A History of the Wines of the Amalfi Coast

The Costa d’Amalfi  DOC, located in the Campania region in Southern Italy, was given the DOC classification in 1995. Wine connoisseurs say the Amalfi Coast produces some of Italy’s finest wines. Their spectacular vistas, rugged terrain, and picture-perfect villages are well-known across the globe[1].

Amalfi Coast

History of the Costa d’Amalfi Wine Region

Wine has been produced in Campania since at least 800 B.C.E. by Roman and Greek settlers. When they first arrived, the immigrants brought Ancient Greek grape varieties. It was not until around 30 years ago that the area began to change into the well-known wine region it is today. New estates are being managed by a younger generation dedicated to their profession[2].

Campania has a moderate and diverse microclimates and soil types, including volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvius’ eruptions. In the 1880s, many vineyards were spared from the fatal phylloxera virus, a disease that ravaged grapevines all over the world. As a consequence, these vines are some of the few vines in the world on their native rootstock and un-grafted[3].

Many of Campania’s vineyards are situated on mountain slopes, with milder temperatures, and the grapes’ acidity is not lost throughout the maturation process[4].

Did You Know: Campania is home to the ancient destroyed city of Pompeii.

In the Costa d’Amalfi Region

In Southern Italy the region Costa d’Amalfi, known for its wine, is located along the shore. Ancient Greeks planted grapes here around 600 BC. Later the Ancient Romans continued the wine tradition. Wine was an essential part of culture throughout the Roman Empire. According to several Roman historians, wine was an integral component of the Roman diet. The Romans consumed around three to four liters of wine daily. Amalfi, Italy is said to have been the site of the Romans’ first vineyards[6].

Amalfi Coast

The Influence on Italy

Many wine regions in Southern Italy date back to ancient times. Religious practices in Sicily, Calabria, Campania, and Puglia necessitated the production of wine for the Church in these regions. Their wines were afterward sold to other countries and regions, mainly Northern Italy. Wines of world-class quality may now be found in these regions, thanks to local and imported grapevines. Campania winemakers place a high priority on utilizing local grapes to develop their unique wines[7].

To the southwest of Rome, Naples is the capital of the Campania region, other major sites include Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, and Sorrento, as well as the islands of Capri and Ischia. The Amalfi Coast’s cliffs overlook the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of Italy’s most stunning landscapes[8].

Terroir of Costa D’Amalfi

Clay and limestone comprise the bulk of the soil in the Costa d’Amalfi region. The Costa d’Amalfi may not have as many limestone soils as the rest of Italy, but they are still plentiful. Higher altitudes, where the environment is harsher, generally include limestone because it is a porous rock that can absorb water and prevents erosion. Due to clay’s high porosity and ability to store water, it is an excellent soil for preventing erosion and flooding. Since clay can hold onto and release nutrients slowly, it is said to have a high cation exchange capacity[9].

Viticulture in the First Dark Ages

The Aglianico grape varietal, which produces wines like Taurasi in Campania, is more recognized. This wine has been likened to Piedmontese Barolo and Tuscany’s Brunello, both of which are regarded as among Italy’s finest reds[10].

The climate of the Costa d’Amalfi wine region is typical to that found in the Mediterranean. A mild winter is followed by a mild summer, which is both hot and dry. There is also plenty of sunshine. The climate is shaped by the closeness of the ocean, notably in terms of the average annual temperature[11].

Conclusion

Awe-inspiring is an understatement when describing the Amalfi Coast’s morphological structure, which has sheer cliff faces and lofty mountain peaks. Several terraces cut out of the mountain are ideal for growing grapes and making wine, both of which have won over the many visitors that have vacationed on this coast[12]. As a result of the dynamic character of the area, the wineries of the Amalfi Coast have established themselves as one of Campania’s top wine regions. Red grapes including Aglianico, Piedirosso, Sciascinoso, and Tintore are utilized in the DOC Costa d’Amalfi production[13]. The Tramonti area is known for its centuries-old Tintore vine. Winemakers in Furore, Ginestra, and Papella create a white wine known as Fenile, one of the most widely available[14].

THIS DAY IN WINE HISTORY

June 29, 2013: An academic named Tomciocco wrote an essay called “Costa D’amalfi—A Wine From A Mediterranean Paradise” and published it[15]. This idea of the genuine roots of Amalfi Wines was called into question by the expert, who said that the Mediterranean area had a more significant part in its development. Consequently, every DOCG winery and vineyard has begun to refer to their wine varietals and traits as “Mediterranean Paradise.”

The history of the largest underground cellar in the world

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Amalfi Coast, A History of the Wines of the Amalfi CoastAmalfi Coast, A History of the Wines of the Amalfi Coast

References:

[1] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[2] Paul Arthur, “Roman Exports To The North. Wine From The West: A View From Campania,” J. Swaddling, D. Walker E P. Roberts (Edd.) Italy And Europe: Economic Relations 700 (1995): 241–51.

[3] Loubèreleo A, The Red And The White: A History Of Wine In France And Italy In The Nineteenth Century (Albany: State University Of New York Press, 1978).

[4] Loubèreleo A, The Red And The White: A History Of Wine In France And Italy In The Nineteenth Century (Albany: State University Of New York Press, 1978).

[5] De Pasquale, “The Cultural Value Of The Amalfi Coast Terracing. A Legacy Of The Past And Opportunity For The Future.,” 2018.

[6] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[7] Valentina Savo Et Al., “Folk Phytotherapy Of The Amalfi Coast (Campania, Southern Italy),” Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 135 (2011): 376–92.

[8] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[9] Paul Arthur, “Roman Exports To The North. Wine From The West: A View From Campania,” J. Swaddling, D. Walker E P. Roberts (Edd.) Italy And Europe: Economic Relations 700 (1995): 241–51.

[10] Valentina Savo Et Al., “Folk Phytotherapy Of The Amalfi Coast (Campania, Southern Italy),” Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 135 (2011): 376–92.

[11] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[12] De Pasquale, “The Cultural Value Of The Amalfi Coast Terracing. A Legacy Of The Past And Opportunity For The Future.,” 2018.

[13] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[14] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[15] Svitlana Samorodova and Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

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