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A Wine Lesson from History

Or not

The Prop has been doing some research in his spare time while filming in Africa.* And a curiosity that may be of interest to perhaps two other people on the planet in total has turned up.

Maybe you are one of them.

Many of the Prop's relatives and forebears have had interests of one kind or another in wine. Not always wisely.

However one particular cousin, Benjamin Ingham from Yorkshire, landed in Sicily in 1806 aged 22 and launched a spectacular career in wine. Ingham quickly recognized that fortified Marsala wine could provide an excellent alternative to Madeira wine, then all the go, and established his own winery in 1812, and was soon producing excellent wine that he exported to America and Europe on his own ships. Clearly no slouch in the business department, by the 1830s he was the richest man in Sicily, and was by then the Baron of Scala & Manchi.

His interests went beyond wine to olive oil and citrus fruit, as well as railroads and real estate in America, and by the time of his death in 1861, he was estimated to be worth the equivalent of 26 billion pounds, making him perhaps "the greatest magnate England had ever known."

Ingham Marsala was widely admired and very successful for over 120 years, until Mussolini nationalised all of the three biggest brands of Marsala in 1927. Mussolini was later hung by his own people for this and other crimes.

Clearly Ingham Marsala was fun while it lasted.

 

 

 

 

* The Prop doing actual research as such, is something of an exaggeration (wouldn't be the first time). In fact, a cousin kindly just dropped him a line. So there you go. Can't say we are not open and transparent here.

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