Faro DOC Production Regulations

Faro DOC Production Regulations


The Faro DOC production regulations call for the use of 45-60% Nerello Mascalese, 15-30% Nerello Cappuccio and 5-10% Nocera.
A maximum of 15% of other autochthonous grapes can be used (together or singularly) like Nero d’Avola.
The regulations include photographs of how Messina winemakers have produced for centuries the wine that has since taken the appellation Faro DOC.

For those who are not from Messina, Faro and Faro Superiore are two small villages that are located on the Tyrrhenian coast and the hills above.
They are just a few kilometers from the center of Messina and the Messina people have always considered this an ideal area for producing white and red wines.
So much so, that until a few years ago when a restauranteur or wine salesman (putia in Sicilian dialect) wanted to encourage the purchase of cask wine, they emphasized that the wine è ddu Faru, meaning it comes from Faro.



Approved with D.P.R. 03.12.1976 G.U. 61 – 04.03.1977

Modified with D.M. 30.11.2011 Published on the official Mipaaf site

Quality and Assurance Section – Vini DOP and IGP

Article 1


The denominazione di origine controllata “Faro” is reserved for red wines that respond to the conditions and prerequisites established in the present production regulations.

Article 2

Ampelographic Base

Faro wine must be made with the following grapes grown in the vineyard:

45-60%Nerello Mascalese;


15-30%Nerello Cappuccio;

The following grapes or a combination of such may be used for a maximum of 15%: Calabrese (Nero d’Avola), Gaglioppo (Montonico Nero) and Sangiovese.

Article 3

Production Area

The grapes used to make “Faro” wine must be grown in the municipality of Messina.

Article 4

Rules for Viticulture

The environmental conditions and cultivation techniques of the vineyards used for “Faro” wine must follow the traditions of the production area and must in any case give the grapes and wine derived from them specific characteristics. Thus, the hills and foothills and their position and orientation must be considered suitable. Plant spacing, training and pruning systems must be those generally used and, especially for new plants, those suggested by skilled technical authorities and in all cases, created to make sure the characteristics of the grapes and wine are not changed. Any practice to force things is forbidden.

The maximum yield allowed for the production of “Faro” wine must not be more than

ten metric tons per vineyard hectare for the main crop. The maximum yield of the main mixed crop must be calculated in relation to the effective area under vine according to the conditions stated in Article 2. Such limits, even in exceptionally favorable vintages, must reflect an accurate selection of the grapes so that production does not exceed the same 20% of the limit. The maximum yield of the grapes for the wine must not be higher than 70%. Grapes used for vinification of “Faro” wine must ensure a natural alcohol minimum of 11.5%, vol.2.

Article 5

Vinification Regulations

The vinification and obligatory aging processes must be carried out in the production area.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry can allows these processes to be carried out in companies who have facilities in the province of Messina, who have shown that “Faro” wine was produced and aged before the publication of the request for Faro DOC (denominazione di origine controllata) recognition in the “Gazzetta Ufficiale della Regione Siciliana, second part, no.12, 24 March 1973. “Faro” wine must undergo an obligatory aging period of one year. Aging must begin on 1 November of the year of harvest.

Article 6

Consumption characteristics

When released for consumption, “Faro” wine must have the following characteristics:

Color: More or less intense ruby red tending towards brick red through aging;

Aroma: Delicate, estery, persistent;

Flavor: Dry, harmonious and characteristic medium-body;

Alcohol by volume: 12.00% by volume

Total acidity (g/l) 5.00 g/lt.

Minimum non-reducing extract: 21.0 g/lt.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry can amend by administrative order the above-mentioned minimum limits for total acidity and non-reducing extract.


Article 7

Designation and Presentation

For the appellation mentioned in Article 1, it is forbidden to use any additional qualifier

including adjectives such as “superiore” (superior), “extra” (extra), ”fine” (fine), “scelto” (choice), “selezionato” (selected) or anything similar.

However, words that refer to names, companies and private brands that do not have laudatory meaning and are not meant to mislead the buyer are acceptable.

Article 8


According to the present regulations, the containers, no larger than 5 liters, for “Faro” wine must be in line with the traditional characteristics of fine wine, regarding all coverings.

If “Faro” wine is in bottles ranging from 0.360 liters to 1.500 liters, the bottles must be Bordeaux or Burgundy style. For closures, it is forbidden to use corks with cages or tear-away capsules similar to crown bottle caps. It is permissible to indicate the production year on the label provided that it is true and documentable.

Article 9

Ties to the geographical environment

A) Information on the geographical area

1) Relevant natural factors for the ties

The Faro DOC (denominazione d’origine controllata) is from the hills and along the coast facing the Strait of Messina on a strip of land enclosed by the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Ionian Sea.

