Below is a selection of my favorite images from a recent shoot ( and tasting !) at Benanti Winery , located near Catania, in Sicily . The winery has a long history and dates back to the late 1800’s. Benanti’s vineyard sits on an ancient and volcanic crater near the slopes of Mt. Etna , one of the oldest vinicultural areas in eastern Sicily. In fact, some of the oldest D.O.C’s are from this area. The rich volcanic soil and high temperature variation give these grapes amazing flavor. The primary grapes grown near the base of Mt. Etna are Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccino, but Benati is known for it’s production of non-indigenoius grapes. As a Napa wine photographer, I have tasted many different varieties of wine, but the “vino” I drank in Sicily ranks among the finest! The wine was so delicious, my wife and I sent a case back home to California!
In May I did a shoot for Branca International in Tuscany, Italy. Branca International is the maker of Fernet Branca, which many of you foodies out there have sipped on after a delicious meal. Villa Branca is in the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti Region. Branca makes Chianti Classico and hearty Tuscan Olive Oil. The Villa’s history is long by american standards- the cellar dates back to the 1300’s and was previously owned by the Medici family! The vineyards and wine cellar are just spectacular. I had am amazing time working with the winemaking and management team of Stefano and Anna Serbakova. So in addition to an incredible photo shoot, I gained new friendship that day in Tuscany.