Catarratto, Grillo, and Syrah: Maenza Wines’ American Gamble

In the heart of Camporeale, the Maenza family has been intertwined with winemaking and grape cultivation for generations. Founded in 1993 by Francesco Maenza alongside his wife, Francesca, they laid the foundation by investing in prime vineyard land.

But by 2019, as one generation handed the reins to the next, their three children – Calogero, Giacomo, and Beatrice – took over, breathing life into a renewed vision named Maenza Vini. This fresh undertaking was fueled by a deep-seated ambition to produce wines from the grapes they’ve passionately cultivated and harvested over the years.

The vineyards embody the spirit and ethos of their operation. Encompassing a sprawling 30 acres, nestled between altitudes of 1,300 and 2,000 feet above sea level, these heights grant their wines an unmistakable quality, truly irreplicable. Indigenous varieties like “Catarratto” and globally renowned ones like “Syrah” flourish at these altitudes, with Syrah especially echoing the essence of the Camporeale area.

United by their passion for winemaking and business expansion, each sibling brings their unique flair to the enterprise. Calogero, the eldest, heads the business side of things. Middle-child Giacomo channels his expertise into wine management, while the youngest, Beatrice, is the voice behind their increasingly essential social media presence.

The company’s wine portfolio is ever evolving. Just recently, their selection expanded to feature four distinct wine types: two whites and two reds.

The year 2019 marked their bottling journey’s inception with the first label, Bèa, a delicate and minerally Catarratto dedicated to Beatrice.

Hot on its heels came their second, a ruby-red Syrah named Jacques, a homage to Giacomo, exuding violet undertones and a deeply fruity aroma.

Fast forward to 2021, they unveiled a Grillo, named Ohana (Hawaiian for ‘family’). This ode to the family‘s foundation recently clinched victory at the Brussels World Championship in May 2023.

A new addition, a second red wine made from Perricone grapes currently rounds off their selection.

To date, Maenza Vini can count on a very short supply chain, with the winery taking care of every stage of the production process, from cultivation to bottling. From a humble 5,500 bottles in 2019, Maenza Vini’s production prowess has shot up, now boasting an impressive 16,000 bottles.

While primarily catering to the domestic market, they’re making waves internationally, with budding partnerships in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland, and notably, California.

Speaking of California, it’s here that Maenza wines are currently tantalizing international tastebuds. Bèa, Jacques, and Ohana are on display at Los Angeles’ Nexxt Expo, a celebration of Italy’s finest. You can get a sip of Sicily at the Sicily Show stand, a special showcase by IoComproSiciliano.

Hopes are sky-high for the Campobello-based company. After all, L.A. is a renowned hotspot for the wine industry, a crossroads where Sicilian flavors have a substantial footprint with room to grow.

Furthermore, the American mindset has shown a penchant for the stories behind Italy’s exquisite produce. Backed by their compelling family narrative, symbolized even in their logo – a stylized vine crafted from the initials of each family member – Maenza Vini stands on universal values that simply can’t be overlooked.