The Move to Spain

Impression CANTONI.QVI
Spanish vintner, Gaius Antonius Quietus
Late 1st century A.D.

This reversal was much criticised by writers of the day, because of rampant hearsay that wines from southern Gaul (with the exception of those from the region of Massilia [Marseilles]) were somehow artificially colored by smoke, and sometimes were flavored with noxious herbs such as aloe. But the tide of importation of provincial wines was not stemmed; indeed, popular demand required that it grow, and soon.

The Roman authorities did not despair. Roman businessmen turned there attention to the province of Baetica, in southern Spain. For the next century or so, it was Spanish rather than Italian wines that were being stocked in the warehouse cellars of the Mediterranean ports of Gaul. These same wines also moved by sea around the Atlantic coastline until they reached the southern ports of Romano-Britain. Early in the 2nd century A.D., they moved further north still, to provision the storehouses of various forts and settlements that then were strung out across the landscape of northern Britain.