Mount Etna is an active, fearsome volcano that has erupted from time to time, sometimes savagely, for thousands of years. Nonetheless, it is one of Italy’s hottest wine regions. Etna’s primary wine producing zone rises up the slopes of Mount Etna to an elevation of 3,500 feet and higher - the highest commercial vineyards in the world. Such high-elevation vineyards present some unique problems for vintners. The steeply-sloped, terraced vineyards are difficult to navigate with mechanical equipment so most of the tending and harvesting of the vines has to be done by hand, a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Winters at these high elevations can also be harsh and the summers hot and dry. Etna’s soil is rich with volcanic nutrients that are very hospitable to growing grapes. The high elevation vineyards are also an inviting environment for growing grapes. Grapevines at these high elevations benefit from the hot Mediterranean sun while the warm Mediterranean breezes are conducive to an extended growing season. Significantly, there is also considerable variation between day and night-time temperatures at these high elevations. Such temperature variations work to the benefit of grapes in that it not only facilitates berry growth and coloration but also promotes complexity in grape flavors.