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Chianti wine’s origins down a well

The discovery of Etruscan grape pips explores the history of viticulture in a region famous for its bold reds

The discovery of grape pips in the well of Cetamura del Chianti (Photo courtesy of ICHNOS).
The recent discovery of grape pips in a well at Cetamura del Chianti, on the property of the Estate Badia a Coltibuono, promises to reveal new insights regarding the history of vineyard landscape in the Chianti area. A collaborative team of American and Italian scientists, under the supervision of the Florida State University, excavated 32 meters deep well ranging from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century AD. The wet conditions of the well have favored the excellent preservation of several organic remains including wood and carporemains. The most precious material are waterlogged grape seeds (Vitis vinifera) found in at least three different levels of the well, which include the Etruscan and Roman levels.

Chianti is among the most famous territories of the world. The economy has long been based wine and olive oil production, but the long term history and thus the origin of this landscape is largely unknown. The grape seeds from the well of Cetamura offer an extraordinary opportunity to fill this gap of knowledge. 
In order to achieve a characterization of the ancient vineyards of the Roman Chianti landscape both genetic (in collaboration with the Genomics Laboratory of the Department of Agriculture, University of Naples “Federico II”) and morphometric analyses are in progress by our team.


In collaboration with:

FSU coltibuono