The island of Ischia has become famous thanks to its thermal waters, which therapeutic qualities vary from source to source. Sign for the volcanic activity continues today. There are many thermal parks, which attract tourists from all over the world.
We do not want to bore you now with a lesson in geology, but the territory of Ischia has a very particular orography: in a few meters difference there are various soils and microclimates, creating particularly interesting situations. As in everything, variety generates wealth, and should always be preserved and valued.
The different combinations of climates and soils have immense potential, especially for viticulture. This had led to cultivating the vine in Ischia. The Greek cultivation technique differed from the Etruscan one: the Greeks preferred to low-support and dead support system; the Etruscans with a high stock and a live support. The “Hellenic criterion” focused on the quality of the wine, while the Etruscan one allowed greater productivity, to the detriment of the organoleptic properties of the final product.
For several historians the Roman name of Ischia “Aenaria” derives from the Greek “Oinaria” which literally means “place of vines and wine”. I know, etymologically, it would rather be more correct to associate Ischia with good glass of wine, rather than a thermal pool. In the Greek epic wine, oinos, was very different from that of today. You think that even the ancient Greeks evaluated the quality of wine based on its sweetness: the sweeter the better (in short, they were real little girls).
Ischia was not only the first colony of Magna Graecia but it also provided us with one of the oldest examples of Greek writing and, listen, listen, wine is also involved in this case:
“I have the beautiful cup of Nestor, who
drinks from this cup will get
the desire of Aphrodite from the beautiful crown”.
This is the engraving of the famous “Nestor’s Cup“, found in Ischia in the 1950s: the cup in question is more than a small earthenware cup, used by the Greeks to drink wine during symposia.
The main Ischia vineyards are the “Biancolella”, the “Forastera”, the “Rilla”, the “Piedirosso” and the “Guarnaccia”. Biancolella is certainly is the best known: straw yellow colour, fairly fruity taste, perfect in combination with seafood… should we add more?
The particular combination of thermal activity and wine production that characterizes Ischia is perfectly synthesized by the Crateca winery . Crateca is an old crater, in fact, inactive, located below the Epomeo, the highest mountain on the island and formed by green tuff (for this reason Ischia is called “green island” … not for the vegetation but for for the diffusion of this particular tuff, with a gray-green color).
In the past a large part of the Ischian economy was based on viticulture: the wine produced here was in fact exported to the main Italian markets and even abroad, through the grape-seeds, or rather the sailboats prepared for the transport of wine barrels. The discovery of thermal waters then led to the boom in tourism, which quickly became the pillar of the island’s economy. Unfortunately, in this way, viticulture took second place and was partly abandoned.
The vineyards of the Cellars of Crateca extend for about 2 hectares, at an altitude of 250 m, on the fertile lands of the ancient crater and are distributed on various terraces. Today the company produces 4 types of wine: the “Crateca Bianco”, the “Crateca Rosso”, the “Crateca Biancolella” and the “Crateca Rosato”. After our visit to the vineyards of the company, we had lunch immersed in the greenery of the Crateca company, with a stupendous view of the sea, truly priceless. During the meal we tasted (and drunk) Crateca Bianco, the result of a blend of Biancolella and Forastera, with added Fiano and Greco grapes. Bright yellow in colour and with a fairly fruity taste, with a slight mineral note, which testifies to the volcanic origin of the island on which the vineyards are located.