Italian wine has a long and interesting history. In fact, Greek settlers were producing it in the region way before the Romans started planting and harvesting their own vineyards in the second century before Christ. While the Greeks may have started it, the Romans perfected it, organizing large scale productions and developing their own storing techniques.
Indeed, if it were not for the Romans, we would not have wine made in barrels or bottles of the beverage. Even though it's been more two thousand years since the Romans took over wine making, Italy remains one of the world's greatest producers of wine. In fact, Italy was responsible for around 20 percent of the world's production in 2005.
Grapes are grown in almost every part of Italy, and there are more than 1 million vineyards being cultured this year. While each winery produces a different wine, overall Italian wine can be characterized as acidic and dry. They have a subdued flavor and aroma, which makes them better with food than enjoyed alone.
Italian culture is centered around wine. Many Italians drink it with every meal; Almost as many drink it in between meals, too. It is customary for visitors to be offered a glass of wine upon arriving to the host's house.
There are four classes of Italian wine, falling under two different categories. The first category is Table Wine, the other is Quality Wine Produced in a Specific Region (QWPSR). Under table wine, there is Vino de Tavola and Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). The former just means that it's made in Italy, while the latter denotes wine from a specific region within the country.
In the QWPSR category, there are two subcategories. Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) referring to very specific zones in Italy. These are more specific than the aforementioned IGT wines. Who knew there was so much to Italian wine?