THE HISTORY OF A STRATEGIC TERRITORY

The territory that includes Verona, Colognola, Soave and San Bonifacio represents the likely area in which vines were grown in Roman times.
The vines cultivated here at that time yielded so-called Retic grapes and the wine was obtained by the immediate crushing of the grapes by means of millstones or presses with simple lever systems. It was kept in clay amphoras of various shapes, some of which may be admired today in the Archaeological Museum of Cologna Veneta. From the ports of Verona these could be transported as far as Venice and Aquileia. There were, above all, two communication routes that made the area attractive to the Romans: the River Adige and the Porcilana Road, which joined into the Via Postumia.
Both combined in the development of wine production throughout the Verona area. Vines were cultivated in very small estates, and often in symbiosis with other crops. Hilly zones were preferred, but lands in the plain, where the vines’ shoots could be supported by the branches of other plants, were not disdained either.
Vines undoubtedly spread throughout the area to the east of Verona during the Roman era, but did so with even greater vigour in the Middle Ages. In this period, the Christian religion provided important support for viticulture because of the use of wine in the Eucharist. However, the possibility of transporting wine contributed to the ready distribution of the beverage, which became progressively more available to all.
The presence of monks (especially the Benedictines) and of the clergy was fundamental, because it was they who tilled and reclaimed the lands where the various tributaries of the Adige had once flowed freely.
We can now be fairly certain that, during the period of the Roman Empire, the course of the Adige had become reasonably stable, with embankments in the vicinity of the various towns. The stratigraphy of the soil explains why there came to be viticulture in this area and especially why there should have been production of “sand wines”, whose origin derives from the particular conformation of the ground. The Adige, in fact, contributed significantly in creating sedimentation in this area, depositing as it flowed - at times calmly, at others violently – material of various kinds, such as gravel and sand. The Parish Churches, which are spread throughout the area which we are dealing with here, were built and developed under the influence of the Benedictine monks.
The whole of the zone to the left of the Adige was referred to by a single toponym, Fiumenovo, which consisted of a large part of the alluvial plain that, at one time, had been covered in woodland, thickets and ponds.
In historical property inventories and in individual documents relating to donations, leases and conveyances one invariably finds references to wine and to its production.