The Erchie winery

Erchie is an Italian little town of about 9000 inhabitants rises in Puglia, in the Brindisi area, at 68 meters above the sea level. This small agricultural core is bor-dering the cities of Brindisi, Taranto and Lecce and it is located in the cultural heart of central-northern Salento. According to history, the city's origins date back to around the 6th and 5th centu-ries BC when the Messapians gave the name of Herculea to the site where Erchie now stands. Over time the civilisation of Messapians, first rough and uncivilized, began to be a more advanced and started the construction of fortified walls and of the so called "specchie", which were located - with a certain order - throughout the Salento. Some believe that “specchie” were funerary monuments, others sigh-ting towers in flat areas. Due to the rise of Rome and the proximity of Mandurium and Tarentum, until the 1st century AD the small Heraclea was put on the sideli-nes. With the rising of rural villages the name Heraclea became Hercle, but only around the end of the seventeenth-century the name of the farmhouse finally be-came Erchie. In 1754 the population was just under one thousand people and the 90% of the inhabitants were devoted to the practices of agriculture and pastoralism. In 1800 the Municipality distinguished the inhabitants in three categories: the nobles, the "civil" people (doctors, surgeons, judges), the "artisans and the farm boys". Politi-cal trends were expressed by the two factions of the "Ruspi" and the "Scursuni". In 1862 the territory of Erchie is crossed by bands of bandits. In that same year, on December 16th, the bandits were defeated by an infantry regiment and by the Na-tional Guard of Erchie. In 1918 the country is hit by "the Spanish" fever. The terrible epidemic caused a mortality of 5% of the population. In 1920 the center of the country is submerged by water for a height of about 2.50 meters. Fortunately there was only one death, but all the reserves of oil, wine, wheat and legumes were lost. The contribution of Erchie during the First and Second World War was significant. In May 1959 the Rural and Artisan Fund opened. The strategic position, the climate, the proximity to the Ionian Sea and the quality of the land have made Erchie a privileged place for the production of various qua-lities of wines, including Primitivo di Manduria, Negroamaro and Malvasia.The soil here is a dominant factor and unmistakable sign of quality and typicality of the products: the soils are of medium mixture, clayey and rich in limestone. Felice Mergè chose Erchie to found his family company Masca del Tacco guided by a deep passion for the land of Puglia and for the vine that has always represented its symbol and nature: Primitivo. The company currently has 200 hectares of vineyards, raised as a sapling and spurred cordon.