Head of the Pack: Italian Village’s Vineyard Techniques Gain UNESCO Recognition

The line between vine and village can be a non-existent one.

 

Earlier this fall UNESCO designated the Italian winegrowing village of Pantelleria as a member of the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The village, which cultivates head-trained bush vines (vite ad alberello), has an identity intertwined with its agricultural practice and thus was considered and accepted into the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity circle.

 

“The people of Pantelleria continue to identify themselves with vine growing and strive to preserve this practice,” UNESCO’s summary of the village’s designation says. 

 

Members of the community prepared the documentation and research necessary to complete and submit the proper paperwork for the designation, UNESCO noted.

 

The village “could contribute to international recognition and visibility of intangible culture heritage in general, and more particularly on its link with agricultural knowledge and practices in rural areas, while demonstrating a capacity for creative adaption to a specific harsh environment,” UNESCO’s Pantelleria profile says.”

 

The Pantelleria vines produce the Zibibbo grape, also known as Muscat of Alexandria. The grape has North African origins and was introduced to Pantelleria by the Phoenicians, Italian publication La Repubblica said.

In response to the designation, President of the European Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Maurizio Martina praised the designation.

 

“The news…fills me with pride and satisfaction,” Martina said on his website. “This listing represents a turning point at the international level, because finally the values related to agriculture and the rural heritage are recognized as part of the larger cultural heritage of (the world).”

 

UNESCO describes the Pantelleria harvest in detail.

 

According to UNESCO, the village’s 5,000 inhabitants collectively own the vineyard. They use sustainable methods to cultivate the vines. 

 

“The technique consists of several phases,” UNESCO writes.

 

The ground is level and hollowed.

 

Then, the vine’s main stem “is … carefully pruned to produce six branches, forming a bush with a radial arrangement.”

 

Villagers constantly reshape the hollow “to ensure the plant is growing in the right microclimate,” UNESCO writes.

 

Wine grapes are harvested by hand during a ritual event at the end of July.

 

“The knowledge and skills of bearers and practitioners are handed down in families through oral and practical instruction in the local dialect,” UNESCO writes. 

 

Pantelleria has been in UNESCO’s Catalogue of the National Rural Landscapes since 2011 and the National Inventory of Traditional Rural Practices since 2013, but did not gain its official UNESCO status until this November, UNESCO noted.

 

Origin: Snooth – Articles

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