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The climate in both Andalucía and on the Canary Islands is clearly influenced by water. The eastern and southern coast of Andalucía is typically Mediterranean and the western coast and the Canary Islands have both maritime and almost sub-tropical climates.

 

It is perhaps surprising in these areas, which have long had contact with piracy and conquest by sea, that there are clear indications of the early contacts with the ancient civilisations of the Greeks, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians. The long-term rule by the invading Moors has also left its marks. With their extensive contacts with the outside world, both Andalucía and the Canary Islands are very export- orientated. Indeed they are dependant on exports. Because much of the diet of Andalucía is fish, there was a demand long ago for drier and lighter Spanish wines in addition to the famous sweet wines of Málaga, Huelva, Montila-Moriles, and Jerez de la Frontera, resulting in Manzanilla de Sanlcecar de Barrameda and Fino de Jerez for example. Almost everything grows on the Canary Islands and there is an abundance of both meat and fish. The demand for different Spanish wines was prompted in part by the flourishing tourist industry resulting in various types of white, rosé, and red from very dry to sweet as honey. With its mild climate and volcanic soil, the Canaries can readily fulfil these.

 

andalucia regionsAndalucía wine

Many books and websites claim that wine-growing and making in the Iberian Peninsula started in Andalucía but this is entirely wrong and does a disservice to the early Celtic people of northern Spain, who made wine long before the visitors from over the sea. But Andalucía did have an established and properly organised wine industry after the arrival of the Phoenicians and Greeks, who established vineyards close by each of their anchorages.

This contrasts with the Celts who at first gathered the wild berries in the woods and later grew vines haphazardly around their villages. The vineyards of the Phoenicians and later Carthaginians and Greeks were well maintained. This also happened with the founding of the town of Cádiz in about 1,100 BC. The Phoenicians quickly discovered that the climate and soil were ideally suited for wine-growing and they planted further vineyards further inland, in the neighbourhood of present-day Montilla, Huelva, and Málaga.

The vineyards around Cádiz probably produce one of the oldest-established quality wines of the world, namely sheriy. The local Spanish wine growers were more or less left alone to continue their occupation even during the occupation by the Moors. After the Reconquista the harbour of Cádiz became one of Spain’s most important trading ports. The Spanish wine trade here flourished more than anywhere else in the entire world. The relative riches of the region were further reinforced during the twentieth century by the tourist industry. This Spanish wine is made in the west of Andalucía but chiefly drunk by the many tourists on the eastern coast.

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