In Burgundy in 15th century, Port and Chianti in the 18th century and Champagne in the next hundred years, it has been the commercial success to give vineyards their value
Obviously politics, connections and other circumstances have had an important role but it is always wine business that generates richness that increases the value of the terroir and attracts investors.A prosaic explanation that might be true but certainly less charming than the idea that it is the quality of a wine that crates the myth and the value of a specific territory.This is the extreme synthesis what is said in the report by Giulia Meloni and Johan Swinnen published by Wine Economics, titled Trade and terroir: the political economy of the world’s first geographical indications.We can concentrate on the analysis of the Chianti region. After the Roman era where the eternal city was the centre of wine commerce, there came the medieval period where vineyards and wine commerce were abandoned. In the 15th century Florence and Siena held the main wine markets.
This corresponded to investments made in creating vineyards, building villas, carrying out of research and introductions of salaries for those who worked in making wines. The exporting of Tuscan wines takes off when the English-French war creates serious problems for the Bordeaux wineries and so the English traders begin to seek alternatives to the Chiaretto.
So the Grand Duke Cosimo III in 1698 cancels the ban on the exporting of wine and the impact is rapid: from 300 Hl exported in 1675 to 13.000 Hl when the ban was removed. The noble Florentine families– Antinori, Frescobaldi, da Verrazzano, Ricasoli .. got rich with their wines and understood the opportunity to protect their businesses. Under their pressure the Grand Duke III emitted another two notices in 1716 that delimited the production areas and the sale of Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Valdarno superiore.