Medieval Vineyard

The wine trade has been a significant part of the human experience for thousands of years.  In many ways it has progressed (particularly in regards to sanitary practices and quality assurance), but in other ways it remains familiar to its original roots.

Take the cost of setting up a profitable vineyard, for instance.

A spreadsheet provided by Iowa State University Extension provides the estimated cost of establishing a one acre vineyard would be $4846.40 at the end of year one.  If we use the average size of a vineyard in Missouri as reference (at 4 acres), that cost would be around $19,385.60.  Compare that to figures pulled from the records of the abbey of Saint-Romain in the Saone valley totaling the cost of maintaining a vineyard for a year in the late 15th century and we see a familiar picture.

  • manuring (cost of dung & baskets for transport): 17 florins
  • digging: 19 florins
  • staking (cost of stakes included, ties, transport, pruning, food for workers and pay): 52 florins
  • Harvest (62 pickers, 48 porters, 11 men on winepress): 17 florins

Average total cost = 105 florins

In today’s dollars that would be around $21,000.