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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Michele Shah

Mick Hucknall of pop group Simply Red fame, presented the new bottlings from his volcanic Mount Etna estate Il Cantante at the 38th edition of Vinitaly, held in Verona on 2 April. The baptism' of Il Cantante was held in the Regione Sicilia Hall of Vinitaly - Italy's largest wine-trade fair. Il Cantante's first release includes some 6,000 bottles of 2001 Etna Rosso DOC (90% Nerello Mascalese and 10% Nerello Cappuccio) from Hucknall's 17th-century 100ha estate in Sant'Alfio on the slopes of Mount Etna. Hucknall purchased the estate in April 2002 together with Sicilian friend Marco Lombardo, the estate's MD. The second bottling is a 2002 Nero d'Avola (13,000 bottles), produced in Pachino. It's all been very exciting,' says Hucknall. I have personally participated in all the phases of this project.' In all, 130,000 visitors came to Vinitaly - a rise of 5% on last year. There were 27,000 international visitors from 85 countries (+13% over 2003), and about 4,000 exhibitors (+4%), of whom 300 were international (+32%) from 31 countries. There were also 2,400 journalists from 60 countries.