Apulia Wine Region Agriculture
Viticulture is not the only agricultural focus of the region, although its success in the area may lead some to believe it. Apulia is agriculturally rich, producing not only a huge variety of grapes, but also olive trees and wheat [source: Wine Bow].
If you're going to make wine, you need the right climate. Grapes like poor soil, warm temperatures and staying dry. Apulia happens to accommodate all three of these preferences. In fact, the soil is actually quite rocky. Some of the rocks are so big that the Italians had to make machines specifically designed to crush them [source: Franson]. Unbelievably this creates the perfect foundation for the cultivation of grapes. The rocky soil basks all day in the warmth of the sun and then releases heat at night, helping grape vines maintain an even temperature [source: Rombough]. The rocks also don't soak up moisture like rich soil does, allowing the roots of a vine to grow deep into the ground without getting too wet.
As far as sunlight is concerned, there's no shortage of it in Apulia. In fact, the region gets 1,000 more hours of sunlight each year than any other part of Italy [source: iExplore]. During the summer, temperatures soar upwards of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). With those temperatures, grapes don't have any problem staying warm and with all those extra hours of sunshine, they don't get very wet either, as it hardly ever rains. However, grapes do need some moisture, especially in the beginning stages of a vine's development. Therefore, some irrigation is necessary.
A number of different varieties of grapes grow in Apulia. Some of the standouts are Anglianico, Negro Amaro and Primitivo. Interestingly, the last of these has the exact same DNA as the California Zinfandel, a grape that has gained incredible popularity throughout the United States. Lately, wine growers in Apulia have made a much bigger effort to match grape varieties to their most compatible soil type. This helps produce better grapes, higher yields and eventually better wine. In the past, growers have also grafted a large number of vines onto healthy root systems that were already in place, but recently more and more vines are planted with their own roots [source: Franson].