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‘World’s smallest vineyard’ sells wine at US$5,000 a bottle but doesn’t want you to drink it

Nestled on the rooftop of a building in Italy’s Reggio Emilia is ‘Via Maria’, which lays claim to being the world’s smallest vineyard and produces just 29 bottles of red wine per year. They will set you back US$5,000 each, and the vineyard’s owner, Tullio Masoni, says you shouldn’t drink the wine. 

World's smallest vineyard: Via Maria 10 in Italy
Credit: Facebook/ Via Maria 10

Tullio Masoni was inspired to create his own rooftop winery after selling a vineyard he inherited in the countryside surrounding Reggio Emilia, a decision he says he later regretted.

The former investment banker, turned winemaker and art collector, says that at the time he couldn’t see any commercial viability in the vineyard he inherited and so sold it.

“However, 20 years later I regretted it, so I made myself a pocket-size vineyard”, he told CNN.

Via Maria 10, at just 200 square feet and nestled among the rooftops of the Italian town of Reggio Emilia, is far from your typical vineyard. But that’s kind of the point.

Masoni doesn’t seem to be a man who does things the conventional way. Via Maria 10, which he says is the world’s smallest vineyard, produces just 29 bottles of red wine per year, priced at a somewhat eye watering $5,000 per bottle.

What’s more, they aren’t sold via a website or in a wine merchant, but rather in a local art gallery located just a few blocks from the vineyard.

“My wine is a form of artistic expression, a philosophical provocation, something to keep in your living room so you can chat about it with your friends and tell them about the lunatic who put a vineyard on his rooftop,” Masoni told CNN.

Tullio Masoni - owner of the world's smallest vineyard
Credit: YouTube/Augusto Ruggiero

“If you see a bicycle wheel in a living room rather than a repair shop, you realize how beautiful it is,” Masoni said, seemingly a reference to the French conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp, who hung a bicycle wheel on the wall of his studio. “My vineyard is like that: It’s unexpected; it stimulates the brain; it sparks new thoughts.”

Art is at the centre of the entire operation at Via Maria 10. The vines grow on trellises made by a local sculptor, while the resulting wine is aged in oak barrels that are actually works of art by another local artist.

“My grapes grapple art as soon as they’re born,” Masoni said.

As such, he asks that people treat his bottles of wine as works of art – he says they should never be opened and never drunk.

The Sangiovese vines are fed with eggs, bananas, seaweed and nightingale droppings, CNN reports. Masoni insists that they are also affected by the noises of the town that surrounds his vineyard.

As for a tasting note?

“At the first sip you get a lot of perplexity, but after a few seconds something comes alive in your palate that opens up your mind to a new dimension”.


Via Maria 10, Reggio Emilia, Italy

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