Wine Tasting in Palermo: 11 Places You Have to Try
Sicily is an Italian island with a long history of winemaking, and when you go wine tasting in Palermo, you'll be immersing yourself in part of that history. As well as a very active volcano, the island has an active wine tourist industry. People visit Sicily from all over the world to sup Sicilian wine like Novello, Catarratto Bianco, Zibibbo, and Grecanico as well as Etna Bianco, which is made from Carricante grapes grown around the sides of Mount Etna.
Sicilian days can be very warm, so wine tasting is one of those things to do at night in Palermo when the air is fresher. Drinking Sicilian wine, especially heady reds, in direct sunlight is known to have adverse effects. There's nothing better than trying two or three different wines al fresco while sitting on a terrace, and even better if you're by the waterfront. The robust wines of Sicily really were made for drinking outdoors.
There are many different ways to enjoy wine tastings in Palermo. You can do it independently by visiting the city's specialist wine shops and restaurants, take an organized wine tour around the city, or go on wine tours through the countryside with a tour provider. Alternatively, rent a car and explore the Sicilian vineyards at your own pace.
Wherever you go wine tasting, the last thing you'll want is to be weighed down with bags. If you need to store your bags somewhere, you'll find a Bounce luggage storage facility in Palermo, just where you need it most. Bounce luggage lockers are always conveniently located for accessibility, economical to hire, and totally secure.
Where To Go Wine Tasting In Palermo
Guided Palermo Wine Tours
Unless you're an exceptionally well-traveled or worldwide wine-educated oenophile, you may not have had the opportunity to taste Sicilian wine before. Sicily has its own wine culture, which is totally different from the one on mainland Italy.
To get a proper introduction to the various types of wine produced on this Italian island, it's a good idea to take one of the wine tours available in Palermo, which are led by a local wine and food specialist.
The wine tasting on the wine tours, whether it's a private or group one, can take place in a variety of locations, which range from the wine expert’s home to a city restaurant with a renowned cellar or on the patio of a rustic wine bar.
What they'll all have in common is what will happen. The guide will explain to you all the details about the various types of grapes grown on Sicily and which wines are eventually produced from them. They'll fill you in on the wine-making process, and you'll then get to taste six wines, usually three red and three white, unless you have a particular preference for one kind only.
As an added benefit, most of the wine tours will invite you to a couple of bottles of your favorite from the tasting to take home with you.
Mulitple pickup/meetup points around the city center.
Independent Food and Wine Walking Tour of Palermo
You don’t have to go on one of the walking Palermo tours with a local guide. Doing it independently is a great way to enjoy the warmth of Sicilian hospitality while indulging in several wine tasting sessions.
To discover the best of local wines, the following places are well worth dropping into, and you won't need a previous appointment:
The Enoteca Picone is a petite and cozy wine bar on the Via Guglielmo Marcone in Palermo that's the perfect winter wine tasting hideout. Inside this small bar, the walls are lined with shelf after shelf of wine bottles, full ones, of course, and a very extensive collection of spirits and liqueurs.
It won't take any oenophile long to feel at home here. The bar is furnished with lots of comfortable sofas which, once you sit down, are hard to get up from. The wine expertise at this Palermo establishment is unparalleled; they've been open since 1946. Wines of the week are displayed just inside the door, and regular wine tasting sessions are held in a special tasting room at the back of the bar.
This place is truly a home away from home for any wine lover, so be sure to give it a visit when you're in Palermo. If the weather isn't too warm, sit back on one of the sofas and indulge in a glass of hearty Nero d'Avola red.
Via Guglielmo Marconi, 36, Palermo
The Bottega Monteleone is a wine shop and bar on the Via Monteleone in Palermo, which is so characterful you may want to spend half an hour at least snapping off black and white photos of it. It's charmingly rustic and totally Sicilian.
There are only a few tables and chairs inside and a few more on the small patio out front, but you'll never be rushed to leave. Take your time over local wines recommended by the owner, try some of the traditional accompaniments like a plate of antipasto, savory Sicilian pastries or chickpea fritters, then when you're ready, pick up a couple of bottles to take home.
Via Monteleone, 10, Palermo
Cheers Wine Bar
For some al fresco wine tasting in Palermo, the Cheers Wine Bar in the Piazza Marina is seriously hard to beat. The bar has a beautiful Mediterranean atmosphere accentuated by the colorful tables and chairs under the shady laurel trees.
At Cheers Wine Bar, it's the waiters who are the experts on local wines, so don't be shy in asking for their recommendations. They're always happy to impart their knowledge of Sicilian wine to uneducated drinkers and even take you on a guided tour of the bar's well-stocked shelves if you ask nicely. An added bonus is the food here is good too.
Piazza Marina, 10, Palermo
Sicily Cool di Giuseppe Vaglica
Rather than visiting just one bar in the Piazza Marina for a wine tasting, visit two. The Sicily Cool di Giuseppe Vaglica may have a name that will be hard to pronounce after you've had a couple of glasses, but you'll be glad you stopped off at this delightful wine bar.
