05 Apr History of wine
It’s almost a cliché to say that a greta wine is made in the vineyard, but it clearly is. Whether red wine has any notable health benefits remains a debatable issue. However, studies have shown that daily consumption of a moderate amount of red wine, with an alcohol content of 12 to 15% helps prevent a number of diseases including heart disease.
Alicante has been a point of reference in the wine culture of our country throughout history. Present in myths, traditions and legends in general or alluding to the origins and ancestors of wine.
History tells that the Iberians were the first to cultivate grapes in the province of Alicante, using them for food purposes, although there are indications that the Phoenicians introduced the grape and later the Romans became the great winegrowers. This is confirmed by the discovery of the wine-making amphorae (wine jar), the factories and the land dedicated to viticulture.
During the Renaissance, Alicante wines were introduced by Fernando Catolico, who prohibited the sale of wine from other areas.
Wine production continued to increase in the 17th and 18th centuries, although exports through the port of Alicante belonged only to wines grown in the same territory, becoming popular only in 1756. The first step towards wine exports from the interior of the province, which ended with full liberalization in 1834, takes us back to the 19th century, known as the golden age of winemaking in Alicante.
This century saw great growth in viticulture, with all cities having land dedicated to viticulture, leading to the creation of the first winery in Spain.
Alicante wines are important in aspects of daily life:
- It was given a royal title and was the wine of Renaissance cardinals, literary princes and kings of France
- Famous wines of the Nacy and the Admiralty (being the first to go around the world to accompany the excursions of Juan Sebastián Elcano)
- They also appear in literature: Alicante wines are mentioned by Alejandro Dumas, Emilio Salgari, Quinette, etc.
In the middle of this century, something good happened in our favour. Two different vine diseases, phylloxera and powdery mildew devastated most of France’s vineyards. Due to the fact that there was a preferential trade agreement signed between France and Alicante wines, it caused an large increase. However towards the end of the century, around 1892 the treaty with France expired leading to overproduction and great wine surpluses.
We have to mention the famous and delicious Fondillón, a wine that apprears on the most joyous of tables in the world.
This is how the 20th century closed with changes in the productive and economic models in the province of Alicante due to the development of tourism and industry causing a decline in viticulture.
With all this in mind, in 1932 the Alicante Denomination of Origin was created and in 1957 the first Regulatory Commission. It was in charge of the organization of the field to enhance quality, bottling and production to the new era of the current and modern consumer.
In the 90’s new vineyards began to appear, introducing new machines and production methods, modern technology and innovation, along with new and young winemakers and those restarting wine production in Alicante, creating a reputation in the world of wine.
Alicante is an area rich in history and very much so thanks to its vineyards and wine tradition. In recent years Alicante has been recognized as one of the most dynamic rich and valuable areas in Spain.
Alicante wines will surprise you for several reasons. Wouldn’t you like to taste them?
At Ali-Oli Tours, we offer the Alicante wine tour where you will learn about wine and the gastronomy of our region. We will visit a local vineyard and learn about the process involved in making wine. After we will taste the wines all while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
For more information about this activity please click here