The region of Murcia in Spain is famous for its old world character, rich history and gorgeous weather. Connoisseurs know that Murcia is also synonymous with wine. Wine lovers who want a Spanish holiday with class and good taste, consider Murcia's history.
Murcia's wine is produced in the region of Jumilla. It covers the northern part of Murcia and the south-east portion of Albacete. It boasts 33,000 hectares of wine-producing grapes. Its vineyards turn out 220,000 hl of wine every year. In fact, the region actually comprises five separate denominations of origin. Each DO is closely regulated by the local government. It helps to ensure that only the best grapes are grown. In the case of organic wines (which are increasingly in demand), it ensures that growing regulations are followed. This provides quality assurance to consumers around the world. It is undoubtedly one of the reasons that Jumilla wines have been critically acclaimed in the last decade.
Superb cuisine and exquisite wine is as much a part of Spanish culture as language and heritage. This tapestry of culture is what fuels the wine industry in Spain, and Jumilla, Murcia in particular. Jumilla wines are acclaimed the world over. Thousands of tourists flock to the region annually to get a firsthand look at the production of Jumilla wine.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the production of Spanish wines dates back to 4000 B.C. An abundance of native species of grapes likely fueled interest in the production and consumption of wine in the region. Wine production in Spain pre-dates the establishment of Cadiz, the oldest port in Spain, by a few hundred years. However, it was upon its founding that Spanish wines began to be traded around Europe. Later, Jumilla's wine industry took new shape under the settlement of the Romans. Although Roman rule has long since disappeared, its culture still influences the production of Jumilla wine today.
The Reconquest of Spain, which began in 722 A.D., saw locals reclaiming the wine industry. Wine was a key component in the rituals of the various orders of monks and friars of the time. After ousting previous conquerors, they began to take back wine production. Wine-making flourished for several centuries. Wines from Jumilla became distinguished on the world market, thanks in large part to those early monks.
Notwithstanding, the region has seem some challenging times. Phylloxera has plagued the Spanish wine-making industry at various points over the last several centuries. One of the most recent phylloxera attacks in 1989 led to the replanting of thousands of hectares of vineyards in Jumilla. The new vineyards produced a lighter variety of wine than had previously come from the area. Naturally, the phylloxera attack was financially devastating to the economy. However, the newly produced wines fueled new and greater public interest in Jumilla wines.
The Jumilla Wine Route is famous with locals and visitors alike. Travelers can book a wine tour through their travel agent, online or in person in Murcia. A wide range of accommodations is available in the area to suit any budget. Rental villas, condos and hotels in variety of price ranges are abundant. There are also a number of hostels in Murcia. Several all-inclusive resorts in the area, including the world-class La Manga Club, attract many visitors each year. Other resorts are currently under development. When finished, Spain tourism officials predict a healthy boost to the local economy.
Wine lovers may find themselves enthralled and dazzled by the exotic and fruity wines of Murcia. In fact, connoisseurs find themselves returning again and again to the lure of the vineyards of Jumilla. It may be the wine-lover's ultimate Spanish holiday.