Tractatus de vinea, vindemia, et vino.Venice, apud Iuntas, 1629
Folio. pp. (xxiv) 98. Roman letter, little Italic, double column. T-p in red and black, large woodcut Giunta device, decorated initials and ornaments. Ink hole to crossed-out t-p inscription, some edges uncut, a handful of ll. lightly yellowed, occasional, light mainly marginal foxing, the odd light marginal water stain, tiny worm holes at gutter of last leaf. A very good copy in contemporary vellum, triple blind ruled, lozenge-shaped centrepiece in blind to boards, title inked to spine, couple of bites from upper edge of upper cover, sympathetic repair at head of spine.
First and only early edition of this fascinating work on wines and wine-making. Prospero Rendella (1553-1630) was a jurist and the author of works on property law, oil, doves and forests. Like these last, ‘Tractatus de vinea’—on vines, wine-making and wines—shows Rendella’s interest in agricultural customs and practice, and the varieties and trade of local products, with special attention to southern Italy, where he resided. After a brief introduction
of the allegorical meanings (‘hieroglyphicum’) of the vine, the first part proceeds to examine practicalities related to vineyards, e.g., the work of viticulture, legal rights of the vine-cultivator against grazing animals or human damage to his plants, and practices (including magic) to quieten divine phenomena like thunderstorms, a short section on plant diseases, the care of vines and their various species. The second part, on wine-making, discusses the practice, equipment and timing of the harvest (including traditional songs and the priest’s blessing), ways to foresee a good harvest, how to store wine (in buildings that should be blessed), and a list of 82 questions on sundry subjects, including the purchase of vineyards and feudal law. The third part discusses wine-making in the area of Naples and Puglia, identifying dozens of local wines (e.g., sorbinum, lacrima, pomeianum, lanciaguerra), and with a section on the naming of wines, the wine trade, and the secular and religious uses of wine. A remarkably interesting, clear and concise encyclopaedia of C17 wine-making.