The Whitaker estate

The vineyards of Mozia – ancient Motya – are utterly unique.
Once a Phoenician colony, this island-museum in Marsala's Stagnone lagoon is an extraordinary archeological site, intimately linked with the history of Sicily, its people and its world-famous wines. Here the destinies of two families – the Tasca d'Almerita from Palermo and the Whitakers from England – come together in a coastal ecosystem where vineyards have long played a part. In the 19th century, the Whitaker family planted the first vines when they realised that Mozia's soil and climatic conditions were perfect for producing a wine to rival the Madeira and Port which British ships transported around Europe.
Of the island's 40 hectares, seven are planted with the Grillo grape. In the old part of the vineyard, vines are still cultivated 'ad alberello' (bush-trained), a style almost unique to the island. Building wine processing facitilities on an island which is essentially one big archeological site was out of the question, a fact which presents particular challenges. Grapes are harvested at dawn and transferred immediately to the Sicilian mainland in flat-bottomed boats. That same night, temperature-controlled trucks whisk the crates to Regaleali, where they are left to rest until the morning after, when the wine-making process begins. The result is a very special Grillo, steeped in history.
7 hectares of vines
2 to 7 meters above sea level
The Whitaker estate

To sleep

The ecosystem along this stretch of coast between Trapani and Marsala is unique in Sicily, making a visit here fascinating.

Several times a day the water dips below sea level in the lagoon: through the centuries, the sea-salt industry - a harsh but lucrative business - has flourished here. The earthworks which delineate the saltpans have given this lagoon landscape its shape. Windmills installed in the early 19th century dot the coast like so many glimmering white butterflies.

Stagnone is a deep lagoon, bounded on the sea side by the deserted Isola Grande. The Phoenicians immediately identified Mozia, in the centre of the lagoon, as an ideal place for a colony. Here they made clay pots which were traded in Sicily and Sardinia for iron ore, which in turn was transported back across the Mediterranean to the Phoenician metropolis in north Africa.

The whole island is now an extraordinary archeological site, thanks to the efforts of Joseph 'Pip' Whitaker, the wealthy Marsala producer who at the close of the 19th century bought the island to indulge his passion for archeology and birdwatching. Digging here, he unearthed a goldmine of immense knowledge and beauty.

We do not provide accommodation on the island of Mozia but are more than happy to help with suggestions for alternative lodgings to ensure that your visit to our island estate is fascinating and relaxing.