Cooked grape must, or sapum, was a product that was known in these times for its versatility. It was used as a medicine, as a sweetener and seasoning for various dishes, and with the addition of water it transformed into an energising drink.
Beginning in the year 1,000, sapum and the land of Modena encountered one another and their paths became entwined forever. This “exceptionally perfect vinegar”, as it was described by Emperor Henry III, hoping to receive it as a gift from Boniface, then Marquis of Tuscany, provoked great interest until, in the 1800s, its fame spread beyond the borders of Emilia Romagna and its taste began to thrill the palates of the greatest experts, from Florence to Paris and even Brussels.
In Modena, peasant families began to dilute this exceptionally perfect substance with wine vinegar to produce a lighter condiment that could be used every day. This was the first step towards the creation of a product that is sold all over the world: IGP-certified Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.
Official certifications had to wait until 1983, when the designation of origin “Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena” was won.
From this moment on, attestations of authenticity came in succession: the prestigious D.O.P. (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, or Protected Denomination of Origin) certification arrived in 2000 and in 2009 Balsamic Vinegar from Modena obtained I.G.P. (Indicazione Geografica Protetta, or Protected Geographical Indication) certification.
In the meantime the Italian government has also made movements towards the safeguarding and protection of these precious products of our land, recognising two Consortia: the Consortium for the Protection of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar from Modena in 2003, and, in 2014, the Consortium for the Protection of Balsamic Vinegar from Modena.