The history of wine in Spain is so old that no one really knows who brought the first vines to the region. When the Phoenicians arrived some 3,000 years ago and founded the present-day cities of Cádiz and Jerez, viticulture was well established and Spanish wines were widely marketed throughout the Mediterranean and North Africa.

You could say that Spain is a wine miracle. After years spent away from the world of fine wines, she is today a major player. Investment and ambition in the vineyards and cellars results in increasingly rich and complex (often very alcoholic) and spicy reds which are increasingly appreciated by international consumers.

Proud to have more land devoted to vines than any other country, Spain is only beginning to capitalize on this resource consistently. Spain is an anarchic tangle of regions and sub-regions, just as its landscape is an anarchic tangle of incredibly raw landscapes. A glance at a map reveals the climatic diversity among Spain's many wine regions, from the soggy green vineyards of Galicia on the northern Atlantic coast to the toasty vineyards of southeastern the Mediterranean. Spain's saving grace, in terms of viticulture, is the average altitude of its vineyards, above 600 meters. A large part of Spanish vineyards therefore manage to produce grapes of good color and acidity simply because night temperatures are relatively low and the grapes do not ripen until the end of a sufficiently long growing period.

But there is real treasure to be found for those willing to dig and, now that a class of connoisseurs has developed in Spain, all manner of ambitious investors have done their part to change the image of Spanish wine . Today, a new generation of winemakers has quietly begun making spectacular wines and experimenting with grape varieties that would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Wine remains an important commodity and is an integral part of Spanish culture.

Recently Viewed