Sicily Wine Tour Highlights
- Our Sicily Wine Tour explores this historic and spectacularly beautiful island at a hugely exciting time in its wine development
- Learn from some of the key wine producers about the transformation of Sicilian wine’s reputation.
- Stay in the historic city of Marsala – ‘the Port of God’, home of course of Sicily’s most famous wine, and offering a wealth of local bars and eateries for our free evenings.
- Sample the fruits (and vegetables, fish, grains and meats) of Sicilian’s delicious cuisine.
- Discover the extraordinary diversity and quality of Sicilian wines, its elegant mineral character whites, rich robust reds, fragrant rosés and fabulous dessert wines.
- Meet winery owners and winemakers, and experience their dedication to wine quality.
- Experience comprehensive tastings at every visit, including older vintages and several vineyard visits.
This tour is completed – read the blog
Sicily Wine Tour Itinerary
Meet at Palermo Airport and coach transfer to Hotel Carmine in Marsala. We will have a traditional Sicilian dinner at one of Marsala’s top local restaurants.
Our day starts at Curatolo Arini in Marsala. This 135 year old family owned and run business produces fabulous sweet Marsala wines, and is developing a range of table wines using native Sicilian grapes varieties.
We will visit the winery, and see the Slavonian oak casks where the finer wines age for over ten years. A Marsala masterclass exploring the range of styles will be followed by a tasting of their range of table wines made from Internation and native Sicilian grape varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Cattarrato and Inzolia.
A short coach journey then takes us to Donnafugata, another historic family owned winery, with a stellar reputation for still and dessert wines. We will enjoy a bespoke food and wine pairing experience matching eight wines with eight local dishes, and learn more about the history of the winery and the passion and dynamism of the current family members.
A short third trip will complete our understanding of the Marsala area, and we will have an evening free to explore the city and its eateries and perhaps further our exploration of its eponymous wine.
Dinner at leisure in Marsala.
Southeast of Marsala is Menfi, home to Planeta’s Ulmo Estate beside and old fortress on the banks of Lake Arancio. The Planeta family been hugely instrumental in establishing a quality image for Sicilian wine, and pioneering the introduction of new grape varieties to the island.
We will have an extended visit, taking in vineyards and winery, and learning about their wines through a tutored tasting, and a tasting lunch, experiencing varieties such as Fiano, Grecanico, Grillo, Nero d’Avola, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Syrah accompanied by local specialities made from the abundant local produce.
We may undertake a second trip as we return from Menfi, but this will be a major visit and I will fine tune the itinerary nearer the time. The evening will be free in Marsala.
Our first visit is to Cantina Fina, a family owned estate near Trapani for an extensive tasting overlooking the sea. We then head further east, to the small family estate Ceuso in Catalfimi Segesta (near the site of Garibaldi’s clash with the Bourbon Army where modern Italy was founded in the nineteenth century). Relative newcomers to the winemaking scene in Sicily, the Melia brothers set up a ‘garagiste’ winery in the early 1990’s, with the goal of producing an exceptional red wine. They succeeded and have since expanded to occupy a restored wine ‘baglio’ where we will experience a traditional Sicilian lunch accompanied by their range of wines including older vintages of Ceuso, their flagship wine (a blend of Nero d’Avola, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot).
We will have some time to enjoy Marsala at leisure before our final dinner at one of the best local restaurants.
Transfers back to Palermo Airport
Note: the Itinerary may be changed at Tim Syrad Wine Tours discretion so as to facilitate the smooth running of the tour and to accommodate great opportunities for visits or tastings that may become available.
Price and what’s included/not included in the Sicily Wine Tour:
- £999 per person based on 2 people sharing a double/twin room.
- £100 supplement for single occupancy of a double room.
- £100 discount for bookings paid for 8 weeks before departure.
- Transport from/to Palermo Airport on the first/last days, co-ordinated with specified flights (see Flight Transfers below).
- Coach for all activities in the itinerary.
- 5 days (including arrival and departure days)/4 nights in a good 3 star equivalent hotel.
- Three full days of visits and tastings. Approximately 12 wines will be tasted each day.
- Generous continental breakfast every day.
- Lunch or dinner each day, with local wines, except on the final day.
