Planeta’s first vineyard was officially planted only in 1985, however, that was only the latest agricultural project of a family that has over five centuries of history in Sicily, spanning seventeen generations. In fact, in the 1900s, Vito Planeta and his grandson Diego expanded the business, founding the co-operative Settesoli, which still runs today, representing the largest company in the Sicilian wine industry.
The Planeta family has always distinguished themselves for an approach that combines tradition and innovation, hence the project of growing their own grapes and how the beginnings of the winery was welcomed with enthusiasm by the young generation, including cousins Francesca, Alessio and Santi. Youth, in this case, has been key to their dynamic approach, all helped by the experience of uncle Diego. The rest of the family is also still very much involved, with seven children and fifteen cousins having an input.
The first plantation of vines took place in Ulmo, in 1985, over an area of 50 hectares, although the inaugural harvest didn’t happen until ten years later. Over the years, Planeta expanded the vineyard’s possession across several various terroirs in Sicily: 1996 in Gurra, 1997 in Vittoria, 2008 around the volcanic area of Etna and in 2011 at Capo Milazzo. With the development of the vineyards, the family developed the wineries over the next several years.
The vineyard and winery in Ulmo still represent the jewel of the crown for Planeta, with the estate dating back centuries. It continues to feature ancient olive groves, used for the production and commercialisation of oil, and the ruins of an Arab castle alongside the vineyards. Ulmo also produces Chardonnay, which is widely thought to be Planeta’s flagship wine, and the benchmark for Italian white wines in general.
Planeta’s crowning moment came in 1999, when it won the Italian Winery of the Year award, and has grown stronger ever since, consistently being featured in the most important industry publications in Italy, such as Gambero Rosso and Veronelli.
During harvest time, Planeta promotes an initiative whereby Italian and international artist travel with the family throughout Sicily. This culminates in the Ulmo estate being used as a studio for a local exhibition, accompanied by an annual publication.