The first thing we need to do in order to dive into an understanding of what Lambrusco is is to understand where Lambrusco is.
According to the recently revised and updated Oxford Companion to Wine:
“The many different vines called Lambrusco are grown principally in the three central provinces of Emilia—Modena, Parma, and Reggio nell’Emilia [aka Reggio Emilia or simply Reggio]—although significant plantings can be found across the River Po in the province of Mantova.
So where are those provinces?
Romagna, a historic region of Italy, lies to the east of Emilia (another historic region). And both are distinct, although often closely related, in terms of language, gastronomy, and culture.
Have a look at this screenshot from Google maps (here’s the link).
As the entry for Lambrusco in the Oxford Companion to Wine notes, Lambrusco is actually grown in small quantities across Italy and mostly in the north and northwest.
But Lambrusco’s spiritual and geographic home is Emilia.
And the axis formed by the ancient Roman road, the Via Aemilia, known today in Italian as the Via Emilia, is its backbone, as it were.
The Via Emilia actually runs from Rimini on the Adriatic coast to Piacenza. But the heart of Lambrusco is defined by the stretch that runs from Bologna to Parma, through the provinces of Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma.
The Ceci winery is located in Parma.