At Terre Nere vinification is simple, classic, and Burgundian in technique. Alcoholic fermentation and maceration on the skins last from 10 to 15 days; malolactic fermentation and maturation are carried out in oak (25% new). After 18 months the wine is bottled without filtering.
The Terre Nere vineyards are located at extremely high altitudes, ranging from 2100-2900 feet above sea level. The weather at such high altitudes--hot direct sunlight but cool shade and cold nights--makes the wines of Etna extraordinarily fine and elegant, devoid of the heat and overripe sensations that overwhelmingly define "Southern" wines. (As a rule of thumb, the ripening of red grapes above 3200 feet is extremely uncertain; these are the highest altitude red grapes in the old world!) A portion of Terre Nere's vines are pre-phylloxera; the rest are about 40-50 years old. The trellessing is "en goblet" or self standing. The grapes are harvested at the end of October (making it the second to last harvest in all of Italy, after Aglianico), which is a risky in and of itself: the weather always breaks before the harvest, endangering the grapes at their most delicate stage.