If you take some time to examine the European wine industry, you will see something interesting.
So many countries on the continent have a wine industry. But when it comes to those that stand out more than any others, there are a few that come to mind.
Italy, France, and Spain are the heavy hitters, though many would argue that Portugal aren’t far behind. The Greek industry, though nowhere near what it once was, is also still respected.
Now, there’s something that all of these great wine-producing countries have in common…
They’re all located in southern Europe!
There’s clearly something in the water in this area of the world!
However, the reasons why wines from this area are so revered are a little more complicated than that. In this article, we’re going to dig into some of those reasons to help you see why south Europe is so important to the global wine industry.
Reason #1 – This is Where Wine (As an Industry) Came From
Now, the exact origins of wine as a drink are up for debate. The earliest proof of wine being made stretches back thousands of years and doesn’t necessarily correlate with the idea that south Europe is where the earliest wines came from.
But that’s not the argument that we’re making.
While wine, as a drink, existed for many years in various guises and in many countries, there was no industry wrapped around the drink until the Ancient Greeks came along. Prior to them, wine was just something that a few people made for their families. You might have the occasional seller coming along, but there wasn’t a dedicated industry that enveloped an entire country.
The Greeks changed all of that.
They laid the foundations for what wine, as an industry, would become. In fact, they were so dedicated to wine that they even had a god specifically for the drink.
Now, the importance of the Greek wine industry doesn’t just lie in the fact that it existed in the first place. It also comes from the fact that the Ancient Greeks were conquerors who held a vast empire. This included some lands in Italy. And when the Greeks conquered, they generally brought their ideas with them. As such, they’re responsible for the spread of wine into other southern European countries.
And they’re not the only ones.
The fall of the Ancient Greek Empire coincided with the rise of the Roman Empire. And of course, the Romans were as well known for their wines as the Greeks, mostly because the Greeks played a huge part in developing the nascent industry that the Romans would build upon.
And much like the Greeks, the Romans brought wine, as an industry, to many other countries.
So, when we chart the spread of the global wine industry, we see that it was the countries in southern Europe that had the largest impact. And that spread also created something else…
Reason #2 – The History Behind The Wines From This Area
As we’ve established, southern Europe is where wine as an industry finds its roots.
And it’s because of this that the wines from the area have such a deep and rich history.
Simply compare the stories behind the most famous Italian wines against those behind wines from a newer wine-producing country, such as the United States. While this is certainly not a knock against the US industry, that country maybe only has a few decades of wine producing history to draw from. Plus, many of the wines it produces are copies of wines that were originally produced in southern European countries.
Contrast that to Italy, where you have these deep and meaningful stories behind major wines, such as Chianti and Barolo. It’s these stories that give people such an amazing connection to these wines. People want to learn about their histories and the many wonderful producers that have given their lives to producing the best examples of these wines.
If the conquering armies of southern Europe’s empires were responsible for the spread of the industry, it’s these stories that are responsible for its continued growth in strength. Or at least, partly responsible. You also have the levels of quality that can only come from centuries of learning that play a huge role as well.
We guess that this deep history lends a certain level of prestige to wines from southern Europe. And it’s this prestige that has helped to shape the industries of the likes of France and Italy.
However, there’s also a more practical reason for southern Europe being the home of such a strong industry…
Reason #3 – The Climate
When you look at the Italian wine industry, you see such a huge amount of variety. And that comes because the country is large enough to offer a variety of climates. In the north, we have colder regions that produce specific types of wine. And the warmer southern regions grow entirely different types of grapes.
We see a similar situation in France, which also offers great variety.
Now, compare that to the industries in other countries. For as large as it is, the US tends to focus its grape growing in warmer areas. The same goes for the South American industries. However, the likes of Switzerland and the UK have colder climates that also limit their production.
In southern Europe, you have this ideal mix of climates that allow for the production of a huge variety of grapes. And that means that the producers in these areas can always produce something that suits your tastes. If you don’t like wines from warmer climates, you can always find something produced in colder areas.
That variety has helped to prop the southern European industries up during times of difficulty.
And you can help to strengthen the industry even more. There are plenty of examples of so many great wines from Italy, Spain, and France, along with so many more, in our store. Why not browse and see what south Europe has to offer?