Spanish wines (Spanish: vinos españoles) are wines produced in Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 1.2 million hectares planted, making it the most widely planted wine-producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being Italy and France, followed by the United States. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in some of the Spanish wine regions. Traditional vineyards are common sights in the countryside.

The abundance of native grape varieties fostered an early start to viticulture with evidence of grape pips dating back to the Tertiary period. Archaeologists believe that these grapes were first cultivated sometime between 4000 and 3000 BC, long before the wine-growing culture of the Phoenicians founded the trading post of Cádiz around 1100 BC. Following the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians introduced new advances to the region-including the teachings of the early viticulturist Mago. Carthage would wage a series of wars with the emerging Roman Republic that would lead to the Roman conquest of the Spanish mainland, known as Hispania.

Under Roman rule, Spanish wine was widely exported and traded throughout the Roman empire. The two largest wine producing regions at the time were Terraconensis (modern-day Tarragona) in the north and Baetica (modern-day Andalucia) in the south.

Following the completion of the Spanish Reconquista in 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered the New World under the sponsorship of the Spanish crown. This opened up a new export market as well as new opportunity for wine production. Spanish missionaries and conquistadors brought European grape vines with them as they colonized the new lands.

Today Spain can be traditionally divided into 12 main wine regions. Castilla – La Mancha is the largest wine producing region, producing 13 million hectolitres, a third of Spanish wine output. Catalonia is the second largest producer, producing 5.5 million hectolitres (14% of total), and La Rioja is the third largest, producing almost 5 million hectolitres (13% of total). Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero, which are known for their Tempranillo production; Jumilla, known for its Monastrell production; Jerez de la Frontera, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region.

Italian wine is produced in every region of Italy, home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. Italy is the world’s largest producer of wine, with an area of 702,000 hectares under vineyard cultivation, and contributing a 2013–2017 annual average of 48.3 million hl of wine. In 2018 Italy accounted for 19 % of global production, ahead of France (17 %) and Spain (15 %). Italian wine is both exported around the world and popular domestically among Italians, who consume an average of 42 litres per capita, ranking fifth in world wine consumption.

Etruscans and Greek settlers produced wine in Italy before the Romans planted their own vineyards in the 2nd century BC. The Romans greatly increased Italy’s area under vine using efficient viticultural and winemaking methods, and pioneered large-scale production and storage techniques such as barrel-making and bottling.

Italy’s twenty wine regions correspond to the twenty administrative regions of the country. Understanding the differences between these regions is very helpful in understanding the different types of Italian wine. Wine in Italy tends to reflect the local cuisine. Regional cuisine also influences the wine. The 73 DOCG wines are located in 15 different regions but most of them are concentrated in Piedmont, Lombardia, Veneto and Tuscany.

Other notable wines that have gained attention in recent years in the international markets and among specialists are: Amarone della Valpolicella, Prosecco di Conegliano- Valdobbiadene, Taurasi from Campania, Franciacorta sparkling wines from Lombardy; evergreen wines are Chianti and Soave, while new wines from the Centre and South of Italy are quickly gaining recognition: Verdicchio, Sagrantino, Primitivo, Nero D’Avola among others. The Friuli-Venezia Giulia is world-famous for the quality of her white wines, like Pinot Grigio. Special sweet wines like Passitos and Moscatos, made in different regions, are also famous since old time.

Many international wine guides and wine publications rate the most popular Italian wines. Among the Italian publications, Gambero Rosso is probably the most influential. In particular, the wines that are annually given the highest rating of “three glasses” (Tre Bicchieri) attract much attention.