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Vernaccia di San Gimignano, +13% of bottled wine in the first four months of 2021, as pre-pandemic

2020 closed with more than 4.3 million bottles produced (-6%) for the “white queen” of Tuscany which, in the restart, focuses on beauty

A positive bottling trend, in the first four months of 2021, with an increase of over 13% compared to 2020 and in line with that of the years prior to the pandemic, a figure that is even more significant if we consider that the first two months of 2020 are prior to the start of the Covid emergency. Overall, the 2020 figures, which were heavily influenced by lockdowns, showed over 4.3 million bottles produced (compared to over 4.6 million in 2019) with a small decline of 6%. These are the numbers of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, “white queen” in a land of reds such as Tuscany, of which it represents 2% of the production and from which, in the restart, it bets everything on beauty, declining it to the feminine and through the verses of the great poets who have “decanted” it over the centuries, from the glass to the territory, with the new communication campaign that plays on the character “Feminine singular” and on being “unique, noble and rebellious”, to address especially to millennials and social.
The only wine, in Tuscany, “feminine”, it is perhaps also for this reason that Vernaccia, in its long and fascinating history has been able to make people talk about it in the verses and in the works of the greatest Italian poets and not only: from Dante, the only wine called by name in the “Divine Comedy” and for which even a Pope such as Martin IV is found among the Gluttons in Purgatory, to Boccaccio, for whom it is a fundamental element of Bengodi and the Land of Cuccagna described in the “Decameron”, where “correva un fiumicel di vernaccia, della migliore che mai si bevve” (ran a rivericel of Vernaccia, of the best that ever was drunk”. “Se vi è alcuno a cui non piaccia la Vernaccia vendemmiata in Pietrafitta, interdetto, maladetto, fugga via dal mio cospetto” (If there is anyone who does not like the Vernaccia harvested in Pietrafitta, interdict, ill-advised, flee from my presence), warns, in his monumental “Bacchus in Tuscany”, Francesco Redi, naturalist and man of letters, doctor at the Medici court but “happy victim of wine”. After all, since its name appeared for the first time in 1200 in the Gabelle di San Gimignano, among the very few wines in the world which can boast such a long history, Vernaccia immediately became the undisputed “queen” of tables and banquets, of Popes and kings: a “royal” and “precious” white wine as it was described by the poets of the time, and later also by Sante Lancerio, bottler of Pope Paul III Farnese. From Folgòre da San Gimignano to Cecco Angiolieri, from Eustache Deschamps to Geoffrey Chaucer, who recommended it to the older groom of his young wife for their wedding night. And from Lorenzo the Magnificent, lord of Florence, to Ludovico il Moro, lord of Milan, they take him at his word claiming “flasks” for the wedding of relatives and friends. In the sixteenth century, at the court of Grand Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici, Vernaccia was so much “admired” that Giorgio Vasari depicted it in the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. 1600 is a “golden century”: even Michelangelo Buonarroti Il Giovane praises Vernaccia, and San Gimignano is an obligatory stop of the “Grand Tour” in Italy.
Moreover, the arrival in San Gimignano is a journey in the era of those nobles, Popes and kings, with the “New York of Middle Ages” which, with its ancient towers of the towers which stand out among vineyards, seems to come out not only from history books, but also from the ones of fairy tales. Starting from the eighteenth century and until the rebirth in the sixties of the twentieth century, the production of Vernaccia goes in decline, however it never stops. This is also because for intellectuals, scientists and naturalists of every period, this precious grape must be recovered in order to regain its ancient consideration. And so it came to be: in 1966 Vernaccia was the first Italian wine to obtain the Doc label, then Docg in 1993. A “niche” Docg, produced exclusively in the territory of San Gimignano, in beautiful and well kept vineyards, which give life to a long-lived white wine - among the very few to boast also the Riserva type - of which in the 2020 harvest were produced more than 36,100 hectoliters from the 730 declared hectares, with a production decrease of 10% on 2019 (when hectoliters were more than 39,300).
And just as in the era of the “Grand Tour”, if Vernaccia goes to the world - with a total of over 32,900 hectoliters placed on the market in 2020, down 6.3% on 2019 - the world comes especially to San Gimignano: wine tourism is a fundamental economic item for producers and 40% of the national market comes from sales in the territory of the Denomination, visited, in pre-Covid era, by 3 million tourists every year. Even in the Anteprima, in recent days in San Gimignano (but which continues on May 30-31 still for operators, and 6-7 and 13-14 June also for fans in the Rocca di Montestaffoli in the “Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience”), for which “the rules of containment of the pandemic have made it almost impossible to travel from certain countries very important, such as USA and Canada - explains Irina Strozzi, president of the Consortium - but in the end we registered the maximum number of visitors we could safely accommodate”, the choice was made to involve the accommodation facilities of the city by centralizing tastings and hospitality, “a novelty that was liked and to be repeated, even if the pandemic will be, as we hope, only a memory”.

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