Current Research

Dissertation

Bringing Bacchus to the People: Winemaking and “Making Italians” in Fascist Italy, 1919-1939

My dissertation explores the way in which vino came to be viewed as an ‘Italian’ beverage among the peninsula’s middle- and upper-classes both during and after the interwar years. More broadly, it seeks to illuminate the various ways in which influential agro-industrial organizations co-opted, and in some cases actively shaped, the regime’s ‘reclamation’ and mass mobilization campaigns by promoting the consumption of their industry’s foodstuffs and beverages as a ‘national duty.’ Informally led by the indomitable Arturo Marescalchi, the country’s Industrial Wine Lobby frequently beseeched Italy’s bourgeois consumers to replace their families’ consumption of foreign, or ‘exotic,’ beverages, such as tea, coffee, beer, and cocktails, with the peninsula’s ‘healthy’ and ‘fashionable’ vini tipici (typical wines). By analyzing the varying ways in which the country’s luxury winegrowers, merchants, and industrialists, in partnership with Mussolini’s Fascist dictatorship, sought to rebrand Italy’s typical wines as the country’s ‘millennial’ national beverages, therefore, this study intends to illuminate, as well as expand our understanding of, the complex dynamics of political agency and culture-shaping power in interwar Italy.