Il Tintore di Tramonti: over a hundred years old vine

by Gerardo Russo

TO Sunsets, a scattered town on the Amalfi Coast, has resisted for centuries Dyer, a particular vine that makes the past its strength. A unique and precarious geographical condition and centuries-old isolation have allowed Tramonti, a mountainous area a few kilometers from the coastal beaches, to preserve a dynamic testimony of an imposing past. Tasting the products of the Tintore you let yourself be lulled like dwarfs by the giants of history who built our civilization.

Il Tintore di Tramonti: vitigno ultracentenario
The Tintore di Tramonti. Ph. Gerardo Russo.

The Pompeii of wine

Tramonti could be called authentic Pompeii of wine. This is because this is where vines are grown on a straight foot e prefillossere, among the oldest in the world. With this definition we mean the vines that have survived the attack of phylloxera, an insect from North America which, spread accidentally in Europe, put its viticulture at risk. The survival of the crops was obtained, for the most part, by grafting the European vine with the American one. On the other hand, the ungrafted species are rare, non-hybrid and not grafted on American plant roots. In fact, these are centenary specimens that have survived the phylloxera and can count on a very particular soil. Among these is precisely the Dyer, grown only in the Tramonti area.

The plants are in fact centuries-old, testimony to the history of these lands like an archaeological asset. Beauty is not only breathed in by tasting the wines made by Tintore, but also by admiring the barrels, with diameters of about two meters. All these make the visit of a Tramonti vineyard a real multisensory museum experience, between taste, sight and smell.

The conservation of the Tintore is also due to the specific characteristics of the soil of the Lattari Mountains. Here over time the ash and volcanic materials brought from Vesuvius they have in fact covered the rocks of the territory. Another similarity between Tramonti and Pompeii, where the activity of Vesuvius has in a certain sense preserved, if not crystallized, the past.

Isolate yourself from the world

The Tramonti area, where the Tintore proudly displays his past, has also been protected from the historical evolution of the area itself. It should be noted that the Amalfi Coast has long been a sort of Campania island, since for many centuries it has been reached mostly by sea. The rolling roads are in fact young in the coastal landscape and have slowly allowed the Amalfi Coast to be connected to Naples, Salerno and the hinterland. Important was the construction in the nineteenth century Chiunzi pass, right on the border between Tramonti and Agro Nocerino Sarnese, a populous area in the Campania hinterland.

The isolation of the area, which made it even more protected from external agents, was therefore also due to the centuries-old infrastructural lack of the area.

Il Tintore di Tramonti: vitigno ultracentenario
The crops of Tramonti. Ph. Gerardo Russo.

Wind of sea and land

The climatic conditions are also decisive due to the particular geographical position of Tramonti, a mountain municipality but close to the Amalfi sea, also nicknamed green lung of the Amalfi Coast. We are in fact in an area where, even if the sun is not lacking, the thermal excursions are frequent. The rock was then leveled through heroic terracing, which have contributed to forming the collective imagination of the Coast. Here the wind of north wind and the influence of the sea. An extraordinary microclimate that contributes to the quality of the wine produced through the Tintore.

The history in the roots

In addition to Tintore, Tramonti can count on other indigenous varieties such as Biancatenera, Ginestra, Pepella and Piedorosso.

An extraordinary territory, which thanks to the protection given by the Vesuvian ashes, the historical-cultural isolation and the particular encounter between sea and mountains, has been able to preserve the past and to tell it today through natural monuments in the open air, like the Tintore, which is impressive in the crops of Tramonti. The sea and the mountain seem to collide, but their struggle is gently leveled through a terrace that allows extraordinary fruits, full of history and quality.


Ian D'Agata; Native Wine Grapes of Italy; 2014

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