: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The history of Corsica is closely related to that of Italy and this is reflected in the viticulture. Evidence suggests that vines were indigenous to the island and that their cultivation is one of the oldest in Europe, dating back to phoenician times and the settlement in 570 bc at Aleria on the east coast. Under Genoese rule in the 16th century, laws were enacted to control the harvest and tasting of wines; export of Corsican wines to destinations other than the republic of genoa was banned. The English diarist James Boswell wrote in 1769, only a year after the Genoese ceded the island to France, of the excellence and diversity of Corsican wines. Napoleon was born in Ajaccio and Napoleonic laws still entitle the island to sell duty-free wines and tobacco.