Alessio Planeta

After completing his Masters in agriculture Alessio Planeta spent the best years of his youth studying the history of Sicily and its viticulture. He became a sort of wine-nerd, in fact he spent his so-called holidays working in France, Piemonte, California, and Australia, instead of in Ibiza or Saint-Tropez. 

Looking back, the reason was a growing doubt in his mind:  how was it possible that with such an antique history,  choice of different terroir, exciting soils, and seemingly infinite number of local varieties,  Sicilian wines were still not at the top of the wine world? 

The question needed an answer. So, along with his large family, he decided to get into the ring: the first round was Chardonnay. It definitely went well, showing that Sicily was not secondary to anyone. 

A bigger dream started to develop, the plan of a viticultural tour around the island. Nowadays Francesca, Santi and Alessio are protecting and leading a collection of six boutique wineries, to save and show the heritage and the infinite biodiversity of their vineyards and beyond. 

The main focus nowadays is on researching and developing the local and historical varieties, in parallel with the development of tourism, with the help of culture, cuisine and art, and the participation by the foundation in the first regional program to develop the sustainability in agriculture.

Science and prejudice: implications on viticulture

We like to imagine science free from discrimination, impartial, neutral. In fact, like any other human activity, it never operates in a political vacuum: even science has its prejudices. The eugenics born in the nineteenth century, which postulates the existence of “superior races” and “inferior races” and which even inspires the policy of euthanasia of the “less fit” promoted by Nazism, is an eloquent example of this. Similarly, the hostility towards American vines is not the result of scientific findings based on objective evidence, but of deductions from a time when the wine of these vines was a witness of poverty and hunger. The session will explore the common origin of American species and European vine, which is currently very divisive in the scientific community. Reflecting on the elements supporting the main positions in this regard, Prof. Scienza will show how, from a scientific point of view, the ostracism towards the vines created by the crossbreeding of American and European varieties is not only not justified, but also prevents the resolution of important problems linked to wine production.