Chiaramonte Gulfi 18 04 1902

It starts when my grandfather told me: “What is Murtidda” ?

I was playing with the “strummula” and I respond:

“Enjoy grandfather it is a new play”I was young and I did not understand what my grandfather told me.

He replied : One day I will take you with me. That question always was an enigma for the children of my family.

Antiche damigiane di proprietà della fam.Nicosia Mortilla

Recently, during a family sunday lunch, my grandfather come to me and asked me the same question. I answered: “grandfather, it is a name of our vineyards area”

He laughed for my ingenuousness and started to talk this story.

Our soils are called Mortilla “Murtidda” in Sicilian, because in 1943 there was a wild Mirto plant, near the vineyards and the olive plants, that now is quite extinct in Mortilla area.

Here my father in 1960 gave me the vineyards where product my wine but before this, we have to come back 100 years.


In 1850 my great grandfather was a landowner rick baron, he had soils in Ganzeria (about 80 hectares) with secular olive plants and 20 hectares of centenary vineyards in Mortilla.

It was a good time, we did oil and wine and through the “Carretteri” the products were distributed all around the sicily. Great grandfather Biagio liked al lot joining to go with his employees one a month. They delivered oil and wine to the small shops and into the Fondaco (“U Funnacu” in sicialian) where the carters could stay with their horses.

Antico Frantoio e Palmento Vini Mortilla fam.Nicosia

In 1860 he built a Fondaco in Enna so the carters could stay here, eat and rest.

Unfortunately during one of these trips he became ill and died and his properties were in herited by his son Carmelo. At the age of 5/6 years Carmelo has a big heritage that could not handle because too young. Carmelo’s relatives divided the heritage: soils, houses, winery and mill, and to the young Carmelo did not remain anything. He grew up with an aunt and when he was 18 went to army. When the out died, Carmelo inherited 5 hectares of vineyard Mortilla.

Lavoratori nei terreni di Mortilla, Ricordi Fam.Nicosia Mortilla

It was 1890 and Carmelo started to work in his vineyards and got married. He had 2 sons (Biagio and Salvatore) and 4 daughters (Lucia, Vannina, Pippina e Rosina).

Salvatore learned by his father Carmelo the art of pruning and grafting and, besides taking care of their own property; they supported together the other companies in the Mortilla area because they were growers experts. Whit the earns gained, they bought some other vineyards and houses in Mortilla, along the ancient road (Victoria, Cannamelito, Pantaleo, Licodia, Catania), now Sp5, strategic point of wine great quality.

antiche presse fam.Nicosia Mortilla

Salvatore in 1920 inherited by his father the properties were approximately 6 thousand of vineyards.

He get married and had 3 children, Emanuela (1924), Carmelo (1933) and Giovanna (1934).

Carmelo, as his father, started working began to take care of vineyards and producing wine that it was sold into the houses in Mortilla. In those years, the art and culture of the harvest were also encouraged by the proclamation of the Grape Day September 28, 1930 by Benito Mussolini created to encourage the production and consumption of local wine.

Salvatore dived the property and gave the city houses to Emanuela and Giovanna and the vineyards and the houses in Mortilla to Carmelo.

Particolare del Torchio Antico Vini Mortilla fam Nicosia

In 1956 Carmelo married Angela and had then 3 children Salvatore, Guglielmo and Cinzia and, as a family tradition the sons started to work very young.

They bought soils in Senia, a territory rich of water and limestone subsoil. Senia is a land in Roccazzo, where in 1931 water holes and palmento was sent.

The “Roccazzo” name defined a quality of soil for vineyards.

In 1966 Carmelo bought the first soil in Senia, where built a water hole, and later bought the other soils next to the centenary vineyards.

In 1968 was bought the Senia palmento with 6 "Fossi” the old stone cisterns (4 for the must fermentation and 2 with crushers walk) . The must passed from the fermentation vat to the old wine press ("Ammobile" in Sicilian) and back again into the fermentation vat.

Particolare delle antiche barrique fam Nicosia Mortilla

Then, the must was filtered by hand in baskets made of reeds ("Cruvedda" in Sicilian) and finally passed in wooden barrels. In those times you possessed 14 wooden barrels (20 and 25 hl) and 2 wooden barrels (50 hl). They were heavy years for Mortilla winery and "palmento" in Senia, and the young children helped his father, but had to find a solution. Carmelo in the years '78 -'80 thought to sell the buildings and the wooden barrels, to be able to buy the ancient Senia palace next to the winery already purchased. The old building could not be renovated, was destroyed, and houses were built around the winery and around "palmento". Another winery was constructed near the entrance so as to have a first wine store. It was also extirpated vineyards sapling and the vineyards were planted in rows. As in the country tradition the concrete posts for vineyards were built in house. Between 1980 and 1995 were purchased steel silos, motor hydraulic presses and modern destemmers passing from the old company to the modern reality.

Grandi botti di legno Fam Nicosia Mortilla

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