The Malvasia vine - A Majorcan grape

Today, red and white Malvasia vine is predominantly grown in Italy, Spain, Portugal or Croatia. Nevertheless, its origin is Greek. The name derived from the Greek town Monemvasia, an important centre of trade in the Byzantine Empire. The Malvasia vine had been grown on Majorca around Banyalbufar already during the time of the Moors. Back then, it was generally difficult to sufficiently cool the wine, resulting in the fact, that much of the wine turned sour and was usually hard to store for a longer time. In comparison to the wines of today, who usually dispose of an alcohol content of around twelve per cent, the wine then only had about seven per cent of alcohol. In contrast, the Malvasia wine even at that time had an alcohol content of about 14 per cent, making it considerably easier to store. On the other hand, its low degree of acidity was regarded delicious. Soon, the sweet Malvasia dessert wine was very popular at the European courts. Yet, in the 19th century, the grape vine louse destroyed almost all European vineyards. Later attempts to revive winegrowing on Majorca failed due to recurring bad harvests. The people of Majorca nearly gave up viticulture and tried to live on tourism. Only in the 1980s did they began to cultivate vine yet again. Since then, the Malvasia vine is an inherent part of Majorcan viticulture.