- All local taxes and service charges.
- The services of Tim Syrad as your Wine Tour manager and Wine Guide.
Please note flights are not included in the price. Many of my clients prefer to extend their holiday before or after my tours, so I let people make their own flight arrangements.
A deposit of £100 is taken at booking.
It is a condition of my accepting a booking that I have proof of clients’ adequate travel insurance.
Booking conditions are available on my website or on request.
I am going to arrange transport to coincide with the following Alitalia flights from Heathrow, via Milan Linate or Rome Fiumicino
Dep LHR 0645 Arr LIN 0940/ Dep LIN 1400 Arr PMO 1515
Dep LHR 0725 Arr FCO 1055/ Dep FCO 1440 Arr PMO 1605
British Airways flies out on Tuesdays and returns on Sundays. If you would prefer a direct flight and are happy to stay the extra Tuesday night then I recommend this option.
Return transport will connect with the 1205 flight via Rome
Dep PMO 1205 Arr FCO 1315/ Dep FCO 1415 Arr LHR 1605
There are a number of flights throughout the afternoon and evening to Heathrow with differing amounts of stopover time in Rome or Milan.
Please contact me if you would like to discuss travel options, I cannot arrange travel for you, but I can advise on what might work best.
Once I have confirmed a booking I advise clients to arrange flights and confirm travel arrangements to me. Please do not arrange flights before I have confirmed your booking.
More about what to expect from my Sicily Wine Tour
My 2017 wine tours to Sicily were so successful (read the tour report) that I am running two more in 2018.
As with all my tours I have created an itinerary that reveals the essence of Sicilian wine, without overloading the senses (and stomach) with long coach journeys and visits. I have deliberately kept our visits to easy coach rides from Marsala – which still allows us to visit many of the most exciting wine makers on the island. Several of the wineries we visit have vineyards across the island so we will get the chance to taste grape varieties from different terroirs, including some of Mount Etna’s multiplicity of mini-terroirs whose complexity and promise Hugh Johnson compared to Burgundy’s Côte d’Or in his latest Wine Atlas. We will also taste sweet Moscatos including the luscious Moscato de Pantelleria, in addition to our exploration of Marsala, Sicily’s famous fortified sweet wine.
It’s tempting to expect that Sicilian wines will be highly alcoholic and somewhat rustic. But this is not only the birthplace of European wine making, it also presents some of the most perfect wine growing conditions in the world: heat during the day but cooler nights, thanks to the proximity of the Mediterranean sea; vineyards with fabulous exposure to the sun but poor soils that encourage vines to send roots deep down, adding to the character and complexity of the wines. So we will be tasting many wines of moderate alcoholic content with great elegance and complexity – by anyone’s standards truly fine wines.
Anyone who has toured with me before will confirm that it’s not just about the wine. I seek out food experiences that complement the wines we are exploring, and express the best of the region. Sicily offers the benefits of glorious climate, varied terrains and a passionate food culture. Mediterranean diet is second nature – an abundance of vegetables, fruits, pulses and fish, with a sprinkling of local cheese and meat, and of course some wonderful puddings. We eat out every day – dinners on the first and last nights, and lunches on every day we are visiting wineries. And every day we set off fortified by our hotel’s buffet breakfast, which I can honestly say is brilliant.
There is some downtime on the Sicily Wine Tour – two evenings to be spent at leisure and some time on the Saturday. But I do recommend adding a bit of time to your visit if you can, to enjoy more of the history of this beautiful island, and in particular the sincerity and warmth of the Sicilan people’s welcome. My expertise is wine, but I can put you in touch with local tour operators who can offer itineraries to add on to your holiday, so please get in touch if you would like to discuss that.
About Tim Syrad Wine Tours
Since 1997 I have escorted over 90 groups of people on tours to wine regions in Europe and the New World. My clients keep coming back year after year because in addition to tastings and visits we really do meet the people who make the wine and tend the vines.
I personally escort all my tours, and the Sicily Wine Tour is no exception. I ensure as much as possible of the money my clients pay is spent on great food and wine, and good hotels.
For more information about me, my next tours, and previous tours I have run, and to find out what my clients say (some of whom have been coming on tour with me since 2001) please explore the website.