Ligurians, Celts, Etruscans, Gauls: there are many populations that already many centuries before the birth of Christ have crossed the lands that make up today's Canton Ticino. On a toponymical level, the origin of the names of many countries in our region indicate different and distant origins, proof of the important role played by Ticino in the course of history as a meeting point between peoples and cultures.
Where the roots of the Ticino vine lie
As far as the main theme of our blog and our activity, namely wine, is concerned, the conquerors of Ticino who are most interested in us are the Romans, who have left countless testimonies of their passage: remains of fortresses on the current fortress of Castel Grande in Bellinzona, for example, but also coins, tools and numerous objects. After the conquest of Insubria in 196 B.C., the dominion of Rome became more intense when more than five thousand settlers were brought to Ticino and laws, civil works and institutions became more widespread. The Roman cultural contribution plays a very important role in the history of Ticino, but this contribution was even more essential for the world of oenology: the Romans, in fact, brought with them the vine.
A history between centuries, cultures and continents
Since then, viticulture has become part of the rural economy of Ticino society. A valuable product, widespread and already a source of in-depth study at that time, wine was an important part of the diet of the noble Roman families, and perhaps this can explain why, at the same time as this people entered the scene, the vine spread over our hills. The history of Ticino wine has evolved along lines that every wine lover has undoubtedly had the opportunity to know: well known is the episode relating to phylloxera, the aphid that came from the Americas in 1869 causing the death of thousands of hectares of vines throughout Europe (and that decimated the plant in Ticino, to the point that it is believed that at the end of the nineteenth century the vineyard covered about 8000 hectares, an incredible number if compared to about 1200 hectares today). Equally well known is certainly the history of Merlot, the main grape variety of our region that in 2006 has completed its first century of cultivation.
A journey through time
It should certainly be acknowledged that the oldest part of the history of Ticino viticulture is little known, since there are few direct references to the vine in the first centuries after Christ. Historians believe that it is correct to believe that only in more recent (and more intensely documented) times has vine cultivation spread on a large scale: nevertheless, in our constant process of studying wine and its history, we had to (and indeed had the pleasure of) travelling back in time, up to two centuries before Christ, to discover where the most ancient roots of the Ticino vine lie.
On the subject of Ticino wine, our invitation is certainly to consult the dedicated section of our online wine shop. Moreover, the next weekend is a moment of great visibility for Ticino wine, since the weekend of the Fête des Vignerons is dedicated to our region.