Mapping in detail the vineyards of Italy’s important wine zones is a formidable task. The challenge has been met in a monumental way by Alessandro Masnaghetti of Enogea with a series of maps of major zones in Italy and France.
Mapman, as he’s come to be known, created his first masterpiece with the volume Barolo MGA, L’Enciclopedia delle Grandi Vigne del Barolo. The book, in Italian and English (as The Barolo Great Vineyards Encyclopedia), filled more than 400 pages with elaborate maps, including three-dimensional renditions, accompanied by intricate details. In the Barolo DOCG zone, as well as Barbaresco, a system was introduced for recognition of individual vineyard areas as Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva or MGA.
Masnaghetti has since completed a second volume of Barolo MGA as well as a second volume of Barbaresco MGA. Beyond that, in 2020 he created a website known as BAROLOMGA360° that provides multiple images of the vineyards of each of Barolo’s communes, 170 MGAs in all. But since I did the English translation of the texts, I’ll leave it to Tom Maresca, my fellow writer and long-time observer of the Italian scene, to describe it, as he did in his blog called Tom’s Wine Line:
The most important features of the site are the multiple images of each commune, with its MGAs and other vineyard sites identified, so that you are able not just to read about but actually see the lay of the land – each different crease and fold of the hills that affects altitude and exposure, the proximity of each vineyard to others of equal or greater repute, or higher or lower altitude, or more easterly or westerly facing – all the kinds of information that real Barolo nuts (of which club I am a proud member) prize. Moreover, the images can be rotated and zoomed in or out, most with accompanying thumbnails focusing on views from different directions.
BAROLOMGA360° seems certain to
revolutionize the charting of the world’s wine zones, going well beyond simply
mapping vineyards to provide the opportunity of observing them firsthand
without actually being there.
It’s a remarkable achievement that’s due entirely to Alessandro’s research, perseverance and genius. There seem to be more such projects underway, but Mapman wisely keeps his work secret. Perhaps to increase the impact when new things do appear.