Ex-Mafia land produces prize-winning Italian wines

A new wave of Sicilian winemakers are making an offer you can’t refuse.

This isn’t the old-fashioned mob piling the pressure on local farmers. These are new economic cooperatives making prize-winning wines from Italian vineyards cultivated on land once held by the Mafia.

Wines from the Centopassi vineyards — on display at the Vinitaly wine fair that runs through Thursday in Verona — are the result of a (EURO)1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) European Union-Italian project to integrate ex-Mafiosi property in the southern regions of Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Campagna back into the legal economy.

The project aims to boost the economy, creating real jobs that can help establish a culture which rejects, rather than protects, organized crime. It also puts Mafioso land confiscated by authorities back into productive use.


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