Opening the winery Le Casematte, which was founded in 2008, was the realization of a dream for accountant Gianfranco Sabbatino. Today that dream is shared with another person. Footballer Andrea Barzagli, a wine and winemaking enthusiast, has also “taken to the field.”

Gianfranco discovered the world of wine by chance, or perhaps it was fate.
Twenty years ago I began to work in an industry – the winemaking industry – by chance, which was a thousand miles away from my own profession. But, over time, a desire to make the most of those many years of professional experience grew, eventually turning into a passion – into something of my own that finally became concrete a few years ago. After much research, I finally found in Le Casematte a real reason for justifying what has marked a life choice for me. Thus, Le Casematte, was created around the three casemates found on the property – a legacy of times that are, thankfully, long gone. Here vineyards and the cantina continue on, and I like to think of mine as a small business with solid walls and a foundation that is as deeply rooted in the land as the roots of the vines.”  

This small, bold company that runs on its own two feet with passion and determination fully reflects that philosophy of “getting things done” that characterizes its founders. Gianfranco Sabbatino is from Messina and wants to lay claim to his land, Sicily, and promote a healthy culture in the hopes that he can ambitiously add a new piece to the patchwork quilt of an active network of skilled businesses. 

After all, the company has a strong local identity as it can be found on the northern hills of the city of Messina in Faro Superiore. It is not only a commercial endeavor but includes a longstanding history with the vines that have produced wine since ancient times. That history is being updated for modern times, bringing with it signs of previous centuries as it meets new the new needs of winemaking. 

Gianfranco and Andrea’s story is one of passion and of love for the fruit of the vines; a story of men, work and respect for nature. 

Faro Superiore

One vineyard and two small forts for defending the coastline, remnants of the times of worldwide conflicts. A place where grapevines have supplanted death.    

The wine

A project that started centuries ago. A wine from ancient times that today holds a prestigious position in Italian winemaking.

Organic Farming

Uncontaminated surroundings that create the right balance in the land and reinforce the natural resistance of plants and their cycles.

Men come and go as leaves do year by year upon the
trees. Those of autumn the wind sheds upon the ground, but when
spring returns the forest buds forth with fresh vines.

Iliad – Book VI

See the Video


The vineyard overlooking the Strait of Messina is located in Faro Superiore, the hilly village on the extreme northern edge of Sicily. The company owes its unique name to three casemates, small fortified bunkers that served as refuges for soldiers going back to World War I and World War II. These were defensive shelters that still remain on the largest plot of land used by the vineyard.

The cycle of seasons changes form and generates life just as a place changes its meaning over time. Our land witnessed dramatic moments during World War II, and today it welcomes us as a place of work, production and growth.

That sense of death brought by the war has been replaced with silent rows of vines, which often sway in the winds that come off the Strait; advantageous winds that serve to keep the fruit cool and lower the humidity.


Visiting this land is a reminder of the events that have happened here over the centuries. In this ideal setting of the Strait of Messina, one must go beyond merely contemplating the extraordinary beauty of the landscape to discover the depth of the history and the mythological aspects that make this land and the world it belongs to so unique.
Even on the misty days when the Strait is enveloped in a white, dense light, it is as if Casematte’s vines are bathed in those silvery reflections that come off of the sea.


The scents of the soil mix in with those of the sea – the greens, reds, yellows and purples meld in to shades of blue at the end where the coast ends and the tumult of the sea begins with the winds that cross there. The wine takes nourishment from this environment and takes shape as this amazing miracle of nature is carried out.

Harvest 2014


Area and Vineyards

The modern, functional vineyard has recently been expanded and equipped with a new wine cellar for carrying out the refining process. There’s also a comfortable panoramic tasting room. The terraced hillsides where our vineyards stretch up as high as 500 meters enjoy northern exposure and look out on to the sea. The winds from the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas come together over the Strait of Messina, which the vineyard faces, to create a special microclimate for favorable temperature swings between night and day, even during the summer, which means our grapes aren’t affected by any kind of thermal stress during the delicate ripening phase.

