In Italy, a country of inestimable eno-gastronomic culture, the knowledge of wine has equally ancient roots. This heritage must be safeguarded and disseminated, especially among the new generations. This, also to educate to drink, as a conscious attitude.
Wine museums, scattered throughout Italy, are one of the most useful tools to attract not only lovers of the item but also lovers of art and culture in a broad sense. Yes, because quality wine is art and tells the culture and history of the territory in which it is born. The producers of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, one of the prides of Italy wine, are well aware of this, and they gave life to the consortium of the same name, the first Italian DOC wine, with the aim of spreading the knowledge of this rare Tuscan white wine.
In 2017, the Consortium inaugurated “Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience”, in the heart of San Gimignano (Siena), a building that wants to tell Vernaccia wine not only through the tasting experience but also through knowledge and cultural sharing.
Conceived by architect Piero Guicciardini, the structure is designed as a state-of-the-art multimedia museum and is the only one in Italy to be managed by producers.
Irina Strozzi, President of the Consortium, explains the peculiarity of the structure and the news that await visitors after the break due to the health emergency.
In the Italy of museums, the world of wine offers structures scattered throughout the country that are often not well-known enough, yet deserve to be disclosed precisely because of their high cultural value. In this context, “Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience” is proposed as something more than a “simple” museum. Can you tell us me about this diversity?
As the name of the structure declares, the one we have created in the Rocca di Montestaffoli, in the center of San Gimignano and in the highest and most panoramic point of the town, is the place where the Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine experience is experienced, therefore that of tasting, knowledge and emotional contact with it. We start from the assumption that wine is culture, a glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano embodies centuries of history, traditions, agronomic and oenological practice, art and the territory understood as a community of men who act on their land, draw it, they keep it and pass it on. Here, ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience’ tells all this.
How many rooms is the museum divided into and what are the valuable materials present, useful for reconstructing the historical-cultural path of Vernaccia?
On the first floor we find four single-issue rooms, in which images, lights, sounds, voices, videos, holograms, virtual reality viewers tell the story, the territory and the wine, from the harvest to the vinification of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, its characteristics organoleptic, its perfumes.
On the ground floor, however, we find the two rooms dedicated to the direct experience of wine, one with a counter for tasting by the glass (today this part is closed for anti-Covid19 regulations), the other with the tables where the master classes conducted by the staff of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Consortium.
How is the visit to the museum organized in current times?
Like all museum activities, Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience was closed for many months, due to the pandemic. With the reopening we had to reorganize the usability of the structure in order to comply with all the Covid containment rules: access to guided tastings only by booking online, tastings by the glass only at the tables with the sommelier service (the counter is closed), visit to the museum part of the upper floor only for small groups accompanied by Consortium staff.
For this reason, we are completely redesigning the website of ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience’, https://wineexperience.vernacciasangimignano.it/, visitors and wine lovers will find in a simple and direct way all the information on the types of tasting they can book directly.
Which type of visitor prevails: local tourism, international, school groups?
The majority of visitors are of international origin, San Gimignano is a tourist destination that in the pre-Covid era counted more than 3 million tourists every year, many of them wine lovers.
What medium and long-term objectives does the structure have, especially to convey the knowledge of Vernaccia abroad?
The structure was born precisely with this objective: to make Vernaccia di San Gimignano known in its place of origin, to make visitors ambassadors of this wine in their countries of origin and in other Italian regions.
For this reason, the experience we offer is all-round, we make known the Vernaccia di San Gimignano docg, its history and its territory, but we also provide all the information on companies where to buy wine and on combinations at the table, traditional ones and unusual ones.
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