Frank Cornelissen

Our farming philosophy is based on our acceptance of the fact that man will never be able to understand nature's full complexity and interactions. We therefore choose to concentrate on observing and learning the movements of Mother Earth in her various energetic and cosmic passages and prefer to follow her indications as to what to do, instead of deciding and imposing ourselves. Consequently this has taken us to possibly avoiding all treatments on the land we cultivate, wether homeopathic, organic or biodynamic. Accepting and following nature is our guideline as the divine ability to understand the 'Whole' was obviously not given to man as we are only a part of this complex and not God himself.

Our farm and vineyards are located in Sicily, in the Northern valley of the active volcano Etna. The northern valley is considered today Etna's top area for single-vineyard (contrada) red wines like the "Côtes-de-Nuits" in Burgundy or Piemonte's "Barolo" area. The surface area of our estate is approximately 24 hectares, of which 13ha are old vines in the classic free standing alberello training system (Gobelet or bush-vine), 9ha of old vines transformed into modern rows with various width, approximately 2ha of olive growth and the remainder are fruit trees, vegetables and bush. Although Etna has a tradition in high density plantation of vines, we search to reduce monoculture and have interplanted various local fruit varieties and keep bees to regain a complex ecosystem. The new vineyards are planted without grafts, using a selection of our original, ungrafted vines. The training system used is the alberello. Buckwheat is used for rebalancing soils low on organic material without recourse to industrial compost, especially important when preparing land for a new vineyard plantation. We avoid soil-tilling as much as possible, although this depends on the vintage and the quantity of water over the winter (recovering of the vines after the production cycle). Our goal is to avoid all treatments whatsoever in the vineyard, orchard and surroundings, in which we succeeded even in difficult vintages such as 2004 and 2005. Unfortunately there will always be the vintages where treatments with copper sulphate and sulphur are necessary to avoid vines from dying like 2013 and 2015.

Our products are the result of this philosophy and our hands and team. Wines and olive oils which reflect ultimate territorial identity and mineral depth carry the name Magma® and MunJebel®. These are single contrada (cru) and vintage wines and olive oils from various superb terroirs between 600-1.000 metres altitude. Magma® Rosso is our "Grand Vin", produced from only Nerello Mascalese grapes in contrada Barbabecchi. Magma® Olio di Oliva is pressed from perfectly ripe San Benedetto olives from contrada Borriglione.

In order to obtain profound, territorial wines, our grape yields are low, around 300 to 600g per vine for the top vineyards and wines, achieved by pruning very short in the dormant season. On our Grand Vin Magma®, every grape cluster is tailored, with tails cut away and unripe or damaged berries delicately hand picked out. We harvest relatively late, in search for perfect phenolic ripeness, starting mid October to early November, effected in multiple passages, to obtain dense and profound wines. The grapes are transformed in a delicate way, fermented with the skins in small neutral tubs to avoid high temperatures during fermentation, which lasts at least until alcoholic fermentation is finished, depending on the quality of the skins, enabling the fermentation to finish perfectly. After this stage, the wines are gently pressed and stored in neutral vessels in order not to absorb any external flavors. The wines destined for early bottling go into larger epoxy decanting tanks whereas the wines destined for longer aging due to higher tannin levels and/or structure age in smaller epoxy tanks of max 2.500 litres, or epoxy coated terracotta vessels buried up to the neck in the cellar in ground volcanic rock.

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Frank Cornelissen 'Susucaru' Rosso 2017
Frank Cornelissen is the owner of 12 hectares of vines high up on Mount Etna. Frank has been involved in wine his entire life. He is the son of a wine broker in Belgium and so has had the opportunity to be around wine on a professional level from a very young age.  There are a lot of details in

Frank Cornelissen Contadino 2016
Frank Cornelissen is the owner of 12 hectares of vines high up on Mount Etna. Frank has been involved in wine his entire life. He is the son of a wine broker in Belgium and so has had the opportunity to be around wine on a professional level from a very young age.  There are a lot of details in

Frank Cornelissen MunJebel Rosso No. 8
93  Wine Advocate 
Wine Advocate 93 "An exciting melange of dark red cherries, mint and freshly cut flowers take shape in the 2010 Munjebel 8 (Nerello Mascalese). Firm, vibrant and beautifully delineated, the Munjebel 8 impresses for its character and personality. This serious wine is endowed with considerable depth