Our Philosophy

Our vineyard was created out of a desire to make the most of Faro, a wine that is unique because of its characteristics and thousand-year history. It is obtained exclusively from native grape varieties that we grow organically to bring out their organoleptic qualities, and a terroir that is one of a kind. Even in the cantina we limit the work we do to the absolute minimum, keeping the use of small oak and new wood barrels to a minimum in order to obtain elegant, local wines that have personality and that best bring out the peculiarities of the grape varieties. Our Faro wine is obtained from Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera and Nero d’Avola grapes, which are exclusively grown on our estate with a yield of no more than 50 quintals per hectare.


The vineyard stretches across a total of 10 hectares, and here we grow varieties of Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Nocera and Nero d’Avola as per the percentages explained in the regulations for Faro DOC.



Nerello Mascalese (“Niuriddu Mascalisi in Sicilian) is a variety that grows near Etna outside of Catania, and in the area of Capo Faro outside Messina. Its name comes from the fact that it has been grown for centuries in the County of Mascali on land that is predominantly made up of volcanic sand. This variety ripens very late, and it is harvested between the second and third week of October.

Nerello Cappuccio (also known as “Nerello Mantellato”) is a variety that grows on the slopes of Etna in the provinces of Catania and Messina, and allows for the making of Etna DOC and Faro DOC. Its name comes from the specific shape of the plant, which grows according to the bush-trained method. The exact origin of the variety is unknown, but it has been grown here for hundreds of years.

The Nocera variety is very similar to the Nerelli varieties from an ampelographic point of view. It has traditionally been grown in Sicily in and around Messina since ancient times. Some believe that it may be related to historic wines called “Mamertinum” and wines of “Zancle,” which were celebrated by the ancient Latins. This variety was then “exported” to Calabria with some success and then in the middle of the last century to France in Provence and Beaujolais (home of Nouveau), where it is known by the names “Suquet” and “Barbe du Sultan”.

The name of the variety Nero d’Avola began as Calaulisi, which was mistakenly translated into Italian as “Calabrese;” or still others believe Calabrese was the family name of owners of a vineyard in Avola. However, Cala is the dialect form of calea or caleu, Sicilian synonyms of racina, which means “grape.” Aulisi means Aula, which is the name for the city of Avola in dialect. So it would be “Grape of Avola” (Calea Aulisi and therefore Calaulisi). Nero d’Avola was first planted in Avola. Thus the name Nero d’Avola goes back to a very time long ago.

Do not mortals have hard service on earth? Job 7:1

On a farm, the changing of the seasons marks the life of the vines. Thus, because we believe that wine has a story to tell – a story of work, sacrifice and knowledge, from the pruning to the tying of the vines all the way to harvest…“The twisted wood of those young vines holds the memory of this history, captured in the gaze of only those who know how to see it.” Our casemates watch over this land that year after year generates new vines!

Here we are!


foto saba 2

Gianfranco Sabbatino

Founder and CEO

Sabbatino found his way into the wine world about twenty years ago by chance or perhaps by fate. He became so impassioned about it and mastered it to the point where he didn’t hesitate at all when he was given the opportunity to create a new company in his city.


C’era una volta un Re,
perché ogni tempo ha un Re!
Nettuno, Il Re del mare, il nostro mare,
un giorno si unì a Ghea, la Madre Terra
e partorì Cariddi
che insieme a Scilla custodisce
da sempre lo Stretto di Messina.

Italy Portraits - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Andrea Barzagli

Socio Fondatore

Andrea Barzagli, non solo calciatore, marito e padre modello, ma, da buon toscano, anche vignaiolo di qualità.
La passione per il vino e per la terra che lo consacrò nell’olimpo del calcio, ha spinto Andrea ad abbracciare questa iniziativa in un posto incantevole.

Let’s say that our business is 8% luck and…

Boundless charm



• 8% luck   • 55% passion   • 24% determination • 13% boundless charm

This isn’t just the percentage breakdown of ingredients as it pertains to our Faro wine – it is an idea we have of ourselves that isn’t perfect, but it is perfectible. It leads us to believe each and every day that nothing happens by chance. We have reached this point after putting in a lot of effort, overcoming obstacles and willingly taking this path. A path that we like, that makes us proud and that gives us hope. A series of events led us to the world of wine with its rules and its many facets, making us passionate about it and perhaps bringing out the best in us. Because wine moves; it is not static. It makes you grow, and it pushes you. Now it is a habitual relationship with nature, plants, with the unmistakable scents of the countryside, with the tannins and the palate. Wine is not a product! It draws you in too much, you put so much into its making, its health, its goodness and taste. This is why success – be it big or small – transports you, giving you a sense of paternal pride and requited love. And then it takes off, and there’s the need for your work to be recognized, for it to go further, with our bottles crossing oceans, speaking languages, dominating shelves in wine bars in Italy and abroad, enlivening evenings among good friends. Because this is what wine does in the right quantities, without overdoing it. It brings people together, warms them and makes them more attractive to humanity.
We are already ready for our new vintage, hoping for mild weather, praying for sun and respecting the time that the earth asks of us. Le Casematte from Sicily is going far, our bottles are loaded on to large planes, dreaming yet again.

