Was Leonardo da Vinci a winemaker?
7 MAY 2019 – THE ANSWER to this question is a complex one. The man knew about wine quite a lot, he took time to describe it “licore suave e odorifero” along with the prescription of not to drink it on an empty stomach. He cared for it, too. The vineyard he was presented by Ludovico il Moro, chieftain of the Sforza family in Milan in 1498, is among the personal properties he disposed of in his will. And he decided to hand it over to Salai, his favorite pupil. There are more facts in Leonardo’s biography and papers that claim his knowledge of the winery world and habits, but still the story of the milanese vineyard is maybe the most famous, and certainly one to be remembered.
He was given the vineyard while he was painting The last Supper in the Santa Maria delle Grazie Cenacolo. The house Leonardo was inhabiting in those years was Casa degli Atellani, located in nowadays Corso Magenta, and the vineyard was in the casa degli Atellani backyard. Ludovico il Moro gave it to Leonardo as a present for the extraordinary achievement of The last Supper. And the Da Vinci kept it dear for the rest of his life.
SO NO SURPRISE if the vineyard, located in the very center of Milan, survived for centuries the death of his master. During the bombing of the city in 1943, the vineyard was severely damaged and then lost to all, until the actual owners of the Casa degli Atellani decided to get it back to its original shape. In 2014, for the world Expo in Milan, Leonardo’s vineyard was once again a vibrating memory of the life and likings of its first owner.
It was while being enchanted by the serene atmosphere of the vineyard in Milan, that Countess Veronica Billeri Passerin d’Entrèves decided that for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death a bit of that beloved vineyard had ‘to be moved’ to native Vinci hills.
Veronica Billeri Passerin d’Entrèves
There were many difficulties to be overcome, but Countess Veronica is a woman of iron will.
ON THE VERY same day of Leonardo’s death 500th anniversary, May 2nd 2019, in the garden of Villa Dianella in Vinci, the clones of Leonardo’s vineyard were planted for the joy of the Countess (Villa Dianella owner) and all the people who would like to see it grow and flourish in honor of its old master’s memory .
Leonardo Da Vinci’s vineyard in Villa Dianella.
MALVASIA del Candia is the grape variety of Leonardo Da Vinci’s vineyard, but there isn’t any chance to taste a wine produced with its grapes: the vineyard is intended only for visiting and cultural purposes.