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Azienda Agricola COS was founded by Giambattista (Titta) Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti and Cirino (Rino) Strano, three friends who wanted to recreate the work of their ancestors. The acronym (Cilia-Occhipinti-Strano) not only represents the company’s name, but also the beginning of a remarkable partnership.
Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a red wine that is specific to the province of Ragusa, as well as parts of Caltanissetta and Catania. This ancient viticultural area dates back to the third century BC. The Cerasuolo di Vittoria began much later, however. In 1607, when the city of Vittoria was being established, the founder offered an acre of land to each settler that cultivated a vineyard. Thus began the passion. The Denomination of Origin was granted in 1974 and Guaranteed in 2005, making it the only D.O.C.G. in Sicily.
In 1980, the trio became the youngest winemakers in Italy when they bought Joseph Cilia’s old family winery. Located in the historic town of Bastonaca, the vineyard measured just over a mere three hectares. Their first harvest on October 5 produced only 1470 bottles; nevertheless, this marked the beginning of their adventures and the radical restructuring of the region of Cerasuolo di Vittoria.
The three partners completed their studies between 1983 and 1985. Rino, however, decided to devote himself to his field of medicine and sold his shares to his sister, Giuseppina (Pinuccia). The new trio then purchased la Villa Fontane in 1991, the Moltisanti family’s property in the Fontane-Baucina district, and new vines were planted on the eight hectares.
In 1995, Pinuccia sold her shares to Titta and Giusto. The remaining two friends continued to grow the estate as they acquired new and valuable lands close by.
In their quest to interpret the unique terroir of Vittoria, the estate decided to adopt the principles of biodynamic culture. This would help them find and maintain a harmonious balance with nature, as well as craft wines that are as representative as possible of their time and place.
Fascinated by ancient cellar practices, COS decided to work with amphoras, clay jars that were used by the ancient Greeks. The first shipment came from Spain in September 2000, and thus, Pithos was born and a new COS identity was created. The Pithos cuvée is fermented and aged solely in the amphoras which allow the grapes to express themselves naturally in their evolution towards becoming wine.
Once the restoration of the Fontane building was completed in 2003, the head office was moved and the business resort, the Locanda COS, opened for COS’s friends around the world. The company continued its growth when they purchased the 20 hectares of land adjacent to la Villa Fontane in 2005 that included an extraordinary wine cellar dating back to the nineteenth century.
The two architects began an immediate renovation of the building and new winery. That year also marked the first harvest of Cerasuolo di Vittoria with the DOCG designation (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), the only region permitted to have this designation in Sicily.
2007 was the first vintage bottled in the new cellar. The old oak barrels were replaced by 150 amphoras, one of the largest collections in the world, and they began making Pithos Bianco with the local Grecanico grape.
Today, COS is synonymous with Cerasuolo di Vittoria. Their love of the region and its singular terroir produces some of the finest wines Italy has to offer.
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