Wine Shop Rome: Del Frate, History of an Italian family

Wine Shop Rome. It was the 1922 when Umberto Del Frate pulled up for the first time the shutters of the wine shop in Via degli Scipioni. In Italy the National Fascist Party was preparing the March on Rome; people were investigating on the murmured Flight of the Archangel for the alleged “Tirabouchon shot” and the crisis, started with the Great War, kept being felt through the country.

The 30s.

To be honest, at the time the term wine shop was not used and the store in Via degli Scipioni had the words “Wines and Oils” on top. Wine was drank at lunch and dinner time, because men were used to come back home to eat and it was possibile to buy bulk wine, day to day. Same thing for the oil: it was possibile to buy oil cask (with different sizes) or just one deciliter.

When the War started the shop remained closed, except for specific moments, for some hours, when it was possible to buy with the card.

The 50s.

Among the inebriating smell of open bottles and the accustomed nose to the pungent smell of the oil, Giorgio grew up, Umberto’s son, whom started to be close to his father during the working time. Giorgio was born in Via degli Scipioni, like his Wine Shop. Wines were drank by glass, same thing for Marsala and Vermouth. First bottles appeared with sparkling wine, with returnable void and flasks.

In the mid of 50s, Umberto decided to move to the countryside and take care of the vineyard and left his job to Giorgio, whom in 1954 married Elda. The Wine Shop still had just one marsala wood door and it started to appear brandy, whiskey, syroups and liquors. The demand of the liquors grew exponentially and Giorgio dedicated himself on the research for a vast assortment of the best national and foreign labels, making the family business, a proper Wine Shop.

The relationship between Giorgio and his neighborhood was strong, also because Giorgio was born exactly there. Prati was a very populated neighborhood, inhabited by workers on rent and by big families, with five or six children. A normal family used to drink two liters of wine at dinner time and two liters at lunch time.

The 60s.

At the end of the 60s, with the economic boom and the consequent growth of domestic demand, the first important Christmas arrived and the wine shop went from being a neighborhood place to a reference for the whole city.

The 90s.

In the 60s, Giorgio brought his son Fabio at the street number close to the shop. He had grew up into that 30 square meters of sidewalk, between the clinic where he was born and the Wine Shop and was himself in 1994, that gave to the shop the aspect that still has nowadays.

From 2000 to today.

In 2000 the Wine Bar opened, like the extended appendix of the Wine Shop, an intimate and welcoming place where people could drink by glass all kind of the best labels that were sell and eat everyday in a different way, following the seasons’s rhythm, between precious bottles of inestimable value.

Today at the Del Frate Wine Shop work grandma Elda, Fabio and his wife Dina and Fabio’s son Enrico, the youngest of the family.