After Devastating Harvest, Italian Winemakers To Meet With the Pope

Italian winemakers had a heartbreaking harvest following last winter’s mildness and this summer’s unprecedented rainfall and hailstorms; this is is their smallest harvest in 50 years. In hopes of turning their luck, an Italian wine delegation made of 150 winemakers, growers and sommeliers will parlay with Pope Francis in January to reemphasize the importance of wine in Italian culture and the Catholic religion Wine-searcher reports. Franco Ricci (acting head of the delegation), the president of the Italian Foundation of Sommeliers and the director of the Italian wine guide Bibenda are aware of the pope’s predilection for wine.

They may have a ready listener in Pope Francis, who has been oft-quoted extolling the joys of wine (“There is no party without wine…”) and whose grandfather grew wine grapes in the Piedmont region. Earlier this year, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi sent the Pope bottles from Giovanni Manetti Fontodi, Vignamaggio and Felsino Vin Santo.

The delegates are, no doubt, looking forward to conferring with Pope Francis, but in the interest of addressing the ecological issues that devastated this year’s crop, they may consider presenting their plight to the international community as well. Depreciated wine harvests are yet another incentive for policy makers to take an interest in climate change. [Wine-searcher] [Image: Flickr/Catholic Church England and Wales]