Ultimate Guide to the Calabria Wine Region

The Calabria wine region has been influenced by many different cultures. See our collection of wine pictures

­Calabria is a region that has been influenced by an incredible number of different cultures, probably in part due to its geographic location. It is the southernmost region of the Italian mainland, making up the "toe" of the Italian bo­ot. This toe is really a large peninsula that boasts shoreline on both the Tyrrhenian and Ionian Seas [source: Map of Italy]. It almost touches ­the island of Sicily, missing the connection by a mere 1.9 miles (3 km). The two land masses are currently separated by the Straight of Messina, but recent plans have been drawn up to connect them with a bridge that should be ready for travel in 2012 [source: Nation Master].

Though the Greeks are credited with introducing viticulture to the region of Calabria, the people who called the region their homeland dedicated themselves to mastering wine-making techniques. Whether they innately had a good work ethic or were excited that something could finally grow in the poor soil, no one can say for sure. Either way their hard work paid off. Unfortunately, it was ultimately destroyed when the Romans took over and ravaged the land.

­Calabria uses very little of its land to produce wine and ranks in the bottom half of Italy's regions as far as production is concerned [source: Made in Italy]. Despite having 12 DOC designations, the wine from the region has a reputation for being mediocre. Ciro is the most well known wine from Calab­ria and its history stretches back almost 3,000 years. Archeologists actually found evidence of an ancient "vinoduct" in the region. Just like an aqueduct carried water, a vinoduct carried wine, right into the people's homes [source: Wine Bow].

Calabria is still capable of making a lot of wine. It has the right soil and a variety of different climates capable of accommodating many different types of grapes. Once again, it has the potential to be called the "land of wine." If that's going to happen, more attention will have to be paid to the wine-making process and more growers will have to invest in the land.