Menfi, 03 October 2022. With the aim of preserving, developing, and promoting ultra-premium Sicilian wines, PLANETA has now actively entered the wine distribution sector by assuming responsibility for the disposition of the entire production output of Feudi Spitaleri, located on the spectacular wine property of Castello Solicchiata at Adrano (CT), at the foot of Mount Etna.

Beginning in September 2022, the wines of Castello Solicchiata will be marketed exclusively by Planeta, which, in addition to assuming total distribution responsibility, will also oversee upgrading Solicchiata entire wine portfolio and supporting its production with Planeta’s own viticulture and winemaking resources. Distribution will be directed to the global market, with initial emphasis on key markets such as the USA, UK, and Germany, in addition to concentrated efforts in Italy, with future efforts spread across the entire product line.

The estate has always been near-inapproachable for visitors, given the extraordinary nature of its surrounds and the Spitaleri di Muglia family’s desire for privacy. The agricultural operations comprise over 300 terraced hectares, of which 60 are in vineyard. The vineyards, hewn into the rock and supported by over 100 kilometres of dry-stone walls, comprise 550,000 vines trained to the ancient Greek low-bush alberello method, lying at elevations of between 700 and 1000 metres. They are planted 70% to Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the remainder to lesser Bordeaux varieties. One striking component of the castle’s precious heritage is the Feudo Boschetto, consisting entirely of Pinot Noir, with some vines dating back to the original plantings.
The Feudi Spitaleri catalogue offers six wines, three Cabernet Franc-based and three monovarietal Pinot Noirs. It produces wines exclusively from French varieties, in accord with its founder’s wish in the mid-1800s.

The historic Castello Solicchiata project enjoys unique status, launched in the mid-19th century by the Spitaleri di Muglia family. The name of this noble, extremely ancient lineage derives from the Ospedalieri crusaders, the noble Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, and later of Malta, who, upon their return from Jerusalem, settled on Mount Etna in the late 13th century to market wine produced there. Extremely enlightened for the times, they pioneered viticulture on the volcano’s slopes, then maintained agricultural activities there through a succession of political regimes and cultures, including the commercial floruit of the High Middle Ages, the suppression of Islamic rule, and a renaissance in the 16th century.

In 1855, Baron Felice Spitaleri, the youngest Senator in the newly-established Kingdom of Italy and a founder of Italy’s winegrowing revolution, conceived a vision as audacious as it was intriguing: to build on Mount Etna a French-style chateau, with hundreds of terraces hewn into the lava rock, boasting an avant-garde viticultural model. Experimentation with native Sicilian grape varieties was entrusted to that period’s most renowned geo-botanist and ampelographer, Fr. Francesco Tornabene, professor at the famed University of Catania and founder of Catania’s Botanical Garden. Andrea Scala, architect of Catania’s Bellini Theatre, created the vineyard terraces on over 300 hectares of slopes, inspired in his design by the arrangement of seating tiers in Italian theatres.

Solicchiata thus became the favoured spot for the cultivation of noble foreign grape varieties and production of unmatched, elegant wines fully capable of standing alongside their international peers. Prestigious awards followed, with Solicchiata wines taking home First Prize at the 1888 London Exposition, the Grande Diploma d’Onore and Gold Medals in Palermo in 1889, in Vienna in 1890, Berlin in 1892, Brussels in 1893, and Milan in 1894. Solicchiata became the first official purveyor to the Royal Court of Italy and retained its primacy throughout the 19th century as the most-awarded Italian wine at international competitions and exhibitions.

“Working together with the Spitaleri family means for us participating in the winemaking dream that their ancestors crafted two centuries ago now, and translating it into the present,” commented Alessio Planeta, PLANETA CEO. “The contemporary era has seen Sicily assume a place of honour on the Italian and international wine stage, and it is certainly richer for the wines of Castello Solicchiata and for the determination displayed by an exceptional family in conceiving, creating, and evolving its own personal idea of wine by selecting Etna as such a providential locus. The current Castello Solicchiata project is driven by a deep love for our magnificent island. That attachment motivated our recent project at Serra Ferdinandea, where, together with the Oddo family of France, we conceived the vision of a “virtuously perfect” winegrowing operation, whose agriculture embodies an uncompromised harmony perfectly expressed in nature. At Castello Solicchiata, in equal measure, Planeta will tirelessly identify and develop hidden and potential resources, individuals with extraordinary potential, everything that can burnish the glorious image of Sicily as historic cradle of Italy’s history and culture and of the western world in general. We have baptised this initiative Ab Insula, From our Island, a project that brings together, both now and as it expands, the most outstanding treasures of our island that we will select, enrich, and promote for appreciation everywhere and by all.”





For an in-depth background on the history of the Spitaleri di Muglia family and of the Castello di Solicchiata project:


For a panoramic view of the Castello Solicchiata: