Making wine ‘just like the Romans’. Yeah, right

Unseemly, I know, to come back from a long absence with a rant… but I can’t help myself.

Typical of the shite journalism I read endlessly these days is this offering from today’s Guardian.

I don’t even know where to begin with this piece, which is shot through with enormous, gaping holes. Written by a young metropolitan reporter, it betrays total ignorance of, well, almost everything to do with the topic.

First off, the biggest sources for Roman viticulture are Varro, Cato and Pliny. Virgil, though he mentions the topic, is a very third-rate source. Probably dominates the piece because he’s the only Roman author the writer has heard of.

Then there’s the shocking ignorance of viticulture in general. Quite how, in the post-Phylloxera world, these Sicilian historians expect to grow vines and make wine “exactly as the ancient Romans did” is a mystery unenlightened by the Guardian writer’s questioning.

It is impossible, in 2013, either to grow the same varieties of grape the Romans did, or to do it in the same way(s). For starters, when you grow vinifera vines on American rootstocks (as you have to do nowadays), the vines need considerable fertiliser input to achieve anything like the yields of vineyards pre-Phylloxera. Presumably using any fertiliser at all (bar cow shit) was impossible for the Romans.

I could go on. Luckily for you (as I’m fond of saying), I won’t. I’ll just add this: Don’t believe a fucking word of what you read, anywhere.

It’s all shite.

2 Responses to “Making wine ‘just like the Romans’. Yeah, right”

  1. Simon Says:

    I don’t know anything about wine either but you do make me laugh, which is always useful.

  2. Lee Burns Says:

    Made me laugh. Ta for that.