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Boca of artist


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The history

One of the little gems from the oenologic sector of the Piedmont region is the Boca wine.
It's origins travel across many centuries spreading outside it's natural production area situated in the County of Novara. That includes all the communal territory of the town of Boca and parts of Maggiora, Cavallirio, Prato Sesia and Grignasco all situated in the County of Novara.
The Boca wine d.o.c. is of red colour, it's well suited for ageing and it's obtained from grape type Nebbiolo (Spanna), Vespolina and Bonarda Novarese.

The vine is an ancient cultivation, and the early peasants were more interested in quantity than quality. It was only later, during the Roman colonisation, that the vines were pruned and nurtured to produce a very good wine. In fact, the wine was so good, it was used as currency, and became a very important income to the population.

The vine continued to be cultivated using the "to altena" system, whereby the vine was supported from trees. The vines grew to great heights, and harvesting had to be undertaken with ladders. After about the year 1000, the Benedictine monks of Saint Nazzaro on Sesia introduced a new method of cultivation; attaching the vine to a pole that was anchored into the ground, and supporting the branches with sticks called "topia". These improvements, together with methodical pruning, improved the quality and quantity of the wine. Evidence of the wines of Bocas' quality are found from about 1300, when the nouarese writer, Peter Azario described this wine as "without equal".

In the beginning of the 17th century a further improvement called "roncature" was introduced; this involved forming the vineyards into regular grids across the slope of the hillside. But the vertical poles were not always strong enough, and sometimes they collapsed under the weight of the grape clusters. It was the architect Alexander Antonelli from Maggiora, engineer of the "Antonelliana's Tower" of Turin, and the Sanctuary of Boca, who found the first practical solution. He arranged the poles at an oblique angle, so that the weight of the fruit was counterbalanced, and the vines were then stable. Such a system is still used in old vineyards and called "small square maggiorino".