Wine Enthusiast Magazine Awards Arnaldo-Capri Winery "European Winery of the Year 2012"

Author: Carole Di Tosti.
Published: January 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Sagrantino grape varietal of the Arnaldo-Caprai VineyardsImagine taking wine-making so seriously that you would kill someone for hampering with your grape production? This was the case in Perugia, Italy in 1622 when Cardinaln Boncompagni, Pontifical delegate of the area decreed that there would be "capital punishment for anyone found cutting down grape vines." At that time, the stringency of the law paved the way to preserve good vines and good wines for posterity.

Eventually, over centuries, places like Montefalco which held first place in wine production in the province of Umbriam Italy continued to produce good wines and in the instance of the Sagrantino grape varietal, despite its scarce productivity, the vines were preserved in ancient monasteries by wine-making monks.

Interest in the Sagrantino grape waned after World War II and trends had changed by the 1960's. The Sagrantino grape nearly disappeared from Umbrian vineyards. But because of the dedication of a few courageous wine producers the D.O.C. label in 1979 and D.O.C.G label in 1992 officially sealed the important tradition so that the few Sagrantino vines still flourishing within the city walls of Montefalco were labeled and classified. The history of the grape had been preserved, and with research, it was assessed that some vines growing in the monasteries of St. Claire and St. Leonard dated between 1700 and 1800. Certainly, when the wine producers encouraged the sustainability of the Sagrantino vines, they were also preserving the sacred nature and lineage of the wine's association.

It was in 1988 that Marco Caprai, son of Arnaldo Caprai began managing the Arnoldo-Caprai winery that had been producing unique, top quality, Umbrian wines. Because of the father's and son's passion and rich understanding of the local varietals, and Marco Caprai's desire to expand the work and develop the winery and the indigenous grape, the Sagrantino, Marco Caprai partnered with the University of Milan. His goal was to research the neglected native Umbrian Sagrantino varietal.

Marco Caprai, Arnaldo-Caprai Winery

With the collaboration and support of top local winemakers and sustained effort, Caprai and colleagues succeeded in transforming a relatively unknown indigenous grape to one that is world renown. The Arnaldo-Caprai winery is now the "acknowledged leader in the production of top quality Sagrantino di Montefalco, the wine produced exclusively from the Sagrantino grape."

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Article Author: Carole Di Tosti.

Carole Di Tosti, Ph.D. is a published writer, novelist and poet. She writes for Blogcritics. She authors three blogs: 1) 2) 3) …

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