From the barrels at the door to the shelves and coolers crammed with bottles, Sicily Cool di Guiseppe Vaglica is one hundred percent dedicated to introducing visitors to Sicilian wine. If you're here in the evening, your wine tasting will be accompanied by some live music out on the patio. Does wine tasting in Palermo get any better than that? No, it doesn't.
Piazza Marina, 11, Palermo
The Enoteca Buonivini is a wine bar frequented by locals on the city's Via Dante. For a wine bar in Palermo, the décor is pretty contemporary, so don't expect traditional as this place is modern generation.
It may be of this decade, but the owners are proud of their wine knowledge and their extensive stock. They have so much on display that you'll have trouble choosing which to taste first. Don't worry, though. Even if you take a lucky dip into the wine list, whichever wine you get will be top-notch.
Via Dante, 8, Palermo
Duca di Salaparuta
You don't need to go very far out of Palermo to visit one of Sicily's oldest and most prestigious wineries. Casteldaccia is a small coastal town around 20 minutes from Palermo that's home to one of the Duca di Salaparuta company's wine cellars. No, you won't be tramping through the vineyards here. Their actual estates are further afield, but you will be tasting some of the finest wines on the island.
The Duca di Salaparuta winery has produced some of the best wines in Sicily, including Florio, Duca di Salaparuta, and Corvo, since the early 19th century. The wine cellar in Casteldaccia houses just two of the wines, the Duca di Salaparuta and the Corvo.
On a tour of the winery, you'll be taken through the cellars where the wine is maturing in barrels. The aging process is explained by a sommelier before you're introduced to all three of the wines produced on the Duca di Salaparuta estates. There are options for tasting more wines which you can choose when you reserve your personal preference on their official website. All wine tours must be pre-booked, and tours of the winery are only available from the beginning of April through to the end of October
Via Nazionale s.s. 113, 27, Casteldaccia
Mount Etna Wineries
No self-respecting oenophile or serious traveler could possibly visit Palermo without taking time out to go to the vineyards on Mount Etna. Not only is the volcano a must-see, albeit from a safe distance, but the rich volcanic soil of the area is also prime vine-growing material. Here are three of the best vineyards to visit on a day trip.
Passopisciaro -Vini Franchetti
The Passopisciaro -Vini Franchetti vineyards are ones that, like a phoenix, literally rose from the ashes of Mount Etna. The vineyards are high up, at an altitude of around 1,000 feet, on the side of Mount Etna and have been brought back to life over the past decade from a previously abandoned terroir.
What makes the wines produced here so special is the unique mineral deposits left behind by old lava flows. The vineyard produces ten different wines, all of which are kept stored away for a minimum of two years before the owner permits any wine tastings.
Contrada, Via Guardiola, Passopisciaro
Tenuta delle Terre Nere
The Tenuta delle Terre Nere is a vineyard and winery located on the northern border of Mount Etna National Park near Randazzo. The owners of this vineyard follow strict ethics about producing wine from organically grown grapes. It's an ethic that makes their life hard since growing conditions in this area are severe, but it's something that shows in the quality of the final product.
Tastings at Tenuta delle Terre Nere take place in the estate's pink house on weekdays and by prior appointment only. They don't sell their own wines directly, so if it impresses you, you'll need to find the nearest shop to be able to stock up on some.
Contrada, Strada Comunale Calderara, snc, Randazzo
Antica Tenuta del Nanfro
The Antica Tenuta del Nanfro is a winery south of Mount Etna on the outskirts of Catania. It's a winery that also strongly believes in farming the organic way, and not only do they produce superb wine, but excellent olive oil as well.
The winemakers around Mount Etna are fond of pink houses, too, and this large rose-colored establishment also serves as a rural hotel and event venue. Here you'll be able to taste a selection of six wines, though it has to be said, the Cerasuolo di Vittoria, which is traditional to the region of Caltagirone, comes highly recommended. If you venture here for a wine tasting, don't skip trying it.
Contrada Nanfro, Caltagirone
Wine Festivals In Palermo
DiVino Wine Festival
DiVino is a three-day long summertime wine festival held just outside of Palermo in the town of Castelbuono. The event is a celebration of Sicilian wine that takes place over a long weekend, usually at the end of July.
During the three days, there are numerous wine tastings as well as competitions and awards for the winemakers. By the time the evenings come around, everyone is in a party mood, and the nights are completed with live music and, of course, lots of wine drinking.
Piazza Castello, Castelbuono
If you have three days in Palermo to go wine tasting, then you're a lucky person. This city was truly made for wine drinkers. Whether you do your tastings in the old city or the new city, you'll soon discover that the Sicilians are proud of the wines they produce, and rightfully so. There's really no better souvenir to take home from this beautiful Mediterranean island than local wine and, if you can transport it, a liter or two of Sicilian olive oil.