Once considered a mere mixer, Sicily’s native grape Nero d’Avola is standing on its own. Here are six tasty tidbits to stoke your thirst.

1. According to archaeologists, Sicilians have been making wine as far back as the 17th century BCE.

2. Sicily’s stony soil is bad for most crops but great for grapes. The rocks absorb heat during the day and release it at night, helping the vines maintain a consistent temperature.

3. The island’s heat also means the grapes easily over-ripen, which results in a sweeter, syrupier, boozier vino—not preferred qualities for fine wine.

4. For years, wine made with the island’s native varietal, the dark Nero d’Avola grape, was harsh—thought to be better for blending than drinking alone.

5. New technology and fermentation methods have helped vintners harness the grape’s best properties to give the wine a makeover.

6. Sicily is home to more vineyards than any other region in Italy— it produces 213 million gallons of wine a year. That’s enough to fill nearly 320 Olympic-size swimming pools!

TWO TYPES TO TRY

Stemmari: It’s the Bill Murray of wines: rich and pleasantly acidic, but extremely approachable. Fruity—not snooty—it pairs well with everything.

Cantodoro: Like a ton of feathers, it feels light and dense at the same time. Delivers a cozy, full-bodied blast of blueberry, plum, and bourbony oak.