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