Forbes featured local family wine company Marsovin and the history of wine production in Malta.
According to the article, written by Joseph V. Micallef, wine has been produced on Malta for at least 3 thousand years, brought here by the Phoenicians, who were well known for encouraging the cultivation of wine grapes around the Mediterranean.
Although, Head of Marsovin Jeremy Cassar says that local lore has it that it was the Romans who did this, as they were also known for encouraging the spread of viticulture – as we see in Burgundy to the Danube delta. The Normans also introduced variety from France in the 11th century.
Curiously, during the British colonial period the production of wine grapes was discouraged, and encouraged to plant wheat instead. This as Great Britain had turned Malta into an island fortress, and eventually led to the possibility of us never knowing what indigenous grape varieties may have been irrevocably lost.
The two indigenous varieties that did survive – a red wine called Gellewza, and a white called Girgentina. It is suggested that the Maltese palate tends to favor a little sweetness, with higher end bottlings typically vinified dry.
Neither of the aforementioned grapes have been genetically mapped, so it’s unclear to what other grape varieties they may be related. It’s likely that their very distant relatives are indigenous Italian grape varietals.
The land upon which the vineyards are planted also play a critical role in the produce that is grown. With the Maltese islands consisting principally of five separate sedimentary layers of limestone, sandstone and mudstone separated by thing layers of hardgrounds, vineyard soils vary widely. From the red soils formed by decomposed limestone, to soils consisting of various mixtures of clay sand and loam.
Malta’s wine industry has not escaped international attention either, with a number of foreign wine companies having announced their intention of investing in Malta’s wine industry.
Maltese wines are also virtually impossible to find outside of Malta, with the island consuming 99% of what it produces. Rising tourist levels have more than made up for the rising production, leaving little for export.
Currently, there are more than 60 different bottlings of Maltese wines. Marsovin, along with several other wineries, do operate a website and will ship wines, but the cost of shipping wines to the US is usually several times more than the cost of the win itself.
The full article may be found here
Original article found on The Malta Independent