Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture

Welcome to Rome Across Europe!

It’s time to take a look at another UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Last week we were in Turkey as we visited the Old Town of Cáceres.

Today we’re headed to Hispania, more specifically Portugal, as we check out the Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture!

The Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture is an outstanding example of the adaptation of farming practices to a remote and challenging environment. Pico Island is 1 of 9 volcanic islands in the Azores Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean.

The island contains spectacular evidence of grape-growing and wine-making (viticulture), with an imposing pattern of orderly, long, linear walls running inland from, and parallel to, the rocky coastline around its northern and western edges. The stone walls form thousands of small, contiguous, rectangular plots built to protect crops from wind and salt spray.

Vines were, and continue to be, planted within the small and soilless plots (locally called currais). The extensive system of small fields, as well as the buildings (manor houses, wine cellars, warehouses, conventional houses, and churches), pathways and wells, ports and ramps, were produced by generations of farmers enabling the production of wine.

Begun in the 15th Century, wine production on Pico Island reached its peak in the 19th Century and then gradually declined due to plant disease and desertification (loss of soil and reduced rainfall). However, a low level of grape vine growing and high-quality wine production continues to be undertaken and expanded, especially around the village of Criação Velha.

How This Relates to Rome:

Romans originally invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 219 BC. During the last days of Julius Caesar, almost the entire peninsula had been annexed to the Roman Republic.

Rome installed a colonial regime, with the complete Romanization of Lusitania taking place in the Visigothic era. In 27 BC, Lusitania gained the status of Roman province.

Ancient Rome played a pivotal role in the history of wine. The earliest influences on the viticulture of the Italian Peninsula can be traced to Ancient Greeks and the Etruscans.

The rise of the Roman Empire saw both technological advances in and burgeoning awareness of winemaking, which spread to all parts of the Empire. Rome‘s influence has had a profound effect on the histories of today’s major winemaking regions in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

We hope you enjoyed today’s adventure. Thanks for stopping by and we hope  you check us out again soon.

Till next time, Don’t Stop Rome-ing!