raccoglitrice 1950The history of wine in Calabria is as ancient as the origins of the region itself, which has always been a crossroads of civilisations, cultures and traditions.
The Enotri, who as long ago as the 8th century B.C. grew head-trained bush vines supported by posts, were named precisely after this practice (oinotron, from the Greek for “vine pole”).
The arrival of the Greeks on the Italic coasts led to a period of notable development: Magna Graecia, in the 6th century B.C., was a centre of enormous economic and cultural wealth and its name bore witness to its level of civilisation that could be considered above that of the mother country. The cultivation of the vines brought by the settlers and the advanced vinification methods made the wines of Magna Grecia famous, even centuries later. In the Imperial Age, they were among the most sought-after and were praised by Virgil and the Elder Pliny.
The advent of Christianity and the formation of the monastic structures played a key role in the advancement and consolidation of Calabrian viniculture: scrupulous care for the vineyards and the production of wine were central elements in religious practices and Christian ritual. Throughout the Middle Ages and during the 1500s the quality of local production was attested to by numerous documents and reports, suffice it to think of the appreciations by Pope Paul III and his cup-bearer Sante Lancerio.
The palmenti, large stone troughs carved in the rock and used for treading grapes, are testimony to the great vinicultural activity that took place over the centuries. In the area of Ferruzzano, in the province of Reggio Calabria, hundreds of these structures can be seen, some of them very ancient and used uninterruptedly until the last century.
The continuity of rural life underwent profound changes from the end of the 1800s and then went through a long phase of crisis at the beginning of the 20th century, with the great waves of emigration that brought about the dissolution of a consolidated tradition universe, the abandonment of cultivated lands, the marginalisation of a production which nevertheless retained its quality characteristics.
From the 1970s we see a steady inversion of this trend, thanks to the commitment of farmers and producers who have dedicated themselves to the retrieval of native grapes, the choice of the best soils and the modernisation of the methods of cultivation and production, which were grafted onto the valuable cultural heritage of Calabria.