Culture: ‘Our Companies Are a Hymn to the Landscape,’ Says Alessio Planeta, CEO & Chief Winemaker of Planeta, Winemaker of the Year | Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Star Awards | Wine Enthusiast
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‘Our Companies Are a Hymn to the Landscape,’ Says Alessio Planeta, CEO & Chief Winemaker of Planeta, Winemaker of the Year | Wine Enthusiast’s 2023 Wine Star Awards

In the world of wine, few stories are as captivating as that of Alessio Planeta and his influential positioning of Sicilian wine on the global stage.

The aesthetic qualities of Planeta wines capture the appealing essence of Sicily. Despite occupying a relatively small corner of the winemaking world, Planeta’s wines have found resonance with a broad international audience. As Planeta’s CEO and chief winemaker, Alessio Planeta sees this as a harmonious and intricate synergy that fuels his work.

Each bottle that a customer savors becomes a bridge between the island and wine enthusiasts worldwide. Alessio eloquently expresses this concept: “The extraordinary thing about all of this is to imagine how from little Menfi, from this little area so far from the world—so isolated until a few decades ago—one could, thanks to wine, go around the world and bring a message which is that of the quality of the wines we make, but which is also that of this place.”

For Planeta, sustainability is not a mere nod to environmental and social substance, rather it is the core of their operation. As the 17th generation of the Planeta family, Alessio embraces the concept of durable agriculture with total devotion. Planeta holds the distinction of being fully organic and stands as a founding member of the SOSTAIN program, which provides a protocol for responsible Sicilian winemaking. 

Alessio explains, “Our companies are a hymn to the landscape, to sustainability and to the environment.” Today, Planeta’s properties bear fruit not only in the form of wine grapes but also olives, almonds, wheat, chickpeas and livestock. He articulates that his team considers its properties holistically, stating, “We have a vision of agriculture as a farm, as an agricultural organism. This is essential to us.”

Continuing the legacy initiated by his forebear, Diego Planeta, Alessio celebrates the triumph of assembling an exceptional team that has navigated through seasons of abundance as well as times of adversity. Alessio says, “I am truly proud of having built beautiful, beautiful places together with my family, together with the whole team, where truly the total search for harmony, for the Tao, in the places should also be what we try to do in the wine.”

Alessio’s winemaking philosophy is also rooted in the teachings of his mentor, the iconic enologist Carlo Corino. Guided by this luminary who stressed technical expertise and profound respect for terroir, Alessio’s approach is characterized by precise agronomic choices and cellar practices that minimize intervention.

Sicily’s diversity presents a unique opportunity, and Alessio’s mission is to translate the essence of each Planeta parcel to the glass. “In Sicily, we work with 30 grape varieties, with terroirs ranging from the sea to Etna, with soils of all kinds,” says Alessio. “Therefore, this is my main purpose—to transform the different Sicilian territories into our glasses.”

Alessio Planeta’s journey in the world of wine transcends the story of a typical wine producer—it is a tribute to the spirit of Sicilian winemaking. Planeta’s reputation is a narrative of cultural exchange and global acclaim, delivered through products of indisputable quality.

“It’s truly incredible today to see how many wine tourists from all over the world come to visit Planeta, come to visit Sicily, and this is clearly a beautiful thing,” says Alessio. “Most truly, wine is a product that gives the opportunity to compete and compare yourself with the whole world.”

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