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 taste

The island of Mozia is in the Stagnone lagoon, an expanse of saltpans between the towns of Marsala and Trapani; here, the aromatic herbs so typical of the Mediterranean area are shaped into sculptural forms by the winds which blow across the island. Salt is the first product to catch your attention in this unique part of Sicily: the smell is on the air and the reflection off the dried-out saltpans is blinding. Fish dominates the local cuisine; a host of species unknown in other parts of Italy is often served with couscous – a tribute to the extraordinary variety of seafood surprises to be experienced in this corner of the Mediterranean.