March 2, 480: On this day in 480 Benedict of Nursia was born in Central Italy. He would go on to found over a dozen monasteries in Italy during the sixth century, the most famous being the monastery of Monte Cassino. His ‘Rule’ laid out extensive instructions for how monastic life should be conducted and how monasteries should be ruled, which became highly influential across medieval Europe. Hundreds of Benedictine monasteries were established in Western and Central Europe and dominated much of Europe’s religious life down to the twelfth century. These Benedictine monasteries and nunneries, of which there were thousands eventually, developed a pivotal role in cultivating vineyards and the production of wine in medieval Europe. Benedictine and Cistercian monks significantly shaped the wine landscape of much of the continent, particularly in France, in ways that still resonate today. Thus, the order which St Benedict founded in the sixth century played a vital role in the history of viticulture during the long Middle Ages. For more, see C. H. Lawrence’s ‘St Benedict and his Rule’, in History, Vol. 67, No. 220 (1982), pp. 185–194. See also Carolinne White (ed.), The Rule of St Benedict (London, 2008); Terence G. Kardong, The Life of St Benedict by Gregory the Great: Translation and Commentary (Collegeville, Minnesota, 2009); and James G. Clark, The Benedictines in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge, 2011).

March 2, 1978: On this day, Ntsiki Biyela was born. She is the owner and winemaker of Aslina Wines in South Africa. She was previously the lead winemaker of Stellekaya Wines, where she made history as South Africa’s first black female winemaker.

March 2, 2014: On this day, Berlin International Spirits Competition was founded, as one of a series of global competitive festivals centered around alcohol.

March 2, 2015: Gordon M. Shepherd published an in-depth explanation of the way the brain creates flavor by factoring in environment and preconceptions, specifically in the case of wine enjoyment. The paper is available to read from BioMed Central’s Flavor Journal.

March 2, 2018: On this day, Southwest Florida Food & Wine Fest was held. At the Fest, 5-year-old leukemia patient Matthew Singleton and his 6-year-old brother Steven walked the stage during the auction to display their artwork, which helped Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida raise $170,000.

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