"Wine is sunlight held together by water"


Puglian Wine

I have to confess that before moving to Puglia I was not very familiar with Puglian wines and so they have been one of the biggest surprises to me. Now I have probably become a bit of a local wine snob and will almost certainly order a Puglian wine over one from any other region! I can also talk about wine for hours (preferably with a refilling glass in hand)!
I have split this section into three - wine varieties , wineries/vineyards and wines - so as to give you a taste of what to look out for in local restaurants or shops.
But first a quick overview. Grapes have been grown and wine has been produced in Puglia for millennia. Indeed when Puglia was part of Greater Greece it was known as "wine country". However, in modern history wine production in Puglia was all about quantity. Producing big volumes of strong wine primarily for selling to other regions in Italy or Central Europe (particularly France and Germany) where it was used as a blending wine to add colour, flavour and probably most importantly alcohol content to their wines. However, since the late 1970s the story has started to change and now more winemakers are focussing more on quality and on local, indigenous grape varieties. This means that when drinking wine in Puglia you will almost certainly be able to try some grape varieties you have never tasted before.
The fact that Puglian wine is still a relative new-comer on the international scene also means that prices are often ridiculously low as they are not artificially inflated by a famous "name" which adds an immediate premium on the price of a bottle irrespective of whether it is any good. Here you can still drink perfectly reasonable table wine served out of a "petrol pump" for less than €2 a litre; a decent bottle of wine will cost around €4-5 in a shop / supermarket; a very good bottle of wine around €6-9 a bottle and a sensational bottle will still probably be under €20. Even in restaurant wine by the bottle will usually be in the €10-20 a bottle price range but most will also sell "house wine" by the carafe (it may be worth asking to try it first though!).
In 2017, Puglia was the largest producing wine region in Italy (although that was partly down to the bad weather in Veneto which usually tops the charts) producing around 9,100,000 hectolitres of wine (approx. 101 million cases) which is around 22% of all the wine produced in Italy.
Even now only around 7% of the harvest is classified as DOC or above (compared with 73% in Veneto and 89% in Piemonte).
If Puglia claimed independence from Italy it would become the 10th largest wine producing country in the world (based on 2017 volumes) just below Chile and within striking distance of South Africa and China, but comfortably above Germany and Portugal.