Vintage Tuscans blend skill

December 7, 2001

Wine and wine-making are an inalienable part of Tuscan culture and the three largest universities in the region - Florence, Siena and Pisa - have joined forces to set up a "wine university".

The university will offer degree courses, masters, diplomas and single courses on the production and management of wine.

Florence's rector, Augusto Marinelli, said: "It is an ambitious project, but the production of quality wine is at the basis of the economy and image of the Tuscany region."

The institute will be at the Montepaldi farm in the heart of Chianti. The farm belongs to Florence University. It operates as a commercial farm, producing grapes, wine and livestock. It is already used by the university's agriculture department. It will become a hub for the three universities, bringing together all disciplines related to wine-making.

Professor Marinelli, an agricultural economist, said: "In the new institute, we will concentrate the best human resources from all three universities, from the fields of geology, biology, microbiology, genetics, plant pathology, ecology, chemistry, oenology, agronomy, entomology, right through to the history of wine-making, business administration and marketing."

Professor Marinelli said that Florence University was part of an international network of universities involved in the study of wine-making. "We collaborate with universities in the world's wine-producing centres - Bordeaux, Porto, San Francisco, Santiago in Chile and Melbourne," he said. "There will be further productive exchanges in the new centre."

The project was at a conceptual stage, "but there is a solid agreement between the three Tuscan rectors", Professor Marinelli said. "If we work well, the new institute could take off in about a year."

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