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WINE AND “DANTE 700”

In a glass of wine, there are our soul, tradition, knowledge: Dante's word. Thus Riccardo Cotarella

According to Cotarella, Dante offered the key to reflect on the link between wine and culture, “which is history, present, and future of Italy”

Riccardo Cotarella, one of the most famous Italian oenologists, at the helm of Assoenologi, wrote (in the editorial of the magazine “L’Enologo” edition number 1/2 of January / February 2021), “Our soul, our traditions, our knowledge are all in a glass of red or white wine” and “Dante’s writings related to wine continue to remind us of this seven centuries after his death”. Continuing his thoughts on the “Divine Comedy”, he said, “ each year, with great emotion and immense amazement we re-experience the miracle of nature when we oenologists are called to assist and intervene. It is a privilege that makes us proud of our profession, and makes us responsible for wine excellence, which is the history, the present and future of a country”. According to Cotarella, the seven hundred years since the death of Dante that Italy is celebrating in 2021 offer an opportunity to reflect on the link between wine and culture, re-reading the passages that the Divine Poet dedicated to the transformation of grapes into wine, in his masterpiece of world literature. It even explained the mystery of birth of the human soul: “e perché meno ammiri la parola, guarda il calor del sol che si fa vino, giunto a l’omor che de la vite cola” (“And, that you may be less bewildered by my words, consider the sun’s heat, which, blended with the sap pressed from the vine, turns into wine”)(Purgatory; xxv; 76-78).
“In these past months living in a pandemic”, emphasized Cotarella, “we have repeatedly explained that the wine world is able to contribute immensely to Italy’s economic recovery. Now, Dante has suggested or better still, has reminded us that the time has come to go further. His writings push us to realize that the recovery will have to include art, beauty, culture and the good things in our territory. Beautiful and good will form a “new humanism”, a new way of understanding profit, and our lives. The health emergency has slowed down our fast pace, which for far too long had prevented us pausing to see the beauty around us”.
It is a challenging and incredible historical moment for the wine world as well, but we must “try to grasp the positive meaning and bring it to our vineyards and wineries”, wrote Cotarella, inviting us to “imagine new routes that could lead us towards innovations offering new flavors and new opportunities”. A challenge that, “as Dante suggested, should not be only oenological, but also cultural, which mainly concerns our category, as well as involving all the players in the wine world, starting with winemakers who have direct contact with the earth. The earth has been asking for more respect through adopting sustainable productions, children of scientific culture, of winemakers and in line with Dante's thought linking the transformation of grapes into wine with the birth of the human soul”.
It is, therefore, a historic step the Italian winemaker concluded that “the Italian system must take, whose roots lie in the State, and Government choices. Over these past months, we oenologists have shown our professionalism and resilience to resist the most serious economic crisis since the Second World War to today. And through it all, we are still here, ready to accept this new challenge in the name of science, of love for our companies - which represent our lives - and in the name of Italy’s economic revival”.

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