Archaeologists unearthed the impressive ancient winery in 2017 and 2018, but have only now released the results of their research. The production site is just 7.5 km south of Rome.
As the researchers explain, this place could have been the official opening of the wine harvest. At that time, the Roman elite (including the emperor) got their hands and feet dirty, playing farmer and winemaker for one day; in this way, they identified partly with the lower social strata. Such an event describes Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
The wine production site covered an area of 1,000 square meters, where the floor was made of high-grade imported marble; under it, in turn, there were decorated vats. Production began on the red marble floor, where workers kneaded the grapes on the slippery floor. The remaining pulp was pressed using a pair of wine presses, after which the juice flowed through channels to massive fermentation vats installed under the marble floor. There, when the liquid fermented after a sufficiently long time of rest, the wine was poured into amphoras and then transported to Rome and other cities.
The wine was a big deal and event in ancient Rome. The annual grape harvest was opened by the emperor himself, cutting a symbolic bunch of grapes and sacrificing a lamb to Jupiter.