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Wine represents a very important but also an indispensable component in the Italian cultural and social tradition. Wine occupies a fortunate place in Italian gastronomy, no wonder, since long ago vines found here the ideal conditions and for this reason the Greeks called this territory “Enotria – Terra del Vino” (Enotria – Land of wine), a sign that the vine and the production of wine were already well present in Italy since the times of Greek colonization.
The Greek and Roman civilizations therefore contributed to creating the foundations for the Italic culture of this beverage. Both praised wine as an entity of incredible value, so much that they even dedicated a divinity to it, Bacchus for the Romans and Dionysus in Hellenic culture, who was credited with the discovery of vine and the elaboration of wine.
The spread of viticulture and the consumption of wine was mainly due to the Romans who introduced the vine and the habit of consuming wine wherever they went and in every place they conquered.
“The nectar of the Gods” as it was named in Greek mythology has been such an important beverage that has been at the side of men since ancient times, always considered as a symbol of union, sharing and companionship.
The winemaking tradition has continued until today and wine-tasting is therefore one of the “can’t-miss-pleasure” of every tourist who visits Italy.
Italy is one of the largest wine producers in the world. The quality of Italian wine, in addition to the winemaking tradition long several thousand years, is due to the particular territory from a geographical and climatic point of view which has favored the spread of a wide range of wines.
The quality of wine is significantly influenced by a number of different factors, including, for example, the quality of the vine, the climate and the quality of the soil, or the technology of maturation and production of wine.
Its history and the conformation of the territory, mainly hilly, makes Italy the land most suitable for quality viticulture with over 300 different types of vines, which are located in vineyards spread throughout every region, from north to south, including islands.
Perhaps the region best known abroad for Italian viticulture is Tuscany, but for sure it is not the only wine region to produce good, quality wines. Each Italian region produces its own wine from its typical grapes and each boasts its own local wines that can not be found in other regions.
Local wines are produced only in certain territories, require special processing and are renowned and awarded all over the world. They are often mentioned among the most popular wines abroad. All 20 Italian regions boast excellent wine production.
The grapes grown in the north mainly produce white and fragrant wines while in the south of the country you can find full-bodied red wine, with intense flavor and subtly spiced.
Culture and trends
Viticulture in the belpaese is a science and drinking a good wine in pleasant company or enjoying a good meal is an experience not to be missed, not to mention that the wine used in the cuisine is often the mysterious culinary ingredient hidden behind the delicious taste of Italian food. The recent trend is not just the modernization of wine production technology but also the emphasis on the quality of local wines. Although classic international grape varieties such as chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot or syrah are always at the top of wine market, Italian winemakers are also trying to cultivate and promote local classic varieties, and these shouldn’t escape the taste buds of those visiting Italy.
White, red, rosé, dry or sparkling?
In Italy vineyards are cultivated on an area of about 700,000 hectares and they rank at the top of the world in wine production, together with France. When you visit Italy, in addition to the popular wines I also recommend tasting the numerous homemade wines, which will surely surprise you. If you are in Italy, especially in the second half of September, make sure you don’t miss the grape harvest and the celebrations related to it.
The wine harvest has long been accompanied by symbolic religious rites through which it was elevated above the level of simple agricultural activity. Before the actual harvest, the ancient Romans celebrated the feast of “Vinalia Rustica” where ordinary citizens marked the day with wine and revelry, go dancing and singing. There are lots of legends about Italian wine, try to listen with a glass of good wine in your hands.. it will open the doors of your imagination. Cheers!