02-Planeta_manchette_175x100
Allegrini 2018
DIFFERENT VINEYARDS

From the rooftops of New York to Catania: the urban vineyards of the “Urban Vineyards Association” are growing

11 urban vineyards of the association bringing together ancient stories and modern projects, looking forward to Tokyo, Berlin, Prague, London and Stuttgart

Sometimes they tell ancient and almost forgotten stories, others innovative ideas born in modernity, but in any case, the world’s urban vineyards represent fascinating case histories. Collected by the “Urban Vineyards Association”, which, with two very different new entries, the rows on the Brooklyn rooftop and those on the slopes of Etna, in Catania, reaches 11 members - Vigna della Regina vineyard inside Villa della Regina in Turin, the Clos Montmartre vineyard in Paris, the Clos de Canuts in Lyon, the rediscovered vineyards of the Venice Lagoon, the Castel di Pugna “Senarum Vinea” vineyard in Siena, the Vigna di Leonardo inside the Casa degli Atellani in Milan, the Vigna del Gallo vineyard inside the botanical garden of Palermo University (recently named after Diego Plaeneta, the noble father of Sicilian viticulture, ed.), the rows of San Francesco della Vigna in Venice, the Clos inside the Palais des Papes in Avignon, the rows of Rooftop Reds planted on the roofs of Brooklyn in New York and the Etna Urban Winery in Catania - while waiting for the probable entry of Tokyo (“guest” at the annual conference staged in October in Siena, where the two new realities between New York and Sicily made their debut). “Rooftop Reds”, in particular, is the first productive urban vineyard located on the roof of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a building in the heart of New York City. The idea was conceived by Devin Shoemaker and developed in collaboration with wineries in the Finger Lake region and Cornell University. A customized urban planting system was created: the vines were placed in 42 technical pots covering the roof of the building over an area of approximately 1,380 square meters. After seven years Rooftop Reds has come to produce between 200 and 250 bottles of wine made from the main red varieties of the Bordeaux region. “The Urban Vineyard Association conference was a truly wonderful experience”, commented Devin Shoemaker. “Being the first member from the United States and representing an urban vineyard with a completely new design, I was a bit uncertain about how the other members would react to my presence. But despite language barriers or slightly different views on urban vineyard expansion and future possibilities, the whole association made me feel very welcome and involved”. The Etna Urban Winery, on the other hand, was born in 2018 when seven cousins decided to revive the family winery, which had been abandoned in the 1960s after almost 300 years of activity. Replanting vines in the now-abandoned land they owned, the team found themselves in a now-urban context, as Catania had grown so large in the last 50 years that it reached the slopes of the volcano. What could have been an obstacle was turned into an asset: it was the urban landscape that would make the wine unique within the Etna region. With the help of 30 supporters from 12 countries, the first harvest of the Etna Urban Winery was completed in September 2021, more than 50 years after the last time. “Joining the Urban Vineyards Association”, comments Nicola Purrello, co-founder and director of the Catania project, “is a source of prestige and pride for our project and a logical consequence of the work done over the years. Cooperation with similar projects on an international level can only be a further source of inspiration and motivation to continue the work of recovery that I began from a situation of total abandonment, and that I have decided to undertake together with my six cousins”. The Urban Vineyards Days in Siena also saw the participation, via streaming, of the managers of the “Rooftop Reds Tokyo Project”, a vineyard built on the roof of a skyscraper in the Japanese capital, who reported on the progress of the project and reiterated their interest in joining the Association in the near future, thus making it even more intercontinental. The same is true of Berlin, Prague, London and Stuttgart, which have already shown interest in joining the network, and in pursuing other activities in line with the principles of proximity tourism, sustainability, wine tourism and cultural promotion. “Being able to meet again and welcome two prestigious new members was very important for our young Association”, says Luca Balbiano, President of Uva (Urban Vineyards Association) and also guide of the Balbiano winery, which looks after the Villa della Regina vineyard in Turin. “We are a heterogeneous group of people, with different life and work experiences and from places that are very far apart. And perhaps this is our strength, because it allows us to discuss things in a frank manner and to put our ideas into circulation. The pandemic has only slowed down the common path but, fortunately, has not stopped the individual projects, which have grown and become increasingly fascinating and ambitious. Now it is time to put it all together and create something as unique and wonderful as the urban vineyards we cherish”. “The Uva (Urban Vineyards Association) project means a lot”, echoes Luigi Alberto Fumi Cambi Gado, head of the Senarum Vinea project and vice-president of the Urban Vineyards Association, “for all urban realities, especially for one common factor: the growth of tourism, not only in terms of wine but above all in terms of art and culture. In the individual cities, through urban trekking routes, we will introduce the roots of each civilization. The entry of New York has meant an important step for the international scene, and the conference organized in Siena on October 16-17 also marked a fundamental stage in the future development of the Association”.

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