Having just come back from a two week trip to the Mount Etna region of eastern Sicily we thought we'd share some of the best wine stores we came across travelling in the region. I must say I love the "enoteca" concept in Italy, where you can come for an aperitivo, taste local wines by the glass with some food, and then purchase bottles that you've tasted and liked. We loved visiting and tasting wines directly at the wineries of course, but the experience of tasting different producers side by side, and the ability to try older vintages can only be done at an enoteca.
First a little Etna vineyard inspiration to get you in the mood:
Via Vittorio Emanuele II, 155, Catania, phone +39 095 746 2210
This family run shop has an impressive range of wines, liquors and other Sicilian specialties. You will not see these items in many other stores and certainly not in typical tourist haunts. If you are in Catania the shop is in the downtown area and is well worth the trip. They specialize in regional foods prepared using traditional methods and organic ingredients. Sylvia, the daughter, is extremely welcoming and speaks fluent English, among other languages. Samples of many products are available for you to taste.
Via Vittorio Emanuele II 143 Catania, phone +39 095 321773
A more traditional wine store, with a beautifully decorated interior.
Corso Umberto 57, Taormina, phone +39 0942 21253
In addition to a great selection of Etna and other sicilian wine, this shop is packed full of handmade Sicilian spirits, olive oil, sweets and other delicacies. It is located on the main street that cuts across Taormina, Corso Umberto.
Corso Umberto 230, Taormina, phone +39 0942 23941
Wines, liqueurs, and many other typical Sicilian products can be found in this other centrally located shop.
Via Umberto, 8, Randazzo, phone +39 320 976 0623
This small Enoteca is bursting with Charcuterie, cheeses, and local bottles of wine. The owner is the nicest person making us feel so welcome. He kept putting down bottles of local wine on our table, to pour ourselves as much as we wanted depending on how many we wanted to taste. The pistachio paste, made from local pistachios (reputed to be the best in the world), was another highlight. A large selection of Etna and Sicilian bottles to choose from.
Corso Italia 51, 95018, Riposto, phone +39 095 090 3391
Drink, Buy, Learn is their moto. This enoteca is not only a wine store, but a wine bar and bistro. Expect a modern setup, friendly, English-speaking staff, with a great selection of wine and food. A good selection to wines by the glass.
Via Roma 86, Syracuse, phone +39 93146 3007
This wine store is a also a wine bar with great character and a wide selection of wine. The inside has a cozy feeling of an old austere which sells wine by the bottle or by the glass together with some good charcuterie. There are also a few tables on the pedestrian street to observe people strolling by. It has at least two dozen of wines by the glass, mostly local and well selected. The store is run by two young and enthusiastic recent owners who know their wine and are eager to share their knowledge.
Needless to say we easily filled our 15-bottle Wine Check with some great Sicilian wines (and a few more in our normal luggage). We flew back from Catania to Paris with Vueling Airlines, which has a 23 kg luggage weight and our 15-bottle luggage came just under that weight. The cost of the first single hold luggage was only 15 Euros per person, so we purchased one for our standard luggage and one for the Wine Check.
If you're looking to fly back with Sicilian wine yourself, Enoteca Regionale Di Sicilia (aka Sicilian Wine Shop) now carries our specialized airplane wine luggage!
Did we miss any wine stores or enoteca's that should be on the list? Let us know below.