After the visit to the island of Mozia it was time to head back to Marsala and take a tour of a winery there. For more background info and history of Marsala see the entry Excursion Day - Part III : Marsala in my Erice - City of Peace and Science blog from 2014. The winery visited here in Marsala is a family owned business since 1880 called by the family namesake - Pellegrino. Here you can see some of the history of wine making in the area, and many of the traditions that are still practised today. There is opportunity for wine tasting and purchase of various wines here also. Grapes vineyards have been cultivated and wines produced in this region of Sicily going back to recorded history - centuries, millenia probably.
Like many famous wine regions in the world, the natural climate has a large influence on the grapes grown that give wines their signature flavors. This part of western Sicily has low to moderate levels of seasonal rainfall, hot daytime temperatures and dry winds, so the vineyards don't need a lot of special treatment and thrive in this environment. The grapes in this regions are different from those in many other regions. There are a wide variety of wines made in the red, rose, and white variety, but the Marsala wines are what the area is most famous for. The native grapes, winemaking process and aging system (Soleras) combine to make them special. There are many different kinds of Marsala wine and usuallay characterized by their degree of sweetness, from dry to sweet. Marsala wine also comes in various grades too, some for cooking wine and others refined for sipping. In Italy, dry Marsala is enjoyed as an aperitivo and sweet Marsala for after dessert.
City center of Marsala
There was also some time to wander about in the city of Marsala, which is the 5th largest by population in Sicily. The Cathedral of Marsala is located in the center of the town, and is dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury. It was built in the 17th centurt on the site of a previous Normans building constructed in 1176. Interestingly, the facade of this church was completed only until relatively recently in 1956. This seems to be the case for these very ornate cathedrals which take forever to finish. Marsala is a pleasant place to walk around the streets, view the architecture of the place, and visit some some of the nice fountains along the way too.
What is Marsala Wine