Many of the grapes grown on the Amalfi Coast have ancient lineages that date back to Roman times.
Indeed, Falanghina, one of the most popular white wine varieties, is produced from the famed Falernian grapes so favored by the ancient Romans, but the grape is probably of ancient Greek origin.
Other grape varieties of special interest in the area include Greco di Tufo, another grape of possible Greek origin, and Piedirosso, a dark red grape that is famously grown on the slopes of Vesuvius and the isle of Capri.
The Cantina Episcopio is the oldest and best known of the Ravello vineyards.
Established in 1860 by Pasquale Palumbo, the vineyard has been handed down through four generations to the great grandson, Marco Vuilleumier. The wines of the Cantina Episcopio first received international recognition in 1880, when a submission earned first place in a prestigious London wine tasting.
Today, the vineyard features wines made from local grapes: Ginestrella, Pepella, San Nicola, Biancazita, and Biancatenera for white wines, and Aglianico, Serpentaria, and Piedirosso for red.
Some of the other popular wines produced in Ravello include Selva delle Monache, a crisp white wine produced by Ettore Sanmarco, and the red wines produced under the label Vini Gran Caruso.
Robert Walker, a lawyer, economist, and consultant who has worked in Washington, D.C. for over 30 years, is the author of Discovering Ravello, a short booklet on the history and attractions of Ravello. He and his wife, Chris Apel, first visited Ravello nearly 25 years ago, and have been frequent visitors ever since. His wife is an award winning artist who recently created a website (www.discoveringravello.com) to showcase her paintings of Ravello. He and his wife both lecture on Ravello. They live in Alexandria, Virginia.
...not to be missed!