The interactive museum of wine and vineyards was inaugurated in 1999 and aims to promote the quality of the wine of the area of Carmignano while narrating the story of how the commune came to bring production to the level of today.
The history of the wine of Carmignano – formerly the Etruscans and then the Romans knew and appreciated the wine of this area, as demonstrated by the findings that have emerged in the necropoleis on the Montalbano. During the Middle Ages and with the introduction of sharecropping, the landscape and ways of producing wine changed.
In 1716 Cosimo III de' Medici published ahead of his time the notice that was the forerunner of the DOC label or 'appellation d'origine contrôlée' that is the standard mark for guaranteeing the quality of wine today. Even the poet d'Annunzio mentioned the quality of this wine along with the Niccolini cellars in his writings, in demonstration of the importance it has acquired over the centuries.
The first room of the museum is collocated in an area that once was part of the Niccolini cellars, thus the visitor is immersed from the start in the local wine production. The history of the wine of Carmignano is related by means of the audiovisual aids, as well as the techniques of production and cultivation of the vines. In another room the visitor learns the history of Carmignano and its people while admiring the exhibits on display – recipients for holding wine used over the centuries such as the Etruscan 'crater' or bowl, the mediaeval 'orciuolo' or terracotta vase, the modern-day flask.
Further on, relics of rural history in the form of old maps of farms and holdings of the area recount how the territory evolved, in particular from the end of 1700 up to modern times, while testimonies from old locals reveal skills to be passed on which would otherwise remain forgotten. Another room exhibits reproductions of photographs depicting the cycles of the production of wine, taken by the ethnologist Paul Scheuermeier who collected pictures and stories of rural culture, customs and utensils between 1919 and 1930. On the walls there are also displayed some of the pieces of equipment like those in the photographs. On the opposite wall a series of photos taken between 1980-1990 describe the end of the métayer or sharecropping system.
Alongside the wine itself (the entire private collection of Federigo Melis boasts over 800 bottles), also other important and famous local products of Carmignano are exhibited such as figs and olives. In the last room of the exhibition the projection of some slides documents the rural farming community together with information on the specific techniques of wine-production.