Wine production in the Southern Italian region of Campania is an ancient tradition originating with Greek colonization in the Eighth Century B.C.
That passion for wine resurged in during the rule of the Bourbon kings, particularly in the second half of the Eighteenth Century.
The Bourbon family’s interest in wine lead to a decision by King Ferdinando IV to plant an experimental vineyard near Caserta in San Leucio (small town known for its silk fabrics) named “Vigna del Ventaglio” or “the fan vineyard”.
The vineyard was laid out in the shape of a fan with its gate at the centre of the vineyard and 10 rows of vines extending from the centre outward from right to left in a semicircular. Each row contained a different grape varietal, indicated on a “Travertino”, a typical stone slab from the area, at the beginning of each row.
The sun exposure and the yield per plant were optimal. In the first two decades of the Nineteenth Century, the Vigna del Ventaglio produced an average of 80 “Barili” of wine (approximately 1600 litres).
The location was perfectly situated on the right hand side (southeast) of Mountain San Leucio between the “Belvedere” (where the church of San Leucio is located) and the hill of San Silvestro (on which today sits a World Wildlife Fund reserve).
Famous writer Cavalier Sancio wrote the flowing in 1826 about Vigna del Ventaglio:
“Nature, altitude and the position of the land made this location very suitable for a vineyard.
The vineyard was planted 50 years earlier on several pieces of land (described in section 43 on local maps) bought from the Panaro family.
The shape of this vineyard is unique: semicircular, divided in 10 rows similar to a fan from which it took its name. The grape vines are short, according to the Italian system, and total as much as 10.000 plant. No other trees have been planted in the vineyard, nor any other kind of cultivation, except for fava beans which are used for fertilizer.
At the very top of the hill, outside the vineyard, a farmhouse surrounded by trees under whose shadow a few seats and benches have been built in the year 1828 to allow the Royal Family to stop and rest.”