 FARO  Faro Doc

 Grape Varietals  Nerello Mascale 55%; Nerello Cappuccio 25; Nocera 10%; Nero d’avola 10%
 Training system Guyot
Harvest Traditional hand-harvesting begins the third week of September
Wine Maturation French oak barrels of medium size for 9 months
 Further Aging  In the bottle for at least 6 months

Tasting notes

Brillant hues of beautiful ruby red colors, it is dense and bright. On the nose the wine has ample and elegant perfumes of red fruit and blueberries. It has floreal notes, typical of the Mediterranean regions; it is slightly spicy with scent of black pepper and nutmeg perfectly integrated with the oak aging. On the palate the taste is well balanced between elegant and firm tannins and it has a round, rich fruity flavor wich is lond and persistent.



 Grape Varietals  Nerello Mascalese 100%
Training system Guyot
 Harvest  Traditional hand-harvesting begins the second week of Semptember
 Wine Maturation  In stainless steel vats
 Further Aging  In the bottle for at least 3 months

Tasting notes

It boasts an intense floral nose which leads to bright notes of cherry, raspberry and red currant on the palate. Light, refreshing and crisp.


Grape Varietals Nerello Mascale 70%; Nocera 30%
 Training system  Guyot
Harvest Traditional hand-harvesting begins the third week of Semptember
Wine Maturation  In stainless steel vats before aging in French oak barrels for a short period of time
Further Aging In the bottle for at least 3 months

Tasting notes

It has intense and brilliant ruby red colors with violet riflections. The nose in generous with a floreal bouquet and notes of small berries, carob and licoirece; it is well balanced with a spicy finish. On the palate has fresh acidity, rich fruit flavors with pleasant, vibrant and elegant tannins.



  Grape Varietals  Grillo 65%, Caricante 35%
Training system Guyot
Harvest Hand-harvested beginning the second week of September
Wine Maturation In stainless steel vats
Bottle Aging In bottle for at least 3 months

Tasting notes

This wine has a refined and persistent nose whose mineral and iodine notes perfectly blend with aromas of white and yellow-fleshed fruit and floral nuances, mainly mimosa and camomile, as well as fresh undertones of aromatic Mediterranean herbs.  On the palate, it is fresh and tangy with vibrant acidity, rich fruit and a long, invigorating finale, which is heightened by lively citrus notes

Cantina “Diary”

What we do is who we are…

What they say about us

  • xlogo.jpg.pagespeed.ic.bP9dFBdyfD

    " We’ve known the irresistible Gianfranco – his enthusiasm and humor, his passion for fine wine and this amazing island of Sicily – through Carlo Hauner,... "

    - Empson & Co. -
  • Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.52.21

    " Figlio di Ennenne, figlio di uve Nerello Mascalese e Nocera: questo vino mi ha subito rapito per l’etichetta, e fatto pensare invece al Figlio di... "

    - GLUCK – La bottiglia della sera -
  • Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.56.28

    " Palermo, 15 ott. (AdnKronos) - Un successo annunciato quello dei vini siciliani che hanno partecipato alla degustazione "Best wines of Sicily" svoltasi lo scorso 6... "

    - Vino: successo a Zurigo per le cantine siciliane -
  • logo

    " Photo: Gianfranco Sabbatino (L) and Andrea Barzagli Faro is one of Italy's smallest DOC's with less than thirty hectares under vine, located on the north eastern... "

    - Faro – Sicily -


Do not hesitate to contact us

Address:  Contrada Corso, CAP 98159 MESSINA
Tel. 090.6409427 – Fax 090.6782329

How to reach us: 

From the center of Messina, take the Strada Panoramica until you reach the crossroad for Faro Superiore. The winery is located in the hills in the center of Villaggio Faro Superiore.  

We can also be found here

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