“Our visits to Raffaldini Vineyard have been pure pleasure. The beautiful countryside is reminiscent of the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the warm hospitality and welcoming ambience that greet us each time make us feel so much at home. Did we mention the wines? We have enjoyed every one we’ve tried — the crisp whites, the luscious reds, and the refreshing roses. They are the closest to European style and quality of all the “home-grown” wines we’ve sampled. We intend to make more frequent trips to Raffaldini Vineyard so we don’t miss any of their new releases. And so we can enjoy the atmosphere and the company!”
-Itan & Linda Vespa Italian Club of Charlotte Charlotte, NC
The great poet Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil) was born to a middle-class family in October of 70 BC in the town of Mantua during the reign of Julius Caesar. Mantua was a Roman city in the province of Cisapline Gaul (now Lombardy). The province extended to the Alps and covered the most fertile part of the Po River Valley. Mantua traces its founding to the Etruscan civilization that had ruled most of Italy but quietly disappeared, leaving little known of it. In the time of Virgil, Mantua was a quiet agrarian community dominated by farming and shepherding. The beauty of the area so transfixed Virgil that Dante quotes his character in the Divine Comedy as calling his place of birth dove ‘l Po discende per aver pace co’ seguaci sui: “where the Po runs down among its followers to find peace.” Not far to the north of Mantua lies the town of Verona, home of Romeo and Juliet.
According to legend, while Virgil was in his mother’s womb, she dreamt that she gave birth to a laurel branch. Upon touching the earth the laurel branch took root and at once grew to the size of an adult tree, covered with fruits and flowers of various kinds. The following day, while traveling to a neighboring part of the country with her husband, Virgil’s mother turned aside and gave birth to her child in a ditch beside the road. Legend has it the infant did not cry at its birth and had such a gentle expression as even then to give assurance of an unusually happy and fertile destiny. But there was yet a further symbol of Virgil’s exceptionally rich contribution to the future land and its people: it was the tradition of that region to plant a poplar branch in the location where a birth had occurred. The branch planted where Virgil was born grew so fast that it was equal in size to others planted long before. The poplar branch became known as “Virgil’s Tree”, and was worshiped with great veneration by women about to give birth.
Virgil is primarily known as the author of the Aeneid, the epic poem that links the birth of Rome to the Trojan War. The Aeneid is considered the pinnacle of classical Latin literature. His heroic and tragic characters such as Aeneas and Dido, the Queen of Carthage are memorable; the poetics of the Aeneid are exceptional, and the text has been used for centuries to teach Latin language. Two other minor works, the Eclogues and the Georgics, have survived as well. The act of patriotic myth building and heroism that was so prevalent in the Aeneid gained him the attention and praise of Caesar Augustus. The now widely known Latin phrase, Audentes Fortuna Iuvat : Fortune Favors the Daring – originates from a passage of the Aeneid just prior to a major battle being waged.
“As unbelievable as it sounds, the folks at Raffaldini have managed to transport a bit of Tuscany into the heart of Yadkin Valley! Tasting rich earthy wines in such a beautiful atmosphere is beyond description. A visit to Raffaldini will delight all of the senses! I recommend the experience to all my friends.”
– Lois Draughn Homescapes Interior Design, Elkin, NC
Though a man possessing great wealth and public recognition from his poems, Virgil was known as virtuous and modest. He was described as being embarrassed by his celebrity status and consequently rarely visited Rome. Virgil longed for the simplicity of the agrarian way of life and often praised the virtues of hard work and dedication to excellence in many of his poems. On his death in 17 BC, Virgil’s will requested that all his poems be destroyed, as they were not of the quality to which he aspired. Upon hearing of this, the Emperor Augustus intervened and decreed that the works should be preserved for all eternity.
The Raffaldini heritage is centered in Mantua, where they were extensive landholders together with the Gonzaga and Bonacolsi families. The Raffaldini Family has for centuries owned and lived on the farm where Virgil lived during his youth. The influence of this great poet and philosopher upon the Raffaldini Family has been profound over the multitude of generations.
The founding principles of Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery are deeply rooted in much of Virgil’s philosophy: the belief that by working with the land and understanding its life essence, rather than trying to change it, enables the vineyard to produce grapes of exceptional quality. This harmonious relationship is the cornerstone for the making of great wines. The Raffaldini Family has always believed that the miracle of winemaking does not happen in the winery, but rather in the vineyards. A deep respect for the land, a long sense of history, and centuries of aspiring for high achievement all combine to produce a single expression of wine that captures the heritage of the Raffaldini Family – ‘Audentes Fortuna Iuvat‘: Fortune Favors the Daring.
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