With almost nine percent of the total land area of Italy, Sicily is the largest region and with 101,000 hectares of vineyards (as of 2014) the largest wine-growing area in the country. Until the mid-1990s, the island was primarily known abroad for the sweet wine Marsala. A large part of the remaining wine production was sold as barrel wine in the well-known wine regions of Europe, where it served as a blending wine to improve or increase the local production. For a long time, the island's red wines were not named for their place of origin or the grape variety, but for the port from which they were shipped (Marzamemi, Scoglitti, Riposto). Another part of the production was also used for distilling alcohol and making it used by grape must. It was not until the end of the 1990s that Sicilian wines began to be marketed, which also bore the island's name.
After initially focusing on the cultivation of international grape varieties in order to open up international markets, the winemakers rediscovered local grape varieties, above all the now internationally known Nero d’Avola. The latter is currently the most important grape variety in Sicily and is there on 18,000 hectares of vineyards (2013).