Italy is known as one of the world’s oldest wine making regions, with wines produced here being known around the world for quality and variety. By volume, Italy is the largest producer of wines in the world, producing approximately 50 million hl a year which is around a third of the entire global wine production. Italian wines are exported worldwide, however they are also very popular in their home country with grapes being grown in virtually every region and over a million vineyards nationwide.
Wine was produced in Italy even before the Romans began planting vineyards in the second century BC with Greeks and Etruscan settlers making wine here. Large scale production was begun by the Romans, however, and storage techniques such as bottling, and barrel making were introduced by them. Today, Italy’s wine making industry is extremely diverse and rich and is known around the world for its many fine quality products thanks to the distinctive styles and flavours.
There are 20 Italian wine regions which also correspond to the country’s 20 administrative regions. The majority of high quality wines are produced in Tuscany, Veneto, Lombardia and Piedmont, with Brunello di Montalcino, Barbaresco and Barolo being some of the most sought after and appreciated varieties among connoisseurs.
Over recent years, many other notable wines have come to the attention of the international market with new wines from the southern and central regions gaining recognition at a rapid rate, including Nero D’avola, Primitivo, Sagrantino and Verdicchio. More than 500 different types of grapes rare grown across Italy and new varieties are being planted all the time, resulting in exciting new wines being developed.