Abbazia San Giorgio
Pantelleria is a very special island. The black volcanic cone lost in the Mediterranean between Sicily and Africa is an expression of an intense character and a strong identity that can be found even in the simplest agricultural products.
There are certain people who honor this identity and who, without knowing it, are the incarnation of the character of Pantelleria. One is Battista Belvisi, farmer and winemaker; another is Beppe Fontana, traveling gourmet, glamour chef, and the mastermind of our communication and brand.
A long-time friendship and a similar vision of winemaking brought them together twelve years ago when they founded Abbazia San Giorgio, with eight and a half acres of vines on the outskirts of the village of Khamma. Divided into small plots 900 feet above sea level, the vines are on average 60 years old. Two thirds are cultivated with Zibibbo grapes, while the remaining are Carignano, Nerello Mascalese, and Pignatello (known by the natives as “Nostrale”).
The vines are trained in the traditional practice of vite ad alberello, a technique that is believed to have been first developed by the Phoenicians who arrived on the island more than 2,500 years ago. Vite ad alberello is included on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the first of its kind to have received this prestigious distinction.
Vite ad alberello lets the vines develop, grow, and produce splendid fruit even in the extreme conditions of the island, including heavy winds, scant rainfall, and harsh terrain. The head-trained vines grow in independent bushes close to the soil and in this way are better able to protect their fruit from the elements.
All the wines of Abbazia San Giorgio are cultivated using organic and biodynamic methods, even though they are not certified as such. Instead of pesticides, chemicals and cryptogams, weeds and pests are managed with agronomic techniques. The weeds are pulled and buried in the vineyard at the end of each winter, fertilizing and replenishing the soil, which eliminates the need for chemical and even organic fertilizers.
During the fermentation process, only the naturally occurring wild yeast from the skins are used; and with most of the wines, no sulfites are added.