Ancient Roman Grand Cru,Italy,Wine

From Atri with Love ~ Imagine Enjoying a Wine from an Ancient Roman Grand Cru?

Very interesting E-Mail from Vinum Hadrianum: the exact wine the Roman Emperors drank

With my team at Vinum Hadrianum, we produce wines concerning tradition, trying to revive the legendary Vinum Hadrianum, one of the seven renowned crus of the Roman Empire, from Atri, Abruzzo.

SIDEBAR: Atri is the setting of the poem The Bell of Atri by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Its name is the origin of the name of Emperor Hadrian.

[PHOTO: Atri, Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy: exterior of an old typical house with plants and flowers.]

“Our two limited edition wines are created from organic grapes. We use Trebbiano d’Abruzzo for our white “Aelio,” and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo for our red wine “Maximo.” They both are produced with extended skin contact, and are fermented and matured in traditional amphorae.

“We will soon bottle our first production of 2018. Feel free to share our attached story, or to just draw inspiration for a terrific blog post, and don’t hesitate to write back with questions and inquiries!”

Intriguing, to say the least. Wine-Blog has brought really interesting, historical wine facts from around the world for me to explore… Not this.

It wasn’t until I traveled to Europe and saw the majesty of ancient amphorae, lined against a wall, their terra cotta colored clay, their spigots ready for tapping at the bottom, the aromas of ancient history…

[PHOTO: Jo Diaz, Monsaraz, Portugal]

And, here is Vinum Hadrianum, returning to Ancient Rome, for a throwback in history. One of my most interesting stories I’ve ever researched and written came to me last July, when I visited Château Roubine Cru Classé. To have stood where Knights Templar had once stood as a base location, where they wined and fed themselves as they prepared to help pilgrims travel with safe passage to the holy lands… Very awe-inspiring.

And now, the wine they drank? Such an endeavor is truly remarkable.

[PHOTO: Vinum Hadrianum Website.]



Wine has been a precious drink since the dawn of time and it remains a sought-after drink by most people all over the world. It takes only a look at the color and a whiff of the smells to lure you into drinking it. Perhaps they also fall in love with it.

In Vinum Hadrianum, our goal is to revive the traditional ways of winemaking in ancient Rome and to rediscover wine authenticity. Viticulture and winemaking secrets have been passed on from generation to generation since the Roman times in Atri, our little town in Abruzzo. Without them, our authentic wines couldn’t be possible. Vinum Hadrianum is one of the seven most renowned Grand Crus of the Roman empire. It was created in the ancient town of Hatria, which is known today as Atri, where we are based. We honor this name by producing entirely handcrafted wines, using techniques that have long been forgotten, but are living a revival with us.


The first two wines of Vinum Hadrianum will be soon released. “Aelio” from Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, and “Maximo” from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. They’re both from traditional indigenous varieties and are aged in hand-crafted amphorae. Extended maceration has helped to achieve vibrantly colored wines, with an incredibly higher concentration of flavors, while having an interesting spin on tannins.

THIS, I would love to taste. Do you agree?
The Atri commune sits in the heart of Abruzzo not far from the coast where Italy meets the Adriatic Sea.


Vinum Hadrianum wines are aged in unique hand-crafted amphorae. Local artisan potters, trained in the Castelli method, craft them using the local clay, which was renowned since antiquity due to its ability to create superior pottery, since it’s both lightweight and strong. The amphorae are still made most traditionally. The artisan potters form and cook them in kilns in a local cave, the same way our ancestors did.
These amphorae were widely used in ancient Roman times, to age and transport wine. They gave it great longevity and they support our Vinum Hadrianum wines with extended aging potential. Our wine gets more complex and richly flavored with every day it spends in the amphorae, with the evolution continuing in the bottle.

PHOTO: The Atri commune sits in the heart of Abruzzo not far from the coast where Italy meets the Adriatic Sea.


