The history of the Barone di Villagrande Estate is indissolubly tied to the Nicolosi family who can be traced back to the 18th century.
Arriving from Aci at the end of the 1600s, after the concessions of the Church, together with other families with the mandate to systematically organise the transformation of the territory from a “horrid and uncultivated place to a delicious garden” (Domenico Sestini), and to facilitate the stable settling of the people, the Nicolosi family forever tied their existence to the new land, blending the Etna’s sciara (lava flow) and smoke*.
It was June 29, 1726 when Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (King of Naples from 1714-1740) with a decree considered inspired, according to the ancient scholars, from that eternal and inescapable law which regulated and dominated without contrast the life of the universe gave Don Carmelo Nicolosi, the oldest son of Don Pietro, who carefully - with love and dedication - restored the vineyards and production of a prestigious wine, the title Barone di Villagrande and a series of related privileges. Called a royal decree, as read in historic manuscripts, it was registered and executed by the Royal Secretary on July 22 of that same year.
Paolo Nicolosi, in 1869 completed the new winemaking and maturation cellar. This new structure was realised with cutting-edge materials and techniques.
But the real news was the double wine-making line, which allowed the separation of white grapes from the red grapes. Before that time, on Etna, and in the major part of Italy, white and red grapes were together made into one wine. We can irrefutably prove that Etna Bianco Superiore was born here.
In 1948 Carmelo Nicolosi Asmundo, certainly among the first in Sicily and in Italy, bottled the first reserves of Etna Rosso into 0.75 litre wine bottles to be placed on the market.
From the notes of Alfredo Maria Mazzei (Avellino 1895, Catania 1970), Director of the Italian Academy of Vine and Wine, written during a visit to Villagrande, we read:
“There is no doubt that this delicious wine belongs to the Italy’s most refined wine-making aristocracy, rather that of the world. It posses a high-grade of particular dynamogenic and tonic properties, inasmuch as the Volcano’s fire and the strength of the Cyclops is magically concealed in its molecules…” Catania, August 10, 1950.
In 1968 it was recognised as D.O.C. Etna - by D.P.R. 11/08/1968 G.U. 25/09/1968 - Sicily’s first “Controlled Origin Denomination”. Realisation volition and drafting were the work of Carlo Nicolosi Asmundo.
In all these years, and with more than 10 generations, the Nicolosi Asmundo family continues working yet today with passion and enthusiasm in loved Villagrande.