Italy has the a long illustrious history in wine dating back to the Roman Empire and the Ancient Greeks who planted some vineyards in Sicily and other parts of Southern Italy like; Calabria and Campania. The Romans with their far reaching Empire that stretched across Europe and into North Africa, planted vineyards in every corner of their domain, including; France, Germany, Spain, and Croatia.
Wine is as deeply rooted into the Italian lifestyle as pizza, pasta, Prosciutto, and Parmigiano.
When it comes to wine there is no country on Earth that can compare to Italy. If you look at wine maps of other major wine producing countries, you will see that vineyards are planted in just a few areas here and there as far as the entire land mass is concerned. Italy on the other hand has vines planted in the whole of the country, from Friuli in the North-East down to the toe of Calabria in the South-West and everywhere in-between, along with the large islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
No matter where you go in Italy you will find grape vines growing. There is no country in the world with such a multitude of grapes being cultivated, furthermore there is no country on the planet that has the diversity in wine styles and grape varieties grown. The number of grape varieties is staggering as compared to other countries. Take the United States, France, and Australia for example, three of the top wine producing countries in the world, in terms of both quality and quantity. In Australia and the U.S. the primary grapes produced are Chardonay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. Add to this a fair amount of Reisling and Gamay, a bit of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Bianco, Petit Verdot, and Petit Syrah and a few other varieties and you have the major grapes grown in these countries.
France cultivates these varieties and more, including Muscadet, Grenache, Viognier, and Carrignan. No doubt they have a nice variety of great wine produced in France. Wines that I love, especially from the Rhone and Bordeaux but for all the wonderful wines from France they can’t come close to touching Italy in number of styles and grape varieties.
Italy, for my money, is thee Worlds Best!
There are a number of grape varieties that are grown in Italy and no where else or in such minuscule amounts that they are of no consequence. One example, Nebbiolo, the solitary grape that makes-up the famed Barolos and Barbare