For Cummo, wine is a family affair. Indeed, the Casa Vinicola Sicania is a winery whose roots plunge deep into the history of the island of Sicily, rich in unique fragrances and flavours. A bond with wine that comes from the past, going back to the end of World War II, when Grandpa Diego decided to cultivate vineyards in a region that was still to be rebuilt. And it is precisely in the districts near Naro, places with fascinating names like Contrada Carbuscia–Arbiata, that Diego Cummo produced his first wine, from grapes including Inzolia, Catarratto, Nero D’Avola, or Calabrese. These were difficult times, Grandpa Diego worked hard as a sharecropper to give his seven children a future, and he had to give half his earnings to the owner of the fields. Consequently, in the 1970s, the Cummo brothers were able to buy those plots of land and build a winemaking facility to expand the cellar, producing wine for large companies in the North of Italy. A few years later, Calogero Cummo, son of Diego, carried on the business alone, planting new varieties: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. In 2001, Calogero’s son Diego Maurizio, went on to expand the business and bought a farm so he could finally produce his own label with wines that were pure Sicilian in character, in colour, structure and aromas. Today Maurizio tends about 30 hectares under vine, harvesting grapes that breathe life into authentic wines of the highest quality. A collection of emotions to savour to the last drop. The history of the Cummo family, the history of the winery, is bound to the territory and inspired by making a dream come true with passion and hard work, gilding the roots of tradition by preferring organic methods for some plots and modern vinification that showcases the quality of the flavour and the intense fragrance of Sicily.
Harvesting yesterday and today
The winery applies innovative technologies that are aligned with the original family tradition and safeguard the purity of the aromas, not least of all with the decision in 2001 to use organic cultivation methods in the Cummo estate vineyards, but also by developing a team of specialists who monitor the entire winegrowing process, just like Grandpa Diego used to do.
n the past, the harvest was an event that brought all the family together. The grapes were picked by hand in the rows and taken to the “baglio”, a farmhouse typical to several regions of southern Italy, built around a central courtyard. In the baglio there would be two containers carved into the rock or made of stone, and connected by a groove called a “palmento”. The first container was used for crushing the grapes, then the must was pushed by wooden blades into the grooved stone until it reached the “ritornato”, where maceration went ahead thanks to contact with the grape skins. The palmento sides were thick so the temperature was steady. The must was then taken to other tanks for fermentation, and the wine poured into barrels just in time to sell it for consumption when it was time to harvest crops. The manual techniques of yesteryear are respected in today’s technology because Cummo knows how precious tradition is in farming.
Today, grapes are still harvested by hand. Then they are soft-pressed in machines that do not break the grape seeds or crush the stalks, thus guaranteeing the quality of the must. Fermentation takes place in buried tanks where temperature is controlled by chillers. Technological innovation safeguards the family tradition of a manual harvest that retains and showcases aromas, fragrances and specific features of each variety. Maurizio tends the vines and the grapes in person, just as his grandfather did. He works with an agronomist who checks quality and pH, acidity and colour. Winemaking is supervised both by an inhouse oenologist and by a team of consultants who are tasked with the analysis of the wine. The team of specialized technicians ensures the balance and body of our wines, underpinned by the favourable conditions of a district where a climate with low humidity, the right ventilation, and the sun’s heat mean there is no need for pesticides and mildew treatments.