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"There is no celebration without wine": Pope Francis lends his support to Italian winemakers

As he welcomed Italian winemakers to the Vatican, Pope Francis was full of enthusiasm.

Pope Francis is definitely not one for hygienic messages of prevention. In 2020, the pontiff described whisky as "holy water". Last September, he enjoyed a natural wine from Auvergne during his visit to Marseille. And this time, at the Vatican, in front of a hundred or so representatives of the Italian wine industry, the head of the Catholic Church let himself go with a declaration of love for the product of the vine. "Wine and land are gifts from God (...) There is no celebration without wine", he told the many winegrowers present at the episcopal palace on January 22, assuring them that the wedding at Cana would have been a sad affair without Jesus' miracle. According to the Holy Father, wine must remain the "fruit of honest work and within everyone's reach, not just those who manage to spend more on bottles".

Pope Francis also encouraged winemakers to produce quality wine and integrate an ecological dimension into their work. "The application of industrial techniques and commercial logic is not enough. The land, the vines, the processes of cultivation, fermentation and ageing require coherence, care and patience", he added.

Against a backdrop of declining consumption worldwide, and a biologist's claim in several Italian media that wine is carcinogenic, winegrowers welcomed the Pope's message. "The papal speech was almost a blessing for us producers," exulted Matteo Lunelli, head of the Lunelli estate in northern Italy, quoted by Corriere della Sera. Federico Bricolo, president of VeronaFiere, which hosts Italy's most important wine fair, spoke of an event of "exceptional importance for the sector".

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