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Virgil and Columella Guide Experimental Winemakers

Friday, August 23, 2013


WineCATANIA, SICILY—A team of archaeologists has followed techniques outlined in ancient texts to plant a vineyard of local grapes that they hope will produce wines approximating what the Romans drank. They planted the vines with wooden tools, and are supporting them with canes and woven juniper leaves. Eventually, the juice will ferment in large, open terracotta pots that are lined with beeswax and buried up to their necks in the ground. “We will not use fermenting agents, but rely on the fermentation of the grapes themselves, which will make it as hit and miss as it was then—you can call this experimental archaeology,” said project manager Mario Indelilcato. The archaeologists should have some wine to taste in about four years.