What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Prisoners Making Wine

February 24, 2014, 11:45 AM

Hardened criminals so dangerous that they are kept in a prison on a small Italian island on the Ligurian Sea are amazing wine connoisseurs. Around 50 inmates are growing grapes on the island, and producing a crisp white wine with a growing reputation.

According to Foodbeast, their bottles will soon be sold in the US:

Vermentino and Ansonica grapes planted on an island off the Tuscan coast were chosen to create the blend, while a total of 2,700 bottles were produced. 1,000 bottles have made their way to the US market where they’ll retail for $95 each.

The prison’s first vintage was crafted through the Frescobaldi per Gorgona project, which teaches inmates valuable wine-making skills under the supervision of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi winery’s agronomists and winemakers.

Prison rehabilitation programs are not new, and like this one they are aimed at job training. The big idea presented here is that we consumers can benefit from the hard--free--labor of prisoners in a way that is enjoyable for them. Making wine on an island off the Tuscan coast is preferable to, say, making license plates in a loud, stifling factory. This doesn't mean that all prisons should be immediately moved to vacation locales.

Instead, let's focus on developing consumer-driven gardening programs and the like. Prisons in northern California, near Napa, should copy this program. It's well known that prisons in America are increasingly becoming mental health institutions, and gardening has proven therapeutic effects.

Let's hope this big idea spreads, and more inmates around the world can partake in productive activities that not only help them learn important job skills but benefit their mental health.


Prisoners Making Wine

Newsletter: Share: