Spain is a mix of bulk wine producers and quality wine exporters. The wine industry in Spain is rapidly changing and offers exciting new developments. Spain has the largest area under vines in the world, but is only the fifth largest wine producer in the world.
Terrain varies across the central plateau with altitudes varying up to 1,0000m surrounded by mountain ranges. There are high levels of sun exposure especially in the summer and at higher altitudes, but the temperature drops significantly at night and in the winter. North of Madrid, there are mountain valleys with lightweight topsoil and in the south, dry desert climates just off the African coastline.
Until about 25 years ago, Spain has transformed from the being the shipper of cheap anonymous, bulk wines. Many were aged too long in wood, overpowering their freshness and fruit character. However, quality has risen to the point that they compete successfully in the international market. Very high quality Spanish wines have recently become "trendy" in some circles.
There are 17 autonomous regions, with 51 denominación de origen (DO) regions producing very distinctive wines depending on wine growing techniques, legislation and finance. Spain can be divided into several large areas, which have common gastronomic, climatic, and cultural heritage that influences wine production. Galacia and the Basque country, Catalonia, and Castilla-León are the most traditional, quality producers in Spain. The central and southern parts of Spain, historically isolated areas, include Castilla-La Mancha and Vinos de Madrid, which have developed into large grape-growing areas with strong continental climates.
Airén is the most abundant white grape varietal in Spain, but is known for it's low quality. Garnacha Blanca is also widespread, especially in Catalonia, making full-bodied white varieties of alcohol content. Tempranillo is the star of Spanish red grapes, with finesse and highly aromatic qualities. Tinta is the most widely grown red grape, particularly in central Spain.
|Official Language(s):||Castilian Spanish (unofficial regional languages include Catalan, Galician, Basque)|
|Geographic Coordinates:||40° 00’ N, 4° 00’ W|
|Population (2006 est.):||40,397,842|
|Per Capita GPD (2005 est.):||$25,500|
|Bordering Countries:||Andorra, France, Gibraltar, Portugal, Morocco (Melilla), Morocco (Ceuta)|
|Total Wine Consumption (2001):||13,827,000 hectoliters|
|Per Capita Wine Consumption (2001):||34.57 liters per capita|
|Total Wine Production (2001):||30,500,000 hectoliters|
|Total Vineyard Acreage (2001):||3,052,000 acres|
|Indigenous Grape Varieties:||Airén, Carnacha Blanca, Albariño, Verdejo, Macabeo, Parellada, Tempranillo, Cencibel, Tinta|
|Cheers in Spanish:||Salud!|