The production zone is located in the sole municipality of Messina, expanding from Giampilieri Marina to Capo Peloro for 32 kilometers on the Ionian side and from Capo Peloro to Ortoliuzzo for 24 kilometers on the Tyrrhenian side. The main soil and climatic conditions of the defined area include sea-facing aspect, winds that characterize the strait and protect the vineyards from excessive humidity, alluvial soil of medium texture and a generally hillside position.

2) Relevant human factors for the ties

The name “Faro” apparently derives from the Pharii, an ancient Greek population that colonized a large part of the Messina hills, carrying out agricultural activities with particular dedication to the cultivation of vineyards, or most likely from Punta Faro or Capo Peloro, located at the furthest point of the strait.

This area of Sicily boasts an extremely ancient viticultural vocation. In fact, Faro wine was already being produced in the times of Mycenae (14th century A.C.). There are several references to important winemaking activities in Greek times, until the 19th century when there was considerable trade and export of Faro wine to many regions in France. It was used as a blending wine for wines in Burgundy and Bordeaux when Phylloxera attacks were taking place in Northern Europe and France, in particular.

In the entire province of Messina in 1848, there were 18,000 total hectares cultivated with vines,

which increased to 40,000 in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the total annual production of wine reached 500,000 hectoliters. Today, there are 900 hectares under vine in the province, but this contained amount has contributed to the turn towards quality in Messina viticulture.

Finally, over the course of several centuries, the origin of this wine, has earned great prestige as demonstrated by certificates of merit given by qualified and expert entities.

The impact of human factors, over the course of time, is precisely defined in the following technical production aspects, which form part of the current production regulations:

– Ampelographic area of the vineyards: appropriate grape varieties for the wines in question must be those traditionally cultivated in the geographical area in question;

– The plant spacing and training and pruning systems, even for new plantings, must be traditional and must be done in the best and most rational manner.

This is both to facilitate the execution of cultivation procedures and to allow the rational management of the foliage, allowing adequate leaf area with good sun exposure as well as to limit wine production to the amounts established by the regulations;

– practices relating to wine-making must be those traditional to the area.

B) Information on the quality or the characteristics of the product exclusively attributed the geographical environment.

From an analytical and organoleptic point of view, the wine referred to in these regulations presents very noticeable and unusual characteristics, described in Article 6, allowing for the clear identification and typification of the geographical location.

In particular, the wine presents balanced chemical/physical characteristics that contribute to a balanced flavor as well as pleasant, harmonious, characteristic and elegant aromas, typical to the grape variety.

C) Description of the causal interaction between the elements in A) and those in B).

The topography of most of the hilly part of the production area and the favorable sun exposure of the vines contribute to creating an environment that is adequately ventilated, lit and with soil that is naturally draining of excess water, particularly ideal for the cultivation of vines.

Even the texture and chemical/physical structure of the terrain interacts in an influential way with the cultivation of the vines, contributing to the attainment of the unique physical/chemical and organoleptic characteristics of “Faro” wine.

Even the climate of the production area, typically Mediterranean, is suited to quality viticulture.

The unique combination between the territory and the climate has contributed to giving “Faro DOC” its interesting characteristics: the sea-facing aspect, the winds that characterize the area of the strait and protect the grapes from excessive humidity and the mostly alluvial, medium-textured clay soil. In this context, Nerello Mascalese (the base for Faro DOC) stands out for its “edginess”, expressing particular roundness in the Messina appellation.  The Nocera and Nerello Cappuccio varieties further soften and enrich the wine.

Article 10

References for the inspection agency

Name and address of the inspection agency: Istituto Regionale della Vite e del Vino – Via Libertà

n. 66 – 90143 Palermo.

Phone 091 6278111 – Fax 091 347870; e-mail irvv@vitevino.it

L’Istituto Regionale della Vite e del Vino is the authorized entity for inspection by the Ministry of

Agriculture and Forestry, according to Art. 13 of the Legislative decree no. 61/2010

(Attachment 1) that annually verifies the respect for the regulations in the present document,

in accordance with Art. 25, par. 1 1st paragraph, letters a) and c), and Art. 26 of Reg. CE no.

607/2009, for products qualifying for DOC certifications, through a systemic inspection, and with respect to a predetermined inspection plan of the entire production chain (viticulture,

winemaking processes and packaging, in accordance with the cited Art. 25, par. 1 2° paragraph, letter c). In particular, such verifications are executed with respect to a predetermined inspection plan, approved by the ministry, in accordance with a model approved with DM 2 November 2010, published in G.U. no. 271, 9 September 2010 (Attachment 2).

Type: DOC

Region: Sicily

Product: Wine