Viticulture was introduced into Spain by the Phoenicians, developed by the Greeks, and structured by the Romans. Despite being threatened by the barbarian invasions, the Spanish vineyards survived, even under the occupation of the Moors. Of course, the "Reconquista" and the sales outlet provided by the new colonies ensured the renewed expansion of the vineyards. The biggest blows to Spanish viticulture were undoubtedly Phylloxera in the 19th century and the civil war in the 20th century. The Spanish wine industry has only sorted itself out in the last fifty years, due in particular to the return of democracy and the entry of Spain into the European Union.
The Spanish vineyards now cover an area of almost 1.1 million hectares, found in all regions of the country. This therefore makes Spain the largest wine country in the world in terms of surface area, even though this has decreased significantly in recent years. Most of the vineyards enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with a small number, those located in the west of the country, such as Galicia and the area south-west of Seville, subjected to a more oceanic climate,. The best vineyards are located on the plateaux at an altitude of between 500 and 800 metres, where the sun is not as strong and the nights are cooler.
The wine from Spain is protected by around sixty designations of origin (Denominacíon de Origen and Denominacíon de Origen Calificada), themselves broken down into 12 production regions, which, like the vins de pays in France, the wine growers can claim as an origin, if they don't have a “Denominacion de Origen”. The most well-known DOs/DOCs are probably those of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and of course, Jerez (sherry). The Spanish have stuck to their local identity and the grapes grown include Garnacha (Grenache), Tempranillo, Monastrell, Cariñena (Carignan) or Merlot for the red wines and Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, Malvoisie, Palomino and Parellada for the white wines.