Artist Wine Jugs for Nouveau Wine

Italian Ceramics - Vaselle d'autore 2009 - TorgianoThe practice of releasing the nouveau wine in November – a huge marketing event – is commonly associated with France, where on the third Thursday of the month the Beaujolais Nouveau is first sold.

However, if you google “nouveau wine” you’ll find out that the development of “primeur” wines is a tradition in many other wine-producing countries.

In Italy St. Martin’s Day marks the beginning of the new wine tasting. Many festivals are held that celebrate the maturation of the year’s wine, under the spell of the old saying “A San Martino ogni mosto e’ vino”.The traditional celebration of nouveau wine is also the idea behind “Artist Wine Jugs for Nouveau Wine” – Vaselle d’Autore per il Vino Novello. This peculiar event is organized every year in Torgiano, Umbria.

Winemaking has always been part of people’s lives in this old medieval village, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Italy. Vineyards spread across rolling hills for miles around the ancient castle and great wines are actually made here every year.

In the past nouveau wine was traditionally poured from large wine casks into ceramic wine jugs and directly served. The jugs, or vaselle, were very simply shaped and decorated by the “cocciari”, the local makers of functional pottery. They fired their tableware using the public kilns that were built into the thick town walls.

Nowadays the vaselle are a symbol of the timeless connection between pottery making and wine, art and life.

Every year three modern artists are invited to Torgiano to shape their personal interpretation of the wine jugs. The exhibition of their ceramic works starts when the nouveau wines are released and usually goes on until after Christmas.

The 2009 edition of the event is curated by Nino Caruso and is displaying original vaselle made by Ettore Consolazione, Poul Johannes Jensen e Scott Phillip Ross.

A visit to Torgiano is definitely recommended. In addition to the exhibition, the town offers the charm of its medieval streets, a breathtaking view of the vineyards, delicious wine and oil and the amazing Museum of Wine, which hosts a large collection of pottery from the Middle Ages to the 20th century: jugs, istoriato plates, goblets, apothecary tools and jars … just any kind of Italian pottery that was associated with wine.