Cinque Terre wine and its passionate history
…et haec quinque loca vocantur quinque terre ut scilicet privilegio et beneficio vini hanc dignitatem denominatione adepta sint inter ceteras terras orientalis riparie….
Orae ligusticae description by Iacopo Bracelli, in 1418
In this text it first appeared the term Cinque Terre, which still describes the wonderful area that brings together the five villages of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore and it is for first time emphasized that “Qui si trae un vino che imbandisce la tavola dei re” (i.e. Here is a wine that honors the table of kings)!
The salient feature of the Cinque Terre is undoubtedly represented by the terraced landscape, built through a gigantic work carried out over the centuries by local people to tame an inaccessible and inhospitable land and make it arable and fruitful. This, coupled with the prominent wine business, has had significant impact and greatly influenced the landscape character area as well as the needs of life of locals.
Cinque Terre terraces form a sort of immense and continuous belt which extends over the whole territory, sometimes from a few meters even up to 500 meters above sea level. It is estimated that the heritage of terraced entity amounts to approximately 8,000,000 cubic meters in volume and nearly 7000 km in length spread over about 2000 hectares of land. In short, with our dry stone walls we could ideally cover 5 times the total extension of Italy from North to South!
It is assumed that the wine business was already practiced in Roman times, thanks to the unlikely juxtaposition of the wine produced in this area and the Vinum lunense exalted by Pliny the Elder. From this age onwards, thanks to the end of the dreaded Saracen raids and the affirmation of the Republic of Genoa, which guaranteed security and stimulus to maritime trade, the colonization of the coast and with it the vine growing and wine production know great expansion it happened. Several official documents show the extent of the trade and the credit of the Vernaccia wine at various markets such as Genoa, Florence, Orvieto, Paris, Bordeaux, London, Flanders etc.
Between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries one can find several flattering quotes on Cinque Terre wine in the literary sources, both in Italy and in other European countries; surely among the most significant ones Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio wrote about the notoriety of the area and the quality of Vernaccia wine.
The Cinque Terre and its wine had its peak during this period, which was then followed by a long crises especially because local production is too modest and the costs for transport and production too high.
Cinque Terre wine in Vernazza
The characteristics and history of the Cinque Terre area are obviously those of Vernazza, but on October 25, 2011 the village was hit by a terrible devastating flood that in a few hours literally buried it under several meters of mud and debris. The Cinque Terre flood, in addition to lives and homes, swept away even terraces and vineyards, and in Vernazza the vinery Cheo has been working hard for the last five years to recover.
After a difficult period, this year you can visit their picturesque vineyard with a stunning view and talk to the owners, tasting their wines in the cellar. An experience that we heartily recommend, to get to know more about our region and understand the local daily life.
Cinque Terre wine tastings in Vernazza
From Friday, June 24 and until the end of October, Visit Vernazza, thanks to the availability of the vinery Cheo, organizes tastings of wines from the best winery of the Cinque Terre.
Every second and last Friday of the month at 6.30 p.m. at Cheo’s in Vernazza!0