Fruit of the Ancient Vine

Evening Lecture with Wine Tasting

Monday, April 13, 2015 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Italy is a land of wine. With its ideal climate for grape growing, grapevines have carpeted the Italian landscape since prehistory, and wines have been an integral part of everyday Italian life for centuries. However, both the grape varieties grown and the winemaking process have changed considerably over time and substantially altered the Italian wine scene.

Dr. Piero Mastroberardino, head of the distinguished Mastroberardino winery

in Campania, Italy, will discuss his winery’s role in the recovery and commercial success of some of Campania’s ancient grape varieties. He will also discuss his winery’s initiatives to research and reintroduce grape growing and wine production as it existed some 2,000 years ago in the ancient city of Pompeii. SMATCH is sponsoring this conference in conjunction with Smithsonian Associates.

In 1996 the superintendent of Pompeii entrusted the Mastroberardino winery with the responsibility of restoring the vineyards of the ancient city. During several years of research that involved botanical studies, analysis of pollen recovered in Pompeii, survey of chroniclers of the Roman era, and study of frescoes on site, two types of indigenous grape varieties were identified--the Piedirosso and the Sciascinoso. These were then planted in the exact locations

identified as being in use in Roman times. Historical research also yielded information on ancient vineyard management techniques, which were employed in the project.

Mastroberardino produced the first vintage from the Pompeii vines in 2001. The entire production of 1,700 bottles was sold at auction in Rome, and all the proceeds were plowed back into the project. Today, Mastroberardino manages 15 small vineyards covering almost 4 acres in Pompeii. In recent years the Aglianico grape variety has also been planted (again with the ancient techniques used for this variety).

Mastroberardino has named the wine produced from the Pompeii vineyards "Villa dei Misteri." The wine contains 50 percent Aglianico, 40 percent Piedirosso and 10 percent Sciascinoso.

The conference will take place on Monday, April 13, at the Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution. You can purchase tickets for this event online - click here or by phone at 202-633-3030.

Since seating is limited, early ticket purchase is recommended.

The cold cuts are offered by "Oro Catering"


S. Dillon Ripley Center1100 Jefferson Drive, SWMetro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)

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