March 10, 2018

From Vineyard to Port: The Wine Cycle

VIEW ON THE PORT OF LA ROCHELLE (detail)
Claude-Joseph Vernet (1714-1789)

1762

Musée de la Marine, Paris

In his View on the Port of La Rochelle, Vernet places barrels in the foreground, despite the fact that La Rochelle had been overtaken by Bordeaux for the wine trade, and by Saintes for the trade in eau-de-vie produced in the Cognac region (this after having been for centuries – from the twelfth to the fifteenth century – the principal point of export for the Flemish wine trade, based in Bruges). Instead, during the eighteenth century, La Rochelle was to join Bordeaux and Nantes as a  principal slaving port, playing an active role in the so-called “triangular trade” between Europe, Africa and the Americas. The ships from France carried textiles, weapons, and luxury goods – including wine and eau-de-vie.

Goya The Grape Harvest or Autumn

THE GRAPE HARVEST or AUTUMN
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828)
1786
Museo del Prado, Madrid

  

Upon his arrival in Madrid in 1774 – and up until 1792 – Francisco de Goya designed tapestries for royal palaces. The work was unrewarding, as the finished tapestries, kept behind the closed doors of the workshop, were not for public display. The Grape Harvest or Autumn formed part of the fifth series of tapestry designs destined for the palace of the Prince of Asturies – that is, the Palace of Pardo, home of the future Charles IV and his wife, Maria Lousia of Parma. This image represents one of the four seasons. The paintings served as models for the weavers, whose luxurious tapestries included silver and gold thread. The theme of the seasons was often used to decorate Rococo dining halls. Goya made the work his own by converting allegories into bucolic scenes representing different times of year. The harvest is adopted as the symbol of autumn…

 

Find out more: Gallery From Vineyard to Vat >>

Marieschi Le Pont du Rialto depuis le Quai au vin

THE RIALTO BRIDGE FROM THE RIVA DEL VIN
Michele Marieschi (1710-1743)
1740-1743
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg

  

Before the rise of the railways, the wine trade often developed and operated from maritime ports. Venice played an important role in the growth of European wine; the city had a large part to play in terms of trade, but also in wine production – the Riva del Vin (Wine Quayside) still runs alongside the Grand Canal. In the thirteenth century, the Sérénissime imported and re-exported large quantities of Greek wine from Malvosia (Monemvasia), on the south-east coast of Peloponnese. This region produced a strong, sweet wine with the taste of muscat – very appreciated at the time. Some Venetians would even move to Greece, specifically Rhodes, to grow the vines. Venetian trade included many different wines, such as Cyprian wine, liquorish and well-reputed; Crete was also a good source of sweet, full-bodied wines…

 

Find out more: Gallery From Cellar to Port >>

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