The Mountain Wine, 1800-1900: Case Studies from the Provinces of Sondrio and Trento

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The cultivation of vines and the production of wine represent in the Italian alpine areas - and specifically for Valtellina (Lombardy) and for Trentino-Alto Adige - an exemplary case of historical analysis for a cultivation integrated in a polycultural economy. The wine from residual factor and self-consumption turns over the centuries into primary and quality crops. In the late Middle Ages and in the Modern Age the spaces dedicated to the vines are linked to feudal and collective rules for land management. Besides, the complex geo-climatic conditions affect the wine activity. With the Eighteenth century, a deep crisis in the mid-nineteenth century causes a "long stagnation" of production and winemaking. In addition, these Alpine areas became regions of the Reign of Italy and so determine a loss of trade flows. Faced with stagnation, the Alpine territories seem incapable of generating processes of resilience and the reduction of the oenological activity feeds a financial and income depression that has its outlet in emigration. The condition of productive and qualitative regression remains until the Forties of the twentieth century and the two World Wars represent a further factor of perturbation. Only in the Fifties in the two areas there are processes of change caracterised by a product qualification that appears with a stronger intensity in the Trentino area than in Valtellina. The essay investigates how the two areas are united by the "typical" identity of the mountain economy, always alternating growth and stagnation, conservation and innovation. At the same time, the research highlights how different paths of transformation are manifested in different forms with the modernization that restores the historical legacy of "heroic cultivation".
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA History of Wine in Europe, 19th to 20th Centuries, Volume I, Winegrowing and Regional Features
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series



  • agricoltura
  • agriculture
  • region
  • regione


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