What is the history of Wine in Tuscany?

Tuscan wines are some of the most popular produced in Italy, and unarguably some of the very best! An epitome of a perfect wine countryside, Tuscany reverberates with endless rows of vines. In fact, the passion, zeal, and delightful flavours of the Tuscan wine are heartily associated with this beautiful land that lays testimony to a rich history of winemaking. Read on to unveil the historical truth behind the evolution of wine in Tuscany.

History of Wine in Tuscany

The origin of winemaking in Tuscany dates back to Etruscan times, when the ancient Etruscan civilization first came to settle in the present day region of Tuscany in 8th century BC. Progressively, the Etruscans made the cultivation of grapevines a central part of their agriculture. As the grapevines grew wild and stronger, the Etruscan merchants sold them to markets beyond the sea.

Later on, when the Greeks arrived, the region was all covered in grape vines and the present-day region of Tuscany was part of a larger area that was called ‘Enotris’ or the land of wine.

After the decline of the Roman Empire, during the middle ages, Christianity employed wine as a sacred mean of worship. Subsequently, the church fathers, monks and priests began cultivating vineyards systematically around the churches, convents, monasteries, and throughout the inland regions. In fact, the Benedictine monks became so proficient at the grape cultivation that they began compiling manuals on grape cultivation, which are still referenced today.

Predictably, the wine production in Tuscany kept growing, and in 1710, the first bottle of local wine was shipped across the Tuscan borders. It was an instant hit and Tuscany was soon supplying over 14,000,000 litres of wine to a much larger market.

With the rise of wine trade emerged Tuscany’s indigenous Chianti wine that was processed from the Sangiovese grapes, which originated in the Sienese hills. Soon after, this unique, bold-flavoured Chianti became the region’s best-selling wine that won praises from different nooks and corners of Italy. For many years, Chianti wine continued to be important agricultural produce of Tuscany – until World War II destroyed the region, leaving farmers with insurmountable debts.

However, in the face of adversity, came laws and advances that changed the wine scene in Tuscany forever! In the 1960s, Chianti and Vernaccia became the first wines to be given a Designation of Origin, or DOC. As per the law, the wine production was sliced to half and a new focus was placed on quality. The result? Chianti earned worldwide recognition and a reputation for excellence!

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