• My name is Marilena Barbera
    and I am an independent winegrower.
    I live and make my wines in Menfi, Sicily.

Wild yeast harvest 2016
Pin It

Wild yeast and spontaneous fermentations, which are today one of the key points of the natural wine movement, are linked to ancestral Mediterranean traditions that remain a source of culture and inspiration for many winegrowers all over the world.

Today I posted this photo on Facebook, with that caption: “The force of wild yeast only three days after the harvest surprised me, because it normally takes this much time only to see the first bubbles. On this vintage, the fermentation is powerful enough to lift the tank’s cover, and to throw it on the floor. I am lucky to witness a miracle, my eyes and heart full of wonder.”
In a minute, Shelly, my friend and sister from Colorado, wrote that: “Damn your yeast, she is a beast!

I had never thought about the fact that yeast is a masculine word in Italian, but feminine in English, and I just LOVE that. Now I think that English is right, and Italian is wrong. Because the power of life, of reproduction and of creation is, and always has been, in women's hands.

All the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean worshipped Demeter, the personification of primeval Mother Earth, and her daughter Persephone, who they also called Kore, or “the Maiden”. In the mythological traditions, Hades, the god of the underworld, kidnapped Persephone because he was so in love with her that he could not live without seeing her beauty. Her disappearing from the Earth caused long ages of grief, drought and misery: the trees stopped to give fruits, all the crops dried out, and the Earth soon became a desolate and infertile land.
Demeter was so desperate for the long famine that she ran around for years to look for her daughter. When she finally found her, she came to an agreement with Hades: Persephone should return to the Earth for six months during spring and summer, so that the human race would survive thanks to her fertility, and she would come back to the underworld during fall and winter.
From that moment on, Demeter became the goddess of abundance (Malophoros, or The Fruit Bringer) and the goddess who regulate the chaos of Nature and the feminine fertility (Tesmophoros, or The Law Bringer).

 

  • Demetra greca di Monte Adranone

    Demetra greca di Monte Adranone

  • Demetra sicana di Monte Adranone

    Demetra sicana di Monte Adranone

  • La Tanit di Kerkouane

    La Tanit di Kerkouane

  • La Dea di Morgantina

    La Dea di Morgantina

  • Demetra e Kore a Morgantina

    Demetra e Kore a Morgantina

I believe that yeast is the icon of Mother Earth’s power and magnificence: she gets dormant during the winter and returns every spring to impregnate all the fruits of nature with the power of creation that is able to transform grapes into the miraculous gift of wine.

 

Tags: lieviti indigeni, fermentazione spontanea, vino naturale, Demetra, Terre Sicane, lieviti selvaggi, Kore, Morgantina, Monte Adranone

My story

My story

We have been winegrowers for three generations: a 100 years long story, a legacy of love and respect
Wine book

Wine book

Always up-to-date with all available wines and vintages: ready for browsing, or for immediate download

Photo album

Photo album

My book of photo shots from my vineyard in Sicily, available in HR for download - please cite the source

Video gallery

Video gallery

My YouTube channel with harvest stories, tastings, travels and meetings with very special people

NEWS FROM THE BLOG

Between a road map and a winery notebook, a personal digital moleskine with notes on winemaking, tastings and events, people I meet, places I see: my everyday life in the wine world.

  • Menfi DOC: Wine and Terroir

    Menfi DOC: Wine and Terroir

    The DOC Menfi Appellation: from history to landscapes, and from climate to grape varieties, everything you need to know about one of the most interesting wine regions of Sicily.

    Read more

  • Zibibbo, a story of Sicilian identity

    Zibibbo, a story of Sicilian identity

    Zibibbo is one of the rarest grapes in the word with a triple attitude: it is a wine grape, a table grape and a raisin grape. Learn about its long history that dates back 5.000 years.

    Read more

  • What wine producers can do for climate change

    What wine producers can do for climate change

    Electricity is a significant expenditure items in a winery’s budget, and it has a great environmental impact. My energy-related choices make my winery 100% sustainable.

    Read more

  • Wild yeast and the miracle of life

    Wild yeast and the miracle of life

    Wild yeast and spontaneous fermentations, key points of the natural wine movement, are linked to Mediterranean traditions that remain a source of inspiration for winegrowers all over the world.

    Read more

This site uses cookies and third-party cookies to provide you with a better experience and service.
When navigating or using our services, you agree to our use of them. You can change your cookie settings at any time.