I’m finally back in the states and excited to share with you the promised “Chianti Classico Black Rooster Story.” First things first, if you haven’t already, check out my previous blog post where I talk about delicious Italian wines and what those letters at the top of every bottle mean.
Now that you’re all caught up and anxiously awaiting the story of why a rooster is featured on Chianti Classico bottles, I’m going to make you wait just a little longer.
Why? Because we are The Packaging School, and we like to examine everything about packaging, including labels. So, let’s first see what the rooster means. The black rooster informs you that the Chianti bottle in your hand is in fact Chianti Classico, a wine produced from Sangiovese grapes grown within the restricted area inside the larger Chianti region. This helps avoid confusion between Chianti Classico and plain Chianti wine. Essentially, this indicates to the consumer that the wine has been DOCG classified and is of significantly higher quality.
Alright, we understand what it’s there for. But why a black rooster? To answer that, we have to go back about 800 years ago—back to a story of a land feud. The Chianti region of Italy lies between Florence and Siena, and the two cities often fought for possession of the coveted land. At one point, they decided to settle the feud by having one horseman from Siena and one from Florence depart from their respective city at an appointed time and head toward the Chianti region. Wherever the two met, there would the territory line be drawn. Obviously, this was before the age of alarm clocks or smartphones for waking devices, so they used the next best thing—roosters. The people of Siena chose a white rooster, and they fed it well the night before thinking it would wake up early wanting more food (seems illogical to me, given that I sleep like a baby when I have a full stomach). The (much smarter) Florentines chose a black rooster, and starved it the night before, in the hopes that it would wake up early demanding food. Lo and behold, the black rooster did indeed wake up earlier and the Florentine man was able to claim most of the Chianti region for Florence. The rooster was adopted as an official emblem by the League of Chianti in 1384, and officially adopted by the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium in 2005. And to this day, you see a little black rooster on every Chianti Classico bottle as a symbol of the Florentine victory.
There you have it—the story of the black rooster and a bit of a history lesson. You can learn more fun things about packaging on our blog, and if you want to get a head start in your career (like the Florentine men did that morning), sign up for one of our packaging courses today at The Packaging School!