The vintners knife II

July 11, 2007

You might remember that I introduced a while ago to you the brothers Consigli from Scarperia, Italy ( and their knife-making art.

When I browsed trough the many photos I have on my PC the other day, I found two copies of vintners knives from Roman times unearthed in the Mosel River valley.

In the “Bacchus and Sucellus” book of Karl-Josef Gilles (Rhein-Mosel Verlag, Briedel, 1999, pages 61 and 62), two forms of vintners knives of the Roman times are shown.

The first type is for pruning, it is massive with a broad blade and a small pruning chisel on the backside. The second type was for harvesting grapes and looks like a sickle. It is slighter and finer. Also a knife which was slid over a finger was found and used for the same purpose.


The Roman knives for pruning (Brauneberg, Leiwen)


The Roman knives for harvesting (Piesport, Wittlich, Trier)

Most likely from tomorrow onwards I will be pruning vines in my own vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria. I will be back in August. Have a good time and drink some bottles of fine wine, somewhere with someone you like (should not be that difficult).

Postscript: I was made aware by Bob Burgess that the back of the pruning knife consists of a small pruning chisel and not a hammer knob as I have mistakenly believed. Thanks Bob for the correction of this error. Please visit also Bob’s very interesting webpage ( on early edge tools.