VESUVUS, WINE AND VOLCANIC SOIL
With its 1,281 meters high, Mount Vesuvius dominates the Bay of Naples providing a unique and fascinating glance. It’s the only active volcano in continental Europe, and it is believed that the mountain was formed about 30,000 years ago. The numerous and violent eruptions altered the appearance over time until it is the unmistakable silhouette that has come to us.
Vesuvius, however, did not appear always as an active volcano. For many centuries in ancient times was a quiet mountain. Writers and poets described it covered with orchards and vineyards, and in some frescoes is represented as a mountain, rich in vegetation and vineyards. The mountain was loved for its fertile lands that the volcanic origin made it particularly suitable for cultivation. Among the many crops, largely he dominated the grape, introduced by the Greeks and then fully developed by the Romans.
The terrible eruption of 79 AD, however, revealed the relentless nature of the mountain again, and destroyed numerous cities including Pompei and Herculaneum.
Since then numerous eruptions followed each other and this made uninhabitable areas around the volcano, leading to a gradual depopulation and the beginning of a long period in which we have little historical evidence. We know for a fact that in the Middle Ages the cult of wine is kept alive thanks to churches and monasteries who took over the land at the foot of the volcano. It was the monks then, with the help of local farmers, to give new impetus to the wine production and were the ones who make wine for the first famous Lacryma Christi.
The eruptive activity of Mount Vesuvius has continued with some regularity over the centuries up to the current state of quiescence that lasts from 1944, year of the last eruption.
But, as mentioned, it is right in the heart fiery and often hostile mountain that is hidden the secret of life of this region and its wines.
The volcanic soils, in fact, are among the best for growing grapes and wine production of high quality. The grapes produced in these areas have a high sugar and wines express a complexity and a unique flavour, thanks to the presence in the soil of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
The result is a fine, intense bouquet and good alcohol.
Furthermore, the characteristics of the sandy soil, due to the deposit of ash and lapilli, determine a great permeability and therefore favour the penetration of the roots of the plants and at the same time make it impossible the survival of harmful parasites as phylloxera.
So the vines grow at “frank foot”, so without the need to be grafted onto the roots of American vines, and non-grafted plants represent an added value to the wines, which are the best, because the screw is the most long-lived and robust.