The Modern Industry

Primary wine production worldwide
Total [for 1996]: 7150 million gallons

The wine industry of Italy is so different from that of Roman times. The focus of production has shifted northward, being most intense in the region of Veneto, at the head of the Adriatic. There the area around Verona, the wines of which gained a good reputation as early as the 6th century A.D., today is renowned for its dry white Soave and red Valpolicella. From there too comes the sweet red Recioto made from sun-dried grapes, which matches the Roman raisin wine, passum. It is this area that produces 20% of the wines regulated for quality by the Italian government-those that abide by the rules of the Denominazione de Origine Controllata e Garantitita [DOCG] and the slightly less stringent Denominazione de Origine Controllata [DOC].

In Latium, the home of the emperor Augustus' favorite Setinian, far less wine is produced today. More than 127,000 acres are given over to grape-growing, but only about 6.3% of DOGC and DOC quality wines are produced there. In Campania, the home of Rome's beloved Falernian, the level of wine production is lower still, though attempts to re-create authentic Pompeian vintages do keep alive the region's mystique. Meanwhile, the region of Apulia, home of the Aminaean grape that was the staple of the Roman wine industry during the Imperial era, continues in a similar role today, some 0.36 million acres being devoted to producing wine for Italy's mass market.