The Wines of Italy and Spain
Anthony M. Phillips
American Public University
Spain has had a rich history of viticulture for quite some time. Evidence suggests that vines were planted in the country as far back as 65 million to 2.6 million years ago. The real wine history and culture of Spain began when the Romans defeated the Carthaginians in the Punic war. After that the peninsula became part of the Roman Empire and they named it Hispania. Spanish wine flourished under Roman rule, and it is often referred to as a golden age for the delicious spirit. The two major wine producing areas were Tarraconensis close to Barcelona in the north and Baetica in the south (they are now called Tarragona and Andalusia). When the Roman Empire began to decline some barbaric tribes from the north moved into Spain ...view middle of the document...
Before this the Spanish wines were made to be drunk right away, and they lacked color among other things. It was during this time that the Spanish wine began to have more color, a better fragrance, and a longer shelf life. Spanish wine has a long and storied history, and the country should be proud of how far it has come since its earlier days.
Italy is a culture that is defined by their wine. The Greeks were the first to produce wine in Italy. When they settled in Sicily and southern Italy they imported vines, and named the land “Oenotria” which means land of wine. The Etruscans settled in central Italy and they also contributed a great deal to the country’s rich wine history. They founded the wine industry in Tuscany, and were ahead of their time when it came to winemaking technology. The demand for wine increased as the Roman Empire continued to grow. Wine production matched the demand, and as we know wine became a big part of everyday life in Rome. Wine during this period was very different from the wine we drink today. The Romans often mixed their wine with water to dilute the alcohol content. They also preferred to drink sweet wines and they mixed their wine with honey, spices, and other herbs. The climate in Italy is ideal for growing wine. The Greeks noticed this and promptly took advantage. Today, Italy accounts for twenty percent of the world’s wine production. It is not hard to see why when you take a long look at its history and culture when it comes to wine.
Zraly, Kevin (2011). Kevin Zraly’s Complete wine course. New York, New York: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.