Pope reminds producers that ‘wine is for everyone’
Addressing more than 100 Italian wine producers during a private audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis stressed that wine is “not just for those who have more opportunities”.
Wine producers gathered at the Vatican Apostolic Palace this week for a discussion as part of an initiative called “The Economy of St. Francis and the World of Italian Wine”.
Organised by Veronafiere-Vinitaly, the establishment responsible for staging Italy’s biggest annual trade show, the private audience with the Pope on 22 January was attended by more than 100 wine producers and trade representatives.
During his welcome address, Pope Francis told guests that “wine, land, agricultural skills and enterprise are gifts from God.”
Continuing, he appeared to favour the democratisation of wine, reminding his audience that wine and the produce of the land is for everyone, “not just for those who have more opportunities”.
“The Creator has entrusted all this to us, to our sensitivity and our honesty, so that we can turn them, as the Scriptures say, into a true source of joy for the heart of Man and of every man, not just those who have more opportunities,” he said.
Respect is fundamental in the wine business
During his address, Pope Francis also highlighted the importance of approaching the wine trade with ethics front of mind.
“Given the number of companies involved, the quality of your products and impact in terms of employment,” Pope Francis told producers, “your sector is unquestionably a significant reality on the Italian and international wine scene.
“It is therefore reassuring to see you come together to consider the ethical aspects and moral responsibilities all this entails.”
Pope Francis acknowledged that “respect, in your field, is certainly fundamental” when it comes to following guidelines including “attention to the environment, work and healthy consumption habits” of alcohol.
“The mere application of industrial techniques and business logic are not enough to ensure quality products,” he added. “The land, vineyards, cultivation, fermentation and maturing processes require consistency, attention and patience.”
Federico Bricolo, president of Veronafiere, commented:
“The Audience we attended thanks to the support of the Diocese of Verona and in particular of Bishop Monsignor Domenico Pompili, is an event of extraordinary importance for Veronafiere which, through Vinitaly, involves the main exponents of a sector which more than others expresses such a strong connection with our cultural origins.
As Pope Francis reminded us,” Bricolo said, “we pay homage to wine as a gift from God, a symbol of tradition and a sustainable economic system in social and environmental terms. We emphasise our commitment with Vinitaly to preserve and enhance the winemaking heritage of our community to ensure that wine continues to be an aspect of social cohesion and open dialogue that inspires conviviality to bring people together.”
In 2020, Pope Francis was censored for calling Scotch whisky “the real” holy water during a visit to a Roman priest school.
Due to feature in a television documentary, the Vatican censored the Pope’s whisky quip, demanding it was taken out of the film before it aired.