The History of Pecorino

The origin and history of Pecorino once became lost in the mists of time. The area of Piceno, known to the ancient Romans for wine production, was once dominated by vines, fruit trees and small vineyards scattered in the peasant worker’s gardens. Designated vineyards were found only in the mountains or in areas unsuitable for food production.

One of these wine-growing areas, where the ancient native vines were rediscovered and are used for Pecorino today, is the Arquata del Tronto.

It is a very small mountain village located on the slopes of Monte Carrier in the Sibillini Mountains National Park.

The Pecorino vine thrived and has retained its unique and original characteristics in the territory that has hosted it for centuries.

The Piceno hills provide the land that is suitable for this early harvesting vine which, from sugary musts and sustained acidic levels, gives rise to very fragrant, long-lived products with high acidity.

The microclimate with the right exposure to the sun and the breezes at night from the Sibillini Mountains allows for the perfect balance within the Pecorino grape.

The Rebirth of Pecorino

At the end of the 1970s the Pecorino grape had almost disappeared and with it the precious nectar of its juice. With fortune, Guido Cocci Grifoni entered the scene and linked by a friendship with the highly experienced sommelier, Teodoro Bugari, he decided to search for this native vine in the wild lands of the Sibillini National Park.

In an interview at the time with Guido Cocci Grifoni he speaks of when he traced an old vine raised in Pecorino in Arquata del Tronto:

“…one morning in September, before the harvest, I and others went to Arquata del Tronto, in the hamlet of Pescara, where they had pointed out to me an ancient vineyard cultivated with Pecorino. Arrived on the site I was indicated by the owner of the land Mr. Cafini some shoots that were evidently two, or three, generations old. In the following February I went back to pick up the shoots and took them to my company in Ripatransone, where I made the first grafts: my idea was to cultivate it in purity. I know, it was a crazy idea, everyone said it, my friends always repeated it to me in the winter evenings in front of the fire, but I wanted that wine, I knew it was possible, and I never doubted”.

In February 1983, the first rows of vines were grafted in different geographical exposures within the grounds of the Cocci Grifoni Estate.
And just two years later the first demijohns of wine were produced.

Today the historic 1983 vineyard of Pecorino is the heart of the estate. Tenuta Cocci Grifoni has always cultivated the Pecorino grapes and the unmistakable “Colle Vecchio” DOCG was born here. This historical estate is inhabited by the rarest fauna of the badlands ecosystem, such as nocturnal birds of prey that nest in the crevices of the high limestone cliffs, and is often crossed by peregrine falcons and brown kites.

Would you like to know more?

For more info read the Italian Book : VINO PECORINO – Scoprire, degustare e abbinare un grande vino italiano.

Pioneer and Founder of the Cocci Grifoni Estate

Guido Cocci Grifoni

The history of Pecorino is intertwined with the history of Guido Cocci Grifoni, the 1970 founder of Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, today a large and historic family-run company with an annual production of over 400 thousand bottles, mostly destined for export.

The rebirth and affirmation of Pecorino wine would not have been possible without the foresight and tenacity of Guido Cocci Grifoni. With the help of his family who strongly believed in the potential of this vine he chose to take economic risks. Many vineyards were cultivating internationally desired high-yield wine but Guido chose to concentrate on this native variety.

His success was marked by the 2001 recognition of the DOC. The production of the iconic Pecorino “Colle Vecchio”, produced with grapes grown exclusively on the Estate, is in the territory that connects the Adriatic Sea to the National Park Sibillini Mountains and is the symbol of our founders’ vision and legacy.

Tenuta Cocci Grifoni’s property contains large wooded habitat conservation areas and breathtaking scenery showcasing the deep ditches of the limestone canyons that wind and outline the natural boundary of the estates. The vineyards, guarded by the family over four generations, are entirely intended for the protection of ampelographic biodiversity through the exclusive cultivation of native Italian vines and the recovery of the company’s germplasm on the cultivars of the 43rd parallel north. The property extends for 100 hectares of land, in the south of the Marche region, within an area bordered by gully ridges that enclose a natural, unique and precious ecosystem, protected as an “area of ​​significant landscape value”.

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