Vino da Italia and how the Greek settlers shaped the wine world
Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, and Italian wines are known worldwide for their broad variety. Italy, closely followed by France, is the world’s largest wine producer by volume and represents about ⅓ of global production. Grapes are grown in almost every region of the country and there are more than one million vineyards under cultivation.
Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in Italy before the Romans started their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. Roman grape-growing and winemaking was prolific and well-organized, pioneering large-scale production and storage techniques like barrel-making and bottling.
It was during the Roman defeat that Italian wine production began to further flourish. Large-scale, slave-run plantations sprang up in many coastal areas and spread to such an extent that, in AD 92, emperor Domitian was forced to destroy a great number of vineyards in order to free up fertile land for food production.
It was customary to mix wine with a good proportion of water, which may otherwise have been unpalatable, making wine drinking a fundamental part of early Italian life.
As the laws on provincial viticulture were relaxed, vast vineyards began to flourish in the rest of Europe, especially Gaul (present day France) and Hispania (Spain).
Today and depending on the vintage, modern Italy is the world's largest or second largest wine producer.
Check out our next Vino Da Italia Wine series and join us for a fun and interactive afternoon of great wines and food pairing!