Once they had imported the vine from the Greeks, wine became a daily part of the diet for the Etruscans, who found the soil perfect for the cultivation of vines. The role of wine has therefore always been of great importance for Orvieto and the subsequent commerce led the way to extending the fame and influence of the city in Italy and abroad, first with the Etruscans and later the Romans. In the centuries that followed, the fame of Orvieto wine showed no sign of diminishing, the territory continued to create excellent products and local cultivators improved their techniques and systems, prospering in the wake of their ancestors. Orvieto thus came out of the Middle Ages, a period when the "consols" swore to safeguard among other things the grape varieties, passing a decree for their definitive legitimation as prime raw material for export from this region. Thus, well before modern times there existed in Orvieto norms that established penalties for anyone who spoiled the vineyards of others and guardians were nominated, a sort of forestry commission specialised in wine-growing, that were to check the fields, the progress of work through the year and the production of grapes. A safeguard that was necessary, to judge from cadastral papers of the period, in all corners of the territory, rock and precipices included, seeing that vines had been planted everywhere.
It was normal in the age of free towns that the local administration focused the development of the town on grapes and wine, setting off a growth process in this sector, on an organisational level as well. To safeguard both the producer and the consumers, new checks were introduced to expose possible fraud at the production and sales stages.
The success of Orvieto wine continued thanks to the approval of the Papal Court and artists like Pinturicchio who asked for vast quantities as part of the payment for his works. Even the Duomo, the cathedral of the town, known all over the world, owes part of its splendour to wine. A great deal of evidence still exists as to how it was used in place of money for the master stone-masons who worked the travertine and for the artists who did the frescoes (Luca Signorelli asked for an annuity of 1000 litres!) Tradition has it too that it was with the wine of Orvieto that Garibaldi and his men drank their toast at Talamone before taking to sea again, while D'Annunzio defined it "the sun of Italy in a bottle".
A treasure of such dimensions could not remain homeless and in fact in 1958 the Consorzio del Vino Tipico di Orvieto, the 'Typical Wine of Orvieto Consortium' was created, an association set up to safeguard the quality and image of the local product. It became the Consorzio Tutela Vino Orvieto in 1971, the year of recognition of the Denominazione di Origine Controllata ORVIETO. On this occasion too, as throughout the whole history of viticulture in the area, the Le Velette estate played an important part in that Dr. Marcello Bottai, father of the present owners, was among the actors and promoters of the consortium.
Today there are three D.O.C. in the territory:
Rosso Orvietano D.O.C.
The description "Classico" is strictly reserved for Orvieto D.O.C. and wines that have been produced in the oldest area of production of Orvieto wines.