The Wines of Italy and Spain

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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 for a period of time after them were the Muslims. It was not until the middle-ages, when monks moved into Spain, that wine production and viticulture picked up steam again. Around 1850 French wine-makers encountered a bug called the “phylloxera”. This bug destroyed most of France’s vineyards. That is when French winemakers decided to move into neighboring Spain where the bug had not attacked. They brought their winemaking techniques and styles with them and taught the Spanairds how to make the best possible wine that they could. 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”…...

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