The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

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Page 47 of 120

{ }  47 The Virginia Connection In 1773, Mazzei set sail for Virginia to explore his political curiosities and to bring grape vines, olives and other Mediterranean plants to the new land. Shortly thereafter he and Thomas Jefferson became close friends. Jefferson offered him a 193-acre parcel of land at Monticello so that he could cultivate a vine - yard. In fact, it was there that Mazzei planted the very first European vines (Vitis vinifera) on North American soil. By 1778, he had pur - chased 700 more acres, naming his farm Colle (Italian for "hill"). The friendship between Jefferson and Mazzei led to a collaboration of not only agricultural ideas, but political. And soon, as a rebellion to the predominant political theory of the day, the divine right of kings, Mazzei and Jefferson collaborated on the idea that all men are created equal, and such equality is neces - sary to create a free government. It was the commonalities of innovation, vision and an entrepreneurial spirit that fueled "Tutti gli uomini sono per natura egualmente liberi e independenti. Quest'eguaglianza é necessaria per costituire un governo libero. Bisogna che ognuno sia uguale all'altro nel diritto naturale." "All men are by nature equally free and independent. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government. All men must be equal to each other in natural law." Filippo, Francesco and Lapo Mazzei. The 173-acre Belguardo estate in Tuscany's coastal Maremma region. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCHESI MAZZEI

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