Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Malta, the central Mediterranean island, has a small wine industry that can trace its history back to Phoenician times, but it was the arrival of the Knights of St John in 1530 that laid the foundations of today’s wine industry. Viticulture in Malta flourished until the arrival of the British in 1800, when many vineyards (and olive groves) were uprooted in favour of cotton. By the end of the 19th century, when demand for Maltese cotton had diminished, a replanting programme of sorts was started and in spite of the outbreak of phylloxera in 1919, viticulture flourished once again. By the 1950s 1,000 ha/2,470 acres were under vine.