Monday, 7 January 2008

Vineyard Honeymoons

Personally I think a honeymoon in a chateau nestled amongst its vines in Bordeaux would be idyllic – but then I am biased. There are several chateaux that offer beautiful honeymoons and they are listed at drakeandcavendish.com/luxury_hotels/france/south_west/bordeaux/. Romance seems to echo from the faded patina of their sun bleached walls and grand baroque interiors.

Themed holidays are all the rage and if antiquity appeals to you then Pompeii offers both archaeology and viticulture. Archaeologists discovered the remains of a vineyard in the ruins of Pompeii in the 1990s. Wine played a central role in the lives of the Vesuvian peoples. Excavations found evidence of the vine roots which confirmed that Pompeii not only had vineyards but that grapes were grown within the ancient city walls and in the gardens and orchards of beautiful villas.

In 1996, Mastroberardino, the vintners who put modern Campanian wines on the map, were offered the chance to revive the vineyards. With support from the Italian government, guidance from ancient writings such as Pliny's Natural History and viticultural research based on Pompeii's frescoes, Mastroberardino planted vineyards that replicated those of A.D. 79, the year Vesuvius erupted and buried Pompeii.

The vines are planted in the very spot where the Vesuvians grew their grapes. The closely planted vines are supported by wooden chestnut stakes, placed in the same hollows preserved by chalk casts 2000 years ago. Piedirosso and Sciascinoso grapes were chosen on the basis of archaeological finds, botanic, bibliographic and iconographic studies from the ancient Pompeian frescoes.

Mastroberardino recently released its first vintage, the 2001 Villa dei Misteri (Villa of the Mysteries) and at a charity auction in Rome, 6-bottle cases ultimately sold for almost $1,000.

Images Courtesy of www.flickr.com

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