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Mt Etna Wines: The Grapes That Define Gambino Winery's Essence

Every Sensational Bottle of Wine Begins with the Grapes

Every bottle of wine starts with the grapes. Before each harvest, winemakers have to decide which direction they will take to produce their vintage. No two grapes are the same. From the color of the wine to the flavors and intensity, each grape varietal has distinct characteristics that play an essential role in the winemaking process. 

Location, Location, Location!

The grapes of Mt. Etna are grown with love and care by the Gambino family. Commonly referred to as the “island within an island,” the unique environment of this active volcano in Sicily produces some of the most distinctive grapes in the world.


However, grapes aren't easily grown in extreme volcanic conditions. The Gambino family combines their knowledge and harvesting techniques, which they have perfected over the past few decades, to cultivate their vineyards with care. The fruits of their labors yield the most extraordinary and savory wines of the region.

Gambino Winery Reds

Each area of origin in Sicily is characterized by distinguishing features to produce the different varieties of regional grapes. The western region of Sicily is marked by higher concentrations, harshness and earthy volcanic toughness. The central area is known for producing the sharp tastes of red fruits. The eastern area delivers a more refined taste, with an aftertaste of dried fruits. Our red wines are made from the finest regional grapes and fused with the mineralistic undertones of Mt Etna's active volcano.

Nerello Mascalese Grapes

Named after the Mascali area in Catania where the grape is thought to have originated, the Nerello Mascalese grape grows in the cool, high altitudes of the active volcano, Mt. Etna. Grown primarily on the northeastern side of Sicily, this red grape contains a rustic black volcanic earthy note, and medium weight fine-grained tannins. Additionally, Nerello Mascalese grapes are ideal for producing sensational rosato wines.

Aged for 5 months sur lies, Tifeo Rosato is an elegant, full-bodied wine with amazing depth that exudes the beautiful aromas of red summer fruits on the cusp of ripening (i.e. watermelon or mango).

Do you prefer a medium-bodied wine? Crafted exclusively with 100% Nerello Mascalese grapes with vines aged at least 40 years, Petto Dragone is an exquisite medium-bodied red that exudes the beautiful aromas of rhubarb, goudron, lavender, and rose hip. The earthy undertones transition into a velvety finish guaranteed to draw you into the next sip.

Nero D’Avola Grapes

The Nero D’Avola grape is one of Sicily’s most talked about and exported grapes. Harvested in the lower regions of Mt. Etna, this bright ruby red grape is rich and fragrant. The Nero D’Avola grape produces a dry, well-balanced and full-bodied flavor with undertones of vanilla that transitions into a soft and pleasantly long finish. Refined in oak containers, for 9 months the Duvanera red offers sippers the memorable, 100% fruit forward taste distinct to the Nero D’Avola grape.

If you prefer something a little lighter and a bit more refreshing, the Feu D’o Rosso couples the full, fruity flavor of the Nero D’Avola with the Nerello Mascalese grape. The result is a captivating blend that encompasses a unique combination of Sicilian flavors.

Nerello Cappuccio

The Nerello Cappuccio grape is widely used as a blending grape to add color and alcohol to the wine. Also called Nerello Mantellato, this grape was named from the strange shape of its leaves which appear to protect, or "cloak" their grapes, defying with fiery and harsh elements of Mount Etna. When blended together, the Nerello Cappuccio grapes not only add color, but they also work to soften the tannins of the Nerello Mascalese grapes.

The Gambino Tifeo Rosso combines the bold taste of the Nerello Mascalese with colorful Nerello Cappuccio grapes that creates an intriguing and complex aromatic presentation with notes of brushwood, tobacco and subtle undertones of chocolate. This unique blend truly represents the exciting complexity of the Mt. Etna environment.

Cabernet Sauvignon & Grenache Grapes

Perhaps the most well-known grape in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are among the most popular varietals in the world. The lesser-known Grenache grapes are responsible for producing some of the world’s most exquisite wines. Grown at the higher altitudes of Sicily’s active volcano, Mt. Etna, Grenache grapes possess the unmistakable flavor of candied fruit infused with cinnamon undertones.

Gambino Alicant red wine is the perfect marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes (<90%) and Grenache grapes (>10%). Combined they present a fusion of spicy black currant and sweet matured fruits. Refined in an oak container for 12 months, Alicant is a well-balanced wine, full of character with smooth tannins and a bold structure.

Gambino Winery Whites

What better way to enjoy a warm summer day than with a refreshing glass of white wine? At Gambino winery, we are proud to produce refreshing white wines that embody Sicily's vibrant personality.

Carricante Grapes

Our Tifeo Bianco is a traditional white wine featuring the Carricante white wine grape. Indigenous to Sicily, Carricante grapes have been growing on the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna for over a thousand years. Smaller in size, this variety of grape is known for producing wines with crisp acidity, subtle peach and lemon undertones, and the perfumed aroma of yellow flowers (think fresh daisies, broom, and mimosa).

Grillo Grapes

Unlike any wine you’ve experienced before, Feu D’o Bianco is crafted from the Grillo grape. You've never heard of the Grillo grape? Well until about a decade ago - neither had most of the world. Unlike other Sicilian varieties, the Grillo is not native to the area.

Created by Antonio Mendola in the late 1800's, this hybrid grape blends the perfect combination of both the Zibibbo and Cataratto grapes. When Grillo grapes are pressed gently and the juice is fermented at cold temperatures, the finished wines exude the fresh aromas of citrus fruits (i.e. melon and pineapple) with subtle undertones of crisp white fruits (i.e. apples and pears).

Behind the Wines

Part of the magic of amazing wines is in how they convey a sense of place. Every sip tells the story of the land and history of the vineyard. Mt. Etna produces some of the world's most distinct grapes to produce extraordinary wines. However, there's more to delivering a great wine than the right grapes.

From the soil and angles of sun exposure to the way it's crafted and aged, each aspect must fit together like pieces of a puzzle to create the finished product - and the Gambino Family has the art of winemaking down to a delicate science.

To learn more about the Gambino Family and their vineyard, take a peek at last month's blog. Thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you soon!

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