Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Mediterranean, famous sea, wine-producing climate, diet, and many other things besides. By classical times, vines were grown for wine in almost all the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea and on many of the islands; from Spain in the west to Byblos in the east, from northern Italy to Egypt, the vine made inexorable progress, with amphorae of wine traversing the sea regularly. Historically, the Mediterranean was the focus of viticulture, and most wine was produced in mediterranean climates. In the Middle Ages, particularly when temperatures rose overall (see climate change) and when consumers were accustomed to very light, acid wines, viticulture spread much further north than the shores of the Mediterranean (see paris, england, and german history, for example).