Atri is ideal for organic wine production and the combination of climate, soil, and topography guarantees high-quality grapes. The steep terrain of the Calanchi doesn’t allow for mechanization so everything is farmed by hand. This makes work especially hard, since no chemical treatments are applied, to get pure grapes. When you take a stroll through our vineyards, you can’t miss the aromatic bouquet of the wild licorice plants. We let them grow freely because we adore the subtle flavor they give to our wines, as it is an original expression of our terroir.

Our vineyards in Atri are influenced by the Adriatic Sea, which brings occasional rainstorms that give precious water to the vines. The Calanchi terrain is rich in clay, so vines always have the water they need. This soil is perfect for viticulture because it also drains well, allowing the vines to dig deep into the earth. As a result, we get premium grapes without having to irrigate our vineyards.

[PHOTO: The Feast of Achelo, painting by Peter Paul Rubens created in 1615. Purchased]


Due to the hard viticulture conditions and the artisanal way of production, only a limited number of bottles of Vinum Hadrianum are produced every year. It’s your chance to have a sip of the exact wine the Roman Emperors drank. Abruzzo’s most famous wine of antiquity can now be in your glass.

Vinum Hadrianum

2 Responses to “From Atri with Love ~ Imagine Enjoying a Wine from an Ancient Roman Grand Cru?”

  1. Jo;
    Interesting article
    Several questions
    Why the title from greece with love?
    Greeks had nothing to do with settling this area of Italy
    the wine is made from non-ancient varieties,unlikely related to anything romans used (though DNA analyses would be helpful here, but difficult to prove)
    Atri so far as my studies and mapping for our book (Divine Vintage) was not a famous area for wine during the Roman era, and Atri has nothing to do, so far as I know, for Hadrian’s name, as he was born and raised in Spain, then adopted as son by Trajan, another Spanish Emperor.

    Most importantly– who is the importer here in US for these wines, and do you know how much they cost?
    Certainly applaud their efforts- would love to try these.
    Joel (joelbutlermw@gmail.com

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Hi, Joel,

    I just changed from Greece to Atri. (Greece was in email title, which I was trying to understand, and should have asked the question. The person who wrote to me is living in Greece. he also just asked if I’d change it to Atri. (Done)

    Atri is where this brand is location. From their history page: Our commune Hatria has an exceptionally rich history, both as a wine producing region and as an important part of the Roman Empire. It was once part of an ancient Roman region called Picenum and was known as Hatria or Hadria. The historical record has immortalised Picenum for taking the side of Rome against Hannibal during the Second Punic War. For its efforts, Rome awarded the people of Picenum citizenship. Hadria itself was later given the title Colonia Aelia Hadria. MORE: https://www.vinumhadrianum.com/pages/the-history

    I wasn’t given an importer, and I have a feeling there isn’t one, yet. This hasn’t stopped all of the brands from around the world writing to me about their wines, though. This one is so unusual that I felt it’s a story worth relating.

    I don’t mind helping a winery in its infant stages, as I’ve had a litany of clients in this very situation… In the beginning stage of a first vintages, they are only hopeful to begin to build a brand. And, I’m willing to go there, because my shoes have walked the walk for so long for others.

    I do understand how large publications aren’t going to help them. They’re not in the business of building brands. It does no service to their readers, just like it wouldn’t help you in recommending, either, at this point. So, I do understand your reasoning. I trust you will understand mine, too. I’ve broken so many stories – like the first mention ever of African American vintners. That’s why I started the group, and within a year news of them hit Milasia. (I knew I had done my job… smile.)

    This was an informational press release, just to let us know what they’ve begun to do. They do talk about how few bottles will now be released. I can’t find hte exact numbers, although I did fall upon it yesterday, when writing it, but didn’t insert that detail, and have spent a half hour looking for it, now.

    If you’d like, I can ask my contact if they’d be willing to get samples to you? Just let me know and we’ll work on it. I can’t imagine anyone better to get that first outside tasting. Just let me know.

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