The history of Sicilian viticulture runs parallel to the official history of the Island: it is believed to be a product of the meeting of two cultures, the Eastern and the Western one. However, it is only in the Modern Age that the production- and trade- of wine undergoes an important surge. Changes in cultivation that affected the countryside of southern Italy at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and that have the most evident manifestation in the increase of vineyards and wine production, find their complete realization in Sicily. Historically, these changes are largely attributable to the growth in demand for imports of large quantities of wine, especially in France, which was at the time ravaged by the spread of phylloxeric infections. The fragility of this trade, however, was not slow to emerge and on the eve of the First World War, the viticultural geography of Southern regions (itself shaken by infection and squeezed into the grip of trade treaties) appeared to be changed and downsized.
In terms of viticulture, Sicily has always been a real “locus amoenus ” in which the different types of climate and soil, with arid and rainy zones, volcanic, sandy, clayey, calcareous and even humiferous soils, have allowed the diffusion in the most suitable areas of the numerous vines introduced over the millennia; but the wine tradition cannot be separated from the wider cultural, landscape, historical and folk heritage of the Island, with which it continually intersects and from which it draws its own extraordinary characteristics.
Sicilian viticulture is therefore characterized by a complexity of autochthonous vines that can be classified according to their regional diffusion; among those with a greater diffusion in the different wine-growing areas of the region, there are: Carricante, the Catarratti (comune e lucido), Nero d’Avola, Nerello cappuccio, Nerello mascalese, Perricone, Grillo,Grecanico, Inzolia e Frappato.