Planeta Winery is one of the premier wine estates of Sicily and a veritable fine wine empire. The company has vineyards and estates all over the island of Sicily including- the Ulmo Contrada and vineyards in Sambuca di Sicilia (their first winemaking facility and beautiful ancestral family home, located on the Arancio Lake); the Dispensa base in Menfi (where their high-end olive oils are also made nearby at the Capparina mill); the lovely Dorilli estate in Vittoria; the Buonivini vineyards and underground winery near the Baroque town of Noto; and the newest estate- Sciara Nuova in the fashionable and exciting fine wine region of volcanic Mount Etna. Planeta was founded in the 1990s by cousins Alessio, and Santi Planeta and their uncle Diego Planeta, who was already famous in Sicily for his trail-blazing role at the well-respected Settesoli wine cooperative, decades before Planeta as we know it burst onto the wine scene. Diego's daughter Francesca later joined the company and is a key figure. While relatively new as a commercial winery, the family's beloved Ulmo estate dates back centuries. Today it is a treat to visit with its vast vineyards, ancient olive groves, and ruins of an Arab castle. Planeta, in fact, has become almost as famous for their olive oils (made with the Nocellara del Belice and Biancolilla olives) as for their wines. The groundbreaking winemaker of Planeta was the mythical Carlo Corino, who sadly passed away recently. Planeta gained much prestige and respect for being innovators when it came to matching local soil types to both native Sicilian wine varietals and international grapes. Daring and open-minded winemaking (in a Mediterranean island that had become known for easygoing bulk wine) combined with the fabulous local terroirs, was a recipe for success for pioneering Planeta. Perhaps their first flagship wine to really shake up the wine world was their stunning Chardonnay. Not just any Chardonnay, this blockbuster astounded critics and wine lovers the world over and still receives annual awards and recognition. Planeta is in fact regularly lauded in the wine press and this year they receive an unprecedented eight Tre Bicchieri awards from the Gambero Rosso (called the Italian wine bible, definitely the definitive guide alongside Veronelli). Planeta is a big patron of the arts and in association with Nuvole Incontri dArte have launched an interesting annual project called Uomini e Luoghi (Men and Places). The concept is artists and landscapes of Sicily. During the wine harvest, the winery invites a selection of both Italian and international artists to travel with them throughout Sicily to such breathtaking places as Modica and Ragusa, and then the guests use the Ulmo estate as their studio to create various works of art which are then exhibited locally and compiled in a beautiful annual publication.