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.