Over the centuries, wine has inspired artists and poets alike with the first evidence in pictorial representations (bas-relief) of ancient Egyptian art, dating back to the fourth millennium BC. Valued for its sacral, curative and funereal value (evident in the finding of grape seeds in Egyptian tombs), wine has been depicted during feasts and ceremonies through the ages. The first images of viticulture, harvest and winemaking were also recorded on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.
As history unfurled, the Phoenicians, Greeks and later the Etruscans frequently depicted wine in art in the form of mosaics and on vases and amphorae, whilst the iconography of the Gods Dionysus (Greek) and Bacchus (Roman) has been passed down through myriad eras and movements inspiring artists right through to the Renaissance.
Many examples of wine in art are documented through the 1500s and 1600s gathering increasingly complex introspection both in the Italian and Flemish schools and throughout the Baroque period wine and grapes are featured extensively in still life portrayals. But as we approach the 1900s more examples can be seen of wine associated with virtue, triumph or celebration once more and within contemporary art movements, wine appears to have freed itself from stereotypical or classical iconography gaining more of a personal relationship or interpretation with the artist.
Through the ages, many important wine families have been patrons of the arts, particularly in Tuscany, creating an intrinsic bond between art and wine. At Montecalvi, we are collaborating with the renowned local artist, Sandro Granucci. Sandro crafted the label for our Chianti Classico Riserva, entitled ‘Equilibrio Ecologico’, the sculpture of which is at Montecalvi. And we are working with Sandro now for a new label for the Alta Valle della Greve, which we are very excited about and hope to introduce shortly.
From a winemaking perspective, we are often reminded of the importance of art in winemaking, taking creative decisions, working with the ebbs and flows of Nature, blending, patience and putting yourself very personally on the stage when you launch a new wine. It is no wonder that this elixir is so evocative to the creative world.