Italy is a country that has some of the oldest wine producing regions in the world. It is also one of the world's largest wine producers, having produced about one-fifth of the world's win in 2005. It is the second largest wine producer in the world,
second only to France, but at times will actually produce more wine than France. The popularity of wine in Italy and Italian culture cannot be denied. It is the largest consumer of wine in the world, with the per capita rate of consumption is 70 litres per person! In the US, the consumption is only 25 litres per person, while Australia consumes only 20 litres per person. Today, wine is grown throughout all regions of Italy, and there are more than a million registered vineyards. Around the world, Italian wine regions are renown for producing some of the finest red wines (Rosso) and white wines (Bianco)
History of Italian Wine
Long before the Romans started cultivating their own vineyards sometime in the second century BC, it was Greek settlers, particularly the Carthaginians, who first started producing wine. However, the Romans made viticulture much more widespread and organised, and are credited with starting the first large-scale production techniques, such as bottling and storing in barrels. So much land was dedicated to growing grapes, that emperor Domitian needed to have many vineyards destroyed and converted to farmland to produce enough food for the country. Today, Italy is a major exporter of wines to numerous countries. The market share in the US is approximately 32%, where Australia is 24% and France is 20%. This market share is quickly increasing along with Australia's market share!
Due to its favourable geography, all areas of Italy grow grapes for wine production to some extent. There are 20 basic wine regions in Italy, all producing their specialty wines. So ingrained into Italian culture is wine that the style of foods in each area are a direct reflection on the wines that are indigenous to each area.
The regions are as follows:
AostaValley (Valle D'Aosta), Piedmont(Piemonte), Liguria, Lombardy(Lombardia),
Trentino-Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna,
Tuscany(Toscana), Marche(Le Marche), Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Basilicata, Apulia(Puglia), Calabria,
Sicily(Sicilia), and Sardinia(Sardegna)
Today in Italy, there are more than 350 varieties of grapes that are used to produce Italian wines, with more than 500 varieties used in a minor capacity. Here are a list of the more common varieties:
White wines (Bianco)
Arneis, Catarrato, Fiano, Graganega, Malvasia Bianca, Moscato, Muragus,Pigato, Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano, Trebbiano, Verdicchio, and Vermentino.
Even though they are not native to Italy, grapes such as Chardonnay and Riesling are also grown as well
Red Wines (Rosso)
Aglianico, Barbera, Corvina, Dolcetto, MalvasiaNera, Montepulciano, Nebbiolo,Negroamaro, Nero d'Avola, Sagrantino, Sangiovese
Wines given this distinction are those red wines that are produced in Tuscany that do not follow the traditional blending laws for the region. As an example, Chianti Classico wines are produced using a blend of grapes dominated by Sangiovese grapes as the dominant variety. Super Tuscan's can also use other grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
The number of fantastic red and white wines from Italian wine producers are way too numerous to list here. To say which one is the best Italian wine label would be near-on impossible, as there are so many opinions! However, here at TheWineSpot.org, our goal is to keep you informed of all the latest news, reviews and helpful articles about Italian wine, Italian wine producers, and all other associated information. So why not grab a glass of nice Chianti, sit back and explore our site...you never know what you might find out!