Blogging from A to Z: W is for Wine

Andante Travels archaeological guide Daniela Mantice discussing early Pompeiian vinoculture outside the on-site vineyard.

Hi, everyone. We’re in the proverbial home stretch on this year’s A-to-Z challenge. Can you believe it?

Pompeii was famous for its wines. The volcanic soil was good for the grapevines, and the resulting beverage was widely renowned. Wine wasn’t the same in the early 1st century CE as what we drink today. It was nearly as thick as honey, and was usually diluted with wine or vinegar (think sweet balsamic, not the tart kind). Some people put spices and peppercorns in the wine as well, much the way it is mulled at the holidays.

Archaeobotanists have used plaster casts of grapevine roots found during excavations to figure out, as nearly as possible, what grape varietals were used in Pompeii to make the wine. There is a vineyard on-site, under high security, to grow those grapes and make wine from them. Whether or not it’s drinkable, per the modern palate, is a matter for debate … but it’s been done. You can learn more about it here.

Modern Pompei also has its vineyards, and the local wines are quite lovely. If you ever get a chance to visit (and you like wine), you might give them a try.

(Photo by the author.)

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