14th annual grape harvest amidst ancient ruins of Pompeii
Experiment to recreate ancient Roman wine widened over the years30 October, 17:15
The harvest is part of an ongoing experiment to reproduce the wine grown in the ancient, affluent, seaside town before it was buried by a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
Workers will begin picking bunches of grapes in an effort that has widened over the years from one hectare of land near Pompeii's Forum Boarium, an area used for the same purpose in antiquity, to an additional five other areas as well.
The wine is made with local Piedirosso and Sciascinoso grapes using viniculture techniques from ancient Roman times, and has been named after the Villa dei Misteri (Villa of Mysteries), a Pompeii landmark famed for its cycle of frescoes. To determine which plants most closely matched the originals, experts leafed through numerous texts written in the 1st century AD by Pliny the Younger, a prominent politician and writer, and Columella, or Luicius Junius Moderatus, a Roman soldier who preferred farming to the military life.
The experts also gleaned information from artistic depictions of grape harvests and bunches of the fruit, which appear in the most famous homes of the city, as well as the reconstruction of an ancient wine press still visible today.
The idea was the brainchild of Antonio Mastroberardino, owner of a relatively small wine-making company in the Avellino area near Naples that bears the family name, and has been carried out through the Laboratorio di Ricerche Applicate(Laboratory of Applied Research).
Visitors can attend the harvest in the Boarium Forum where the model of an ancient Roman wine press will be on display until 13:00. The cultivated land among the ancient ruins now have a production capacity of about 30 tons per hectare.