Gardens of the Pontifical Residence of Castel Gandolfo Photo: Aleteia

Vatican Will Produce and Sell Its Own Wine Brand

In the territory of the Vatican State, vines have been planted for the production of wine to meet internal needs and have it available to visitors.

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(ZENIT News / Ciudad del Vaticano, 31.01.2024).- According to the statistics of the Wine Institute, the Vatican is the largest consumer of wine per person in the world. The residents of the planet’s smallest State consume an average of 74 liters a year, almost double than in France and Italy combined and triple the consumption in Great Britain. There is an explanation for the statistic.

The National Catholic Reporter reported that there is data that doesn’t exist in other countries: residents in the Vatican are practically elderly people and more men than women, who consume wine in meals with a higher average. In other countries, the statistics include women and minors, so the 800 inhabitants of Vatican City raise the average of wine consumption per person, as well as the groups of tourists  that buy it during their visit. Now they will be able to drink a production of the Holy See itself.

The wine will come from vineyards planted in the papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, an extraterritorial zone of the Papal State located in the hills close to Rome.  It will be made with the Cabernet Sauvignon variety and with the Holy See label. Riccardo Cotarella, winemaker and President of the Italian Winemakers and Wine Technicians Association, is directing the project.

Cotarella explained that “the vineyard consists of two hectares and is located inside the papal summer residence, close to the Papal Gardens of Castel Gandolfo. Different varieties of grapes have been planted, but Cabernet Sauvignon predominates,” a grape of easy adaptation and of high winemaking  quality.

The terroir of Castel Gandolfo where the vineyard is planted “is a splendid area,” added Cotarella. The wines called of Castelli Romani, as the area is called, have been famous since Ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder once commented. “Although it is an area dedicated to white wines, I wanted to base myself on my experience with the Colle Picchioni wine cellar, of Paola di Mauro, with which I explored the potential of this grape variety,” he continued. The wine will be aged in oak barrels and will be bottled in 2026.”

The wine’s sale will be exclusively in the Vatican, where there is a Bursar’s Office for residents and professionals linked to the Papal State, which sells the wine without charging taxes. The wine is also used in the celebration of the Eucharist, which is consumed during Holy Communion at Easter.

The meaning of wine in the Christian tradition is high, as Pope Francis said a few days ago: “Dear friends, wine, earth, agriculture and business activity are gifts of God, but let us not forget that the Creator has entrusted them to our sensibility and our honesty, so that we make of them, as Scripture says, a true source of joy for man’s heart and that of all men, not only for those who have more possibilities.”

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Rafael Llanes

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