Wine Regions in Spain
The first recorded evidence of grape growing and wine production dates from the 12th century, when the monks from the Carthusian Monastery of Scala Dei, founded in 1163, introduced the art of viticulture in the area. The prior of Scala Dei ruled as a feudal lord over seven villages in the area, which gave rise to the name Priorat. The monks tended the vineyards for centuries until 1835 when they were expropriated by the state, and distributed to smallholders.
Wine has been produced in the region for thousands of years, but viticulture as we know it probably arrived in the Ribera del Duero region with Benedictine monks from Cluny in the Burgundy region of France in the twelfth century.Ribera del Duerowine making goes back over 2,000 years as evidenced by the 66-meter mosaic of Bacchus, the god of wine that was unearthed relatively recently at Banos de Valdearados.
The harvesting of wine in La Rioja has an ancient lineage with origins dating back to the Phoenicians and the Celtiberians. The earliest written evidence of the existence of the grape in La Rioja dates to 873, in the form of a document from the Public Notary of San Millan dealing with a donation to the San Andres de Trepeana (Treviana) Monastery. As was the case in many Mediterranean lands in mediaeval times, monks were the main practitioners of winemaking in La Rioja and great advocates of its virtues. In the thirteenth century, Gonzalo de Berceo, clergyman of the Suso Monastery in San Millan de la Cogolla (La Rioja) and Spain's earliest known poet, mentions the wine in some of his works.
Jerez has been a center of viniculture since wine-making was introduced to Spain by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC. The practice was carried on by the Romans when they took control of Iberia around 200 BC. The Moors conquered the region in AD 711 and introduced distillation, which led to the development of brandy and fortified wine.