Hailstorm destroys crop of ‘Holy Wine’

A freak hailstorm has forced one of Tuscany’s biggest producers of “Holy Wine” – believed to have been used in Mass in the Middle Ages – to forgo production in 2014.

wine_06_bigVin Santo, a dessert wine whose origins date back to the Middle Ages, is likely to be in short supply after Tenuta di Artimino’s entire crop was badly damaged in a hailstorm which hit just before harvest in September.

“The harvest was far from easy this year. Despite the rainfall and the other vagaries of the weather, the grapes were healthy, they were not helped by the rainfall and other vagaries of the weather. Then our vineyards were hit by a terrific hailstorm,” estate manager Alessandro Matteoli told the Italian news agency Ansa.

“It was a difficult decision to take but rather than disappoint customers who know the quality of our wines, we have decided not produce any Vin Santo or Carmignano Riserva this year.”

Tenuata di Artimino, built around a Medici villa that is a world heritage site and located in the hills of Chianti, usually produces around 5,000 bottles of Vin Santo a year.

There are two types of Vin Santo; an amber version made from dried white grapes and Occhio di Pernice, a rose version made from Sangiovese.

The Italian dessert wine is traditionally served as a welcome drink and served with amaretti or cantucci biscuits which are dipped in the wine.

It has generally been a bad year for Italian grape growers with harvests expected to be at their lowest in 64 years with bad weather blamed for a drop in production across the country.

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