As is the case with the many countries that ring the Mediterranean Sea, winemaking initially arrived to Spain with the Phoenicians around 1,000 BCE, but took hold more seriously with the Romans Pliny the Elder, in the 1st century CE made special note of the wines coming from around Tarraco, modern day Tarragona in the Catalunya region While the Visigoths occupied Spain after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was their overthrow by the Moors in the 8th century CE that led to a general decline in wine production that didn’t start to grow again until the Reconquista of Spain in the 12th century The higher alcohol content (as well as the eventual advent of the fortified wines of Sherry fame) allowed the wines to travel well and Spain beginning a tradition of exporting that continues to this day.

Growth in exports raised steadily throughout the following centuries and saw massive expansion during the 17th and 18th centuries to Spain’s colonial holdings.