History of Faro Doc
The recognition of the Faro DOC goes back to 1976 but it is also documented by several historical sources that this wine produced in the hills of Messina has been known since the Greek colonization of Sicily.
In his work, “Geographica”, Strabo said, “….the country is exceedingly productive of wine, the wine is called, not Messenian, but Mamertine, and it rivals the best of the Italian wines” (Strabo, Geography 6.2.3).
On the other hand, Plinio, in what could be considered the first wine guide in history, ranked Messina wine as one of the best, adding that it was ideal for banquets.
Moving forward in time, Faro was noted by Mario Pace in his 1631 work on Sicily. In 1658, in “delle notizie istoriche della città di Messina”, Reina talked about Messina wine, citing Athenaeus and Pliny once again as historic sources. He adds, “Especially, even today, the wine from that area is considered to be of exceptional quality among all the wines of Sicily.”
Don Carlo Gregori described the villages of Faro and Faro Superiore with these words: “now seen from a closer distance, the beautiful landscapes that Sicily opened to most beautiful and pristine valleys, almost like a noble mosaic of dwellings and gardens; and stretched between theatres of hills crowned with manicured groves of green pine trees and of the sunny and prized vineyards of Messina.
And a few centuries later, Baron Placido Arena-Primo in “Storia Civile di Messina” dated 1831 wrote, “in this area, I pleasantly look towards the military route, which extends twelve miles from the Faro lighthouse to that of Messina. This is the famous Via Pompea … along this part of the shore, the eye contemplates the gentle hills; though sandy, the artistry encourages you to cultivate them and produce the exquisite wines that supply the lavish tables of the Thames and are so widely celebrated by the cantor from Venosa.”
So as we can see, Messina wines, those that have taken on the “Faro” appellation, were recognized in centuries past. But it must be stated that Faro had almost disappeared after World War II until the 1990s. In 1991, Giuseppe Coria wrote about the Faro DOC in his Guida ai Vini di Sicilia (Guide to Sicilian Wines) confirming that production was limited and carried out by just a courageous few.
Only recently have we seen the rebirth of this historic Sicilian DOC wine and there are less than a dozen producers in total. In fact, Faro DOC remains a “niche” wine with just over 20 hectares dedicated to its production, and five of those belong to our winery.