Discovering Etna wines aboard a historic train

Among the many reasons to visit Etna, one of the most delightful experiences lies in exploring its winemaking heritage. Here, amidst the serene tranquility and breathtaking vistas, you’ll have the chance to savor wines crafted by local vineyards, each uniquely capturing the essence of this extraordinary terroir.

The Etna Wine Train adds an extra dimension to the wine experience, turning it into an unforgettable day to be enjoyed from start to finish.

Before telling you what it is all about, we would like to tell you a little more about our volcano and the wines produced there: a premise we feel is necessary in order to fully appreciate the journey on board the Etna Wine Train.

Etna and its terroirs

Located on the east coast of Sicily, Mount Etna stands as Europe’s tallest and most awe-inspiring active volcano. Yet, beyond its towering majesty lies a landscape of unparalleled uniqueness, an ecosystem shaped by centuries of volcanic activity and defined by distinct territorial and climatic nuances.

The lava landscape, black and barren, alternates with spontaneous flora and agricultural land. Viticulture has ancient origins and was revived in the 20th century thanks to the work of passionate winemakers who have concentrated on the old vineyards and have managed to innovate production while respecting tradition and the terroir.

What makes Etna wines truly great is a confluence of factors: the richness of the volcanic soils, the wide range of temperatures that can reach 25-30 degrees between day and night, the age of the vines and, in many cases, the type of cultivation (the Etna alberello is still the most widespread).

Viticulture is widespread on all four slopes of Etna and each slope has its own characteristics, which are reflected in the wines. The cold climate and the volcanic soil of the northern slope produce wines with a strong minerality, such as the Nerello Mascalese, while the eastern slope, exposed to the sea and the winds, produces wines with a great depth of flavour, such as the Carricante.

Etna’s native vines

There are four native vines on Etna: Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio, Carricante and Catarratto. In addition to being vinified in purity, the combination of these vines gives rise to two DOC wines: Etna Rosso and Etna Bianco.

Nerello Mascalese

An indigenous vine that has always been present on Etna and is the dominant variety in the area. It produces wines known for their finesse and aromatic depth, with a particular mineral vein and fruity notes. It is the basis of Etna Rosso DOC.

Nerello Cappuccio

This vine is also widespread on Etna; it can be recognised by its cape-like leaves (hence the name Cappuccio). Its wines have an intense floral and fruity scent of cherries and are very structured on the palate. It is often blended with Nerello Mascalese – 20% in the case of Etna Rosso DOC – which adds body, softness and colour.


The most widespread white grape variety in Sicily, it expresses itself differently on Etna. Its wines are very mineral and its aroma is complex and intense, with hints of citrus flowers.

Often vinified alone, it is also the main base for Etna Bianco DOC.


A vigorous vine with great personality and character. It produces wines of particular freshness and minerality, with pleasant citrus notes. It accounts for up to 40% of the composition of Etna Bianco.

The Etna Wine Train experience

Elevating the wine-tasting journey to new heights, the Etna Wine Train offers an immersive exploration of Etna’s vinicultural riches. Aboard the historic carriages of the Ferrovia Circumetnea, guests embark on a leisurely voyage through Etna’s stunning landscapes, punctuated by visits to local wineries, tastings, and village excursions.

A slow journey on the narrow-gauge wagons that, for more than a century, have travelled the winding roads on the slopes of the volcano, through the Etna Park, between the black lava rock and the flower-filled countryside. The tour starts from Piedimonte Etneo station: the first stop is Randazzo, a medieval village on Etna’s northern slope. From here, we reach the first winery, which welcomes visitors with a tasting of its wines and typical products, and then takes them on a walk through the vineyards. Before reaching the second winery, and proceeding with a second tasting, the tour makes a stop in another historical village on Etna. The return is always on board the circumetnea, which on the way back leaves the volcano behind, looking out over the sea.

It is an experience full of charm and atmosphere, which we recommend not only to wine lovers, but also to anyone who wants to experience Etna in a different way.

Credit photos:

Castiglione di Sicilia. Vigneti – Photo by Alfio Garozzo with the kind permission of Cottanera Wineries
Treno dei Vini dell’Etna – Photo via citymapsicilia.it


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