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Pope Francis Grants Audience to Beleaguered Italian Winemakers

A delegation of 150 winemakers are heading to the Vatican in January.

Photo credit should read GREGORIO BORGIA/AFP/Getty Images

After Italian winemakers suffered their "worst harvest in 50 years" during 2014, a delegation of 150 wine-industry professionals will pay a visit to the one man who may be able to control an Act of God. Wine-searcher reports Pope Francis, a noted wine lover, will grant an audience to the Italian wine delegation in January. According to PUNCH, the meeting, organized by the president of the Italian Foundation of Sommeliers, will hopefully "reemphasize the importance of wine in Italian culture and the Catholic religion."

Of course, wine plays a key role in the Catholic mass, and Pope Francis has often evoked wine metaphors in describing aspects of the faith: Earlier this month, he referred to those who imitate Christ as members of "the Lord's vineyard," where "new grapes have matured and new wine has been pressed." And if a divine intervention isn't possible, perhaps the meeting could help ensure a purchase-order boost from Francis: According to research by the Wine Institute, Vatican City — Pope Francis's home base — consumes more wine per capita than any other country in the world. (It helps, of course, that the country only has 840 permanent residents.)

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