History of the Waldensians

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The Waldensian heritage links back to a small region in the Cottian Alps of Northern Italy. Persecuted for their Protestant religious beliefs dating back to the 12th Century, these resilient people took refuge in their community. The location and geography of the Alps helped to protect them from the French and Italian Armies, as well as zealots within the Catholic church. They relied heavily on their own agricultural resources to survive and were able to overcome centuries of desperate times and the continual threat of outside forces.

Religious freedom was finally granted to them by the Edict of Emancipation of 1848. With peace finally at hand, their numbers swelled. Young and old alike looked to distant shores to continue their lives and practice their faith. European cities, South America and the United States were all places that the newly freed Waldensians colonized. One of these groups discovered land near Catawba County in North Carolina and created a settlement in May of 1893 called Valdese.

Accustomed to working the land, farming and agriculture were the first efforts these settlers attempted. Alas, the soil was not fertile enough to fully sustain the populous. With the same spirit of survival and determination that was instilled by their elders, the settlers turned to manufacturing. Prosperity flooded the small town and the tradition of wine making was not lost. Eventually, the Waldensians evolved to creating wines from berries, peaches, apples and other locally sourced fruits to keep the tradition alive. The Waldensian Style Winery is proud to uphold this tradition.

Read the history behind Waldensian Style Wines!

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