruits are more protected, and they reach a better maturation and are healthier. On the other hand, this doesn’t allow us to mechanise the production, leading to up to 1,000 working-hours per hectare». This also means investing on their employees. Skills, as mentioned above.

The sapling method
The sapling method
The cellar, moreover, is entirely on one level: a choice that helps optimising the work. Gulfi is also an organic farm, as the choice is that of making wines that are as natural as possible.

Let’s speak about the wines, starting from the Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2015: a fresh and immediate wine, with no desire to be a “big”, heavy wine, but one enhancing aromas and drinkability. Nerojbleo 2011, instead, is a 100% Nero d'Avola characterised by elegance, also made in the Monti Iblei area. The NeroBaronj 2010, also made with Nero d'Avola grapes, but in Pachino, is completely different.

«Here we have four areas – says Foti – which are close to each other too. Yet each one offers a completely different result». Structured and elegant, NeroBaronj won’t mind a long ageing. Finally, Reseca 2010, Nerello Mascalese from Etna. In this case, Gulfi owns two hectares: the resulting wine has a surprising wide bouquet of aromas which, sip after sip, continues to pleasantly evolve.


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