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“Harmonia Mundi”, the last fruit of the vine in the Lagoon, from the oldest urban vineyard in Venice

Limited edition sparkling wine and the first to be produced, thanks to the know-how of Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo, in San Francesco della Vigna

Venice is rich in ancient vineyards, where, since the time of the Doges and the Serenissima, wine has never stopped being produced and where the Lagoon’s tradition has been rediscovered multiple times, as we have always told on WineNews. The latest project, in chronological order, is born in the oldest urban vineyard in Venice, which for 800 years has been located in San Francesco della Vigna, in Campo San Francesco della Vigna, in Sestriere Castello. A complex that houses the Convent of the Friars Minor, the Institute of Ecumenical Studies, the Library - which preserves and catalogs the Venetian book heritage of the Province of St. Anthony of the Friars Minor - and three cloisters, one of which is dedicated to the cultivation of aromatic herbs, one to the collection of rainwater then used for irrigation, and one to the vineyard. Since 2019, Santa Margherita has been taking care of it supported by its agronomic know-how, and today it has unveiled its latest fruit: “Harmonia Mundi”, the first sparkling wine produced from the grapes of the convent in a limited edition of 1,107 numbered bottles for the 2022 vintage.
A unique wine, made in Venice for Venice, capable of encapsulating the mysticism of places of prayer and the essence of the lagoon territory. And it won’t leave the Lagoon, because it’s destined for the most exclusive hotels of the Serenissima (five stars and luxury), less than 20 structures, where it will become an ambassador of the history and culture of the lagoon’s and Venetian viticulture, because those who buy it (at 150 euros a la carte, with a screen-printed bottle whose blue and gold nuances are inspired by the reflections of the lights that are reflected in the waters of the canals at night and enclosed in a box made of discarded briccole wood, further tribute to the city on the Grand Canal), will have the opportunity to live the unique experience of visiting the vineyard of San Francesco alla Vigna, which is a cloistered convent, and, therefore, ordinarily not open to the public.
“Harmonia Mundi” is a Charmat Method sparkling wine that draws its finesse and complexity from a prolonged stay on the lees of at least six months, together with the noble vines that give birth to it: Glera and Malvasia, the most widespread white varietals in Veneto since the time of the Serenissima - and which from here have spread throughout the world - replanted in San Francesco della Vigna by the agronomists of Santa Margherita in 2019. A wine that brings back the traditional cultivation techniques of the past, such as the cultivation of bush vines, the exclusively manual processing in the vineyard and the enhancement of biodiversity thanks to the sowing of varieties of perennial flowers that intersperse the rows with their kaleidoscopic inflorescences. With the first harvest, which took place on August 30, 2022, 1,107 specimens of elegant and refined numbered bottles were produced: a symbolic number, which echoes the linear meters along which the vineyard unfolds, and a multiple of 369 which, composed of 3, 6 and 9, evokes the Trinity.
The production of this wine is the result of the redevelopment process of the vineyards that have inhabited the cloisters of the convent since 1253: an ambitious project aimed at sealing the historic link between the iconic Venetian wine brand and the city of Venice, its unique nature in the world, the people who still live there and organic viticulture. A relationship born almost a century ago, when the founder of Santa Margherita (in 1935), the Count Gaetano Marzotto, chose the Venetian hinterland to give life to a real revolution of the Italian agro-industry that has led in a few decades to the birth of one of the most famous Italian wine brands in the world, today owned by the four brothers of the third generation of the family: Gaetano, Stefano, Luca and Nicolò Marzotto. Santa Margherita is the “heart” of a Wine Group that, among the most important realities of Italian wine, brings together more than 700 hectares of vineyards in 10 estates, from Eastern Veneto to Conegliano-Valdobbiadene, from Trentino-Alto Adige to Lugana, from Franciacorta to Chianti Classico, from Maremma to Sicily and Sardinia, with the brands Santa Margherita, Torresella, Kettmeir, Ca' del Bosco, Cà Maiol, Lamole di Lamole, Vistarenni, Sassoregale, Terrelíade and Cantina Mesa, for a production of over 27 million bottles sold, in 2023, in more than 90 countries (with an export share of over 70%, with a particular focus on Italy, Canada, Germany and the USA, where the import and distribution company Santa Margherita Usa Inc., based in Miami, operates, and the Roco Winery Estate in Oregon is located, recently annexed to the Group's wine mosaic), and a turnover of €255 million.
But San Francesco della Vigna is a special and magical place among the Group’s many estates, because, “for us at Santa Margherita - explains Stefano Marzotto, vice president of the Santa Margherita Wine Group, in the presentation with CEO Andrea Conzonato (soon audio on WineNews, ed.), the winemaker of the Wine Group Massimiliano Luison, who is in charge of the project, and the friars of the Convent (who are now seven, ed.) - the recovery of urban vineyards represents one of the most important initiatives that the world of wine can and must do today to keep the link with its history, its roots and its traditions strong and alive. Vineyards have been an integral part of the life and landscape of our cities, they represented an essential economic component, they characterized their urban planning and social organization. This was also the case in Venice which, although limited in its surface area, has cultivated vineyards for centuries in its historic center. San Francesco della Vigna, which has its roots in the thirteenth century, is one of the last memories of this presence in the historic center. It is, therefore, a source of great pride to have intervened for their reorganization and reuse, with the aim of giving further impetus and prestige to the uniqueness of this terroir by signing the birth of the new sparkling wine “Harmonia Mundi”.

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