WINE IN CUPRAMONTANA: HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
In the centuries of the Roman era (IV B.C.-IV A.D.) in the territory of the ancient Cupramontana, the grapevine was already being cultivated.
This is evident in its name Cupra, evoking a deity inherent in the fruitfulness of the earth, and also by the bas-relief of the same era, cherub and cornucopia with grapes and other fruits.
Despite the devastation following the Barbaric Era (V-VII century), vineyards in the Rovegliano district were attested in a deed of gift, drawn up on 11 December 907, in favor of the abbey of St. Eutizio in Campli in Norcia, by the ex-Empress Ageltruda, daughter of the Prince of Benevento, wife of Guido di Spoleto, King of Italy, and Emperor, very likely of Lombardy origin.
With the consistent presence of the monks from the ninth to the thirteenth century in all the territory, agriculture and consequently the cultivation of vines increased significantly both in the vicinity of the monasteries and in the land of the entire area.
THE BIRTH OF VERDICCHIO
The first land register of 1471 accounts for 1,010 registered hectares, 59%, 596 hectares, were arable land, i.e. cultivated cereals; 87.7 hectares constituted woods and forests for firewood and 85.7 hectares of grass for livestock farming; 46.7 hectares were planted with vines and 41 hectares with olive trees.
All owners, small and large, diversified the crops to produce what was necessary, and everyone in this way had arable land, vineyards and olive groves.
Among the owners were two families from Lombardy, that of Pasino Lombardo and of Liombordo, both of which had very small ownership, nothing more than 300 cannas (about 4,850 square meters) intensively cultivated with vines.
We do not know if these two families were part of the mass number of Lombardis that in 1471-74 responded to the invitation made by the Jesi municipality to come to occupy empty houses on abandoned land due to a plague that decimated not only the castle of Santa Maria Nuova but entire areas of the Esino valley.
Most likely due to these Lombardi and Venetians, farmers, artisans, small entrepreneurs that found homes in the city and throughout the castles in the countryside, the grape variety was introduced from the first decades of the sixteenth century, with the name Verdicchi.
'500 TERRA ARBORATA CUM LA VITE
This is an analogous situation, occurring more frequently, found in the land registers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when registering other land under vines” in the Cupramontana countryside with the clarification of terra arborata cum la vite: a mixed cropping technique, “marrying” the grapevines to the Field Maple tree, commonly called “Arbulu”, noted in the districts of Barchio-Esinante and Alvareto in theLand Registry 1544, a technique that was progressively established from the sixteenth century onwards.
Verdicchio coexisted with other grape varieties contributing to the abundance of wine that was registered in the territory in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Only from the end of this period to the beginning of the twentieth century did they start to specialize in the extensive planting of Verdicchio, noting that the wine produced was of great quality and value.
In recent times, genetic analysis have shown a very close relationship between Verdicchio and Trebbiano di Soave (Verona), the result most likely due to the arrival in the area by the Lombardi in the late fifteenth century.
In any case Verdicchio is by now considered an indigenous variety having absorbed and assimilated the geomorphological characteristics and microclimate of our territory in the unique way with a product non-replicable.
1939: THE CAPITAL OF VERDICCHIO
Cupramontana in 1939 was justly called for the first time the “capital of Verdicchio” for its well-established winemaking tradition, reinforced by the Sagra dell’Uva (the Grape Festival) started in 1928 and above all the passion that the winemakers put into the cultivation of the vine and in the care of winemaking.
All the local districts were successful in expressing a very distinct product according to the specifics of the land and exposure to the sun, primarily the districts of San Michele, Valle, Colonara, Carpaneto, Paganello, Posserra, Salerna, Mandriole (for exposure to the sun); Follonica, San Marco, Pietrone (for the composition of the soil).
Each district currently, with its extensive vineyards and with the wise intervention of farmers who know how to combine tradition with cultural innovations, is producing a Verdicchio that while maintaining its organoleptic individuality also expresses the “stigma” of the district itself.
It is an asset, a value, of which the entire municipality is proud and which Cupramontana cannot not boast.
This is confirmed by the growing recognition and flattering results that numerous territories achieve, not disregarding that it was historically and still continues to be “the capital of Verdicchio”.