Cantine Gulino, a historic winery in Siracusa
An old farmhouse in the countryside. Sea breeze creeping into the vine rows, swirling through the orange trees and brushing against a thriving garden.
We are in Contrada Fanusa, a place lying between the sea and the city: just a few kilometres separate the old wine company Cantine Gulino from Siracusa, true gem of southeastern Sicily.
As Pompeo Picherali (architect born in Siracusa in 1670 and responsible for the reconstruction after the 1693 earthquake) referred to in his last will, the land on which still stands the Cantine Gulino was at that time already charcterised by vineyards: «I leave the millstone with the wine cellar and the land cultivated with Muscat […]».
The Gulino family, so devoted to the land and the vine yards cultivation, took over in the late 18th century: wine was already produced in Contrada Fanusa, was sold in Siracusa – precisely in the workshop of Via Rocco Pirro, in the island of Ortigia)-, and was then exported,too.
In 1848 the aretusean territory included 1.400 hectares of vineyards. The terrible phylloxera epidemic, raging across Europe in the mid 19th century, destroyed many Sicilian vineyards and also damaged the wine business in Siracusa, where the Muscat vineyards in Contrada Fanusa was no exception. Many other crops took its place, until only the Gulino family, early in the 20th century, grafted Moscato and Nero d’Avola onto american vines, resistant to phylloxera.
This sort of tradition went on until 1950, year when the Gulino family converted the place into a vegetable farm, taking advantage of the favourable climate, mild and with very rare frosts. They planted again some vines, only in 1995, Moscato and Nero d’Avola, renovating the old tradition and restoring the old house: with the winery, its lounges and its garden, it all represents an ancient and great cultural heritage for the city of Siracusa.