About Wine Production & Grapes in Ibiza
Much of Ibiza is suitable for vine-growing, although the production is a smaller scale that other Spanish areas. Best known wines are produced in three areas. Ibizan wines are produced in Sant Mateu, Buscatell and Sant Josep. Check out our list of vineyards in Ibiza here...
Ibizan wines comes under the status of Vino de la Tierra, which it was granted to the island in 1996. This is one level below the Denominacion de Origen and is the equivalent of the French Vin de Pays. This means that wines labelled Vino de Tierra are allowed to sate the year of vintage and the grape varieties used in production. Grape varieties grown in Ibiza are as follows:
- Red - moastrell, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah
- White - macabeo, parellada, malvasia, chardonnay and moscatel
Perhaps the best known and most expansive vine growing area is around San Mateo in the western central part of the island. With terracotta clay and a surface of chalk crust along with the subtropical Mediterranean climate makes for excellent growing conditions.
San Mateo also hosts an annual wine fair where people come from across the island to sample the young wines and discuss the varieties and quality of wines.
Sant Agusti is another area where you will find fields full of vines, and they produce a particularly nice red wine. Altogether in Ibiza the vines cover around 32 hectares and between the 4 wineries on the island they produce 1,140,000 hL (hectolitres) of wine!
History of local wine
Dating back to the 7th century B.C. during the Phoenician period, wine production has a long history in Ibiza. Drinking vessels amphorae (two handled Greek style terracotta containers) have been found that were used by the Phoenicians for storing Ibizan wine.
In Punic times the inhabitants of Ibiza had quite a good knowledge of vine-growing and wine-producing techniques, to the extent that, it was the islanders who introduced viniculture to nearby mainland areas. Much of the wine consumed on the eastern mainland of Spain was actually brought over from Ibiza during these times.
The Roman presence on the island led to even more improvements in vine growing and wine production, with the introduction of new growing techniques and improved wine-making systems.
The wine export market expanded in the 19th century as in the second half of the century French vines were plagued by phylloxera, an aphid type pest that feeds on the roots and leaves of the grape vines. France were then forced to import wine and this was a big boost for all Spanish wine production. However phylloxera began to appear on the island in the latter part of the 19th century and the wine making business in the Balearics suffered greatly.
Wine producers struggled on through the 20th century and eventually in the 1980's things started to pick up again when several producers on the island invested in more modern technology to assist with production.
There are several nice vineyards on Ibiza that are worth visiting and several outlets that you can go to to try all the varieties of local wines that are produced.
Location: Ibiza Island