For the casual wine drinker, Sardinia may not ring a bell. This Italian wine region isn't located anywhere on the boot, but on its own little island. Compared to its island big brother Sicily, Sardinia isn't as well known. But if you fancy wine in the least, you should thank your lucky stars for Sardinia.
In 2004, researchers discovered the remains of vines and sediment that they were able to date back more than 3,000 years to 1200 B.C. [source: Wine Country]. It had been widely accepted that early wines and vines were imported from Mesopotamia. Not so, according to gene traces and tests performed on the Sardinian vines. DNA testing proved that the found grapes in Sardinia are the oldest in the world.
This means that, unlike most other Italian regions -- whose vines were imported in by the Greeks or Romans when each area was conquered -- Sardinia led the pack. The oldest wine was, in fact, produced in Sardinia and later transferred out of the region to Mesopotamia. For years and years Mesopotamia stole the spotlight and the credit, but Sardinia is finally getting its due. So if you're picking up a glass of vino, thank the wine gods that the island of Sardinia produced grapevines.
In the next section, which explores the agriculture of Sardinia, discover how the Mediterranean climate of Italy's second-largest island led to the world's oldest grapes.