Chapter 5: Spain and Portugal
Luis Miguel Albisu In Spain and Portugal, vineyards are integrated into the rural landscape. They mean more than a productive activity, because for centuries wine has been part of Iberian Peninsula culture and integral to the diet of its habitants. Nevertheless, distinctive features distinguish those two countries with respect to their grapes, to the kinds of wines, and to the types of businesses operating there. Even though they have been following the same policy rules since entering the European Community in 1986, and both have increased the promotion of their wines in the rest of Europe and elsewhere, they face different international market conditions. This chapter examines those similarities and differences in the two countries by first providing a brief historical survey of pertinent developments to 1990, then examining trends during the past decade or so, and finally looking at the prospects for Spain and Portugal. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS UP TO 1990 There is no precise knowledge about when wines were introduced to Spain and Portugal. They might have been brought by the Greeks or the Carthaginians, in the fourth and fifth centuries before Christ. There were already vineyards on the Iberian Peninsula when the Romans arrived, but they spread this crop to many more geographical areas. At that time wine was exported to Rome to pay taxes. Other cultures that invaded the Peninsula also enjoyed the benefits of drinking wine, apart from the Arabs whose culture, which came to Spain in the eighth century, forbade alcohol. As a result many...
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