The wine culture

of Italy

Italian Wine Culture
Italy is the land of the fine arts and architecture, unshakeable sailors, pioneering explorers and scientists, powerful rulers, influential bankers and traders - not to forget the exquisite cocina italiana with its countless regional delicacies. But now comes a but: Italy cannot claim the invention of wine for itself, even if the country likes to celebrate itself as the "home of wine"!
Coast of Sicily
The oldest evidence of wine production in Italy has been discovered near Sciacca on the west coast of Sicily. Terracotta vessels with traces of wine were found in a cave dating back to the 4th millennium BC. We can assume that the Phoenicians brought the grape juice to this island. Of course long before Italy and Greece started to plant vines and make wine. We are talking about antiquity!
From the 15th century B.C. onwards, Mycenaean influencing the imports of goods while the Etruscans were already producing wine near Tuscany. And aroubd 700 years later the Greek peacefully colonized the of Italy including Sicily.
Roman Empire
Around 280 BC the ancient Romans conquered southern Italy and Phoenicia after the Pyrrhic and Punic wars. This benefited Italian viticulture, as the Romans relied on the knowledge of the respective regional winegrowers.
After the Romans were able to conquer Carthago, Roman viticulture changed completely since they were able to acquire the 26-volume work of Mago, a Phoenician agricultural and wine-growing expert, whose writings were subsequently translated into Latin and Greek. Greek wines enjoyed the highest rankings for several centuries - until products of the Roman Empire emerged in the 2nd century BC that first-class . .
Writer & Wine Scholar Mago
Pliny the Elder
Literature especially became significant in 121 B.C. where Pliny the Elder described in detail the First Plants of that time (today a quality designation in the Rheingau exclusively for Riesling and Spätburgunder from classified sites). The outstanding quality of the wine was associated with the grape variety and the vintage.
IIn large parts of the Roman Empire, wine became part of everyday life of the whole population. With the expansion of the Roman Empire, it was no longer possible to meet the growing demand resulting in viticulture gradually spreading throughout the empire. The region around Pompeii south of Naples was one of the leading cultivation centres of the Roman Empire. .
Roman wine rush
The eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD had a far-reaching effect on viticulture and the supply of wine. The balance between supply and demand was permanently disturbed and the price rose dramatically. Wine, which actually belonged to everyday culture, was now only affordable for rich Roman citizens. As a result, new vineyards were planted on a large scale - many cereal fields were abandoned and converted into vineyards.
This led to an oversupply of wine within a few years resulting in correspondingly low prices. What was worse, however, was the shortage of grain. Therefore Emperor Domitian issued an edict in the year 92 (which was valid for almost 200 years) prohibiting the planting of new vineyards. The decline of the Roman Empire around the year 476 finally was able to hold back end to viticulture itself, but also brought meant the end to fine quality: wine was produced everywhere for self-sufficiency - the focus was on quantity instead of quality. .
Emperor Domitian
Banking family Antinori
Until the early Middle Ages, wine trades stagnated and had only a very limited regional significance. This did not change until the 11th century, when cities of Upper Italy such as Genoa and Venice became the political and economic centre of Europe. In the 14th century the development of the credit system began, Florence became the European banking capital. The well-known Antinori bank, which at the time invested profits in the trade of Tuscan wine, became one of italics most known wineries operated in its 26th generation.
For a long time, Italian wine had the reputation of being cheap mass-produced, but from the mid-1960s onwards, quality gradually increased. The initially in red wines became more Classy due to the laws of the EEC. The improvement of technology improved the white wines significantly two decades later. Now Italy is among the most popular wine countries in the world. The wine regions correspond to the administrative districts of the country, which means that there are 20 wine growing regions with the most important areas such as Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli.
Cultivation & Maturation of Italian wine
Italian Vineyards
In a global comparison, Italy ranked fourth in 2018 after Spain, China (yes!) and France with a total vineyard area of around 702,000 ha. With an annual production volume of almost 50 million hl, the Italian wine producers clearly occupy the first place in the worlds - no other country in the world has produced or is producing more wine!
The climate is mainly determined by the Mediterranean Sea, the Alps in the north and the Apennines in the interior. The unique assortment of grape varieties produce the most diverse wines due to the very different climate zones of Italy - from dry whites to full-bodied, strong, meaty reds.
Italian Vines & Grapes
italian Wine Law
Wine-growing legislation in Italy was reformed in 2009 in line with the French model. A quality distinction is made between four levels: from all regions there are a total of 74 DOCG wines of the highest quality, 334 DOC wines (corresponds to our Q.b.A.) and 118 wines classified IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), comparable to Landwein or Vin de Pays. Around 22% of Italian wines are Vini Comuni e Varietali (since 2009 Vini Generici) without quality classification, formerly referred to as "table wines".
Text researched and developed by Charlotte Münch. © Copyright & all other rights and/or licenses of texts on weinstore24 belong to