I·ATE: would you like a glass of wine?

July 15, 2017 11:00 am

Did you know that the pigment pattern of the grape can vary from light greenish yellow to russet, pink, red, reddish violet, or blue-black? Regardless of its colour, the cultivation of vitis vinifera (common grape wine) dates back to 4000 BC or even earlier and began in the Middle East (A. Amerine, 2016). Since it is summer, would you like to join us for a glass of wine or, as the Greeks say, a glass of οίνος, with our I-ATE Food Term of this week?

I-ATE wine banner

Wine making was an important activity in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The Greeks carried on wine trade from the Black Sea to Spain, while the Romans carried grape growing in the valleys of the Rhine and Moselle, the Danube and the regions of Bordeaux, Champagne and Douro. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the wine industry was maintained by the monastic orders, who preserved and developed the wine mastery in Europe (A. Amerine, 2016).

There are many wine-producing regions in Europe and we decided to highlight some of them.

Vineyard in Bordeaux, France


Our first stop is France, which is known for its numerous and vast wine-producing regions. The most significant of them are the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, Loire, Champagne and Alsace.” However, not all of them produce the same types of wines. For example, we can appreciate le vin rouge from Bordeaux or le champagne from the Champagne region, while in Alsace we can enjoy les vins blancs, Pinot or Riesling (A. Amerine, 2016).

Tuscany, Italy


We cannot go to Italy and not have a vino rosso, right? The Piedmont region produces the Barbera d’Alba, Barolo and Barbaresco red wines and the white, sparkling Asti Spumante. If you ever visit the city of Turin, the principal in the Piedmont region, why not have a Vermouth, or il vermut, “the flavoured dessert wine of Italy”? The region of Tuscany is renowned for its Chianti wines (A. Amerine, 2016).  By the way, did you know this expression? Buon vino fa buon sangue (good wine makes good blood).

Douro Valley, Portugal


Port wine, or vinho do Porto, is a fortified wine produced in the Douro Region. No other fortified wine has a similar flavour. The Port wine is a symbol of the city of Porto and “the result of generations of perfection and knowledge,” which is why it is also called vinho fino (fine wine) (Visitar Porto). The fortified wine from the Madeira archipelago is also appreciated worldwide. Finally, you have vinho verde, a Portuguese speciality from the Minho region in the north of the country. Here´s a fun fact: vinho verde “does not mean ‘green wine'” but actually “young wine”, because “the wines are released 3 to 6 months after harvest” (Vinho Verde).

La Rioja, Spain



We end our wine tasting journey by crossing the border into Spain. In the North, we can make a first stop in Galicia to taste Albariño, one of its most famous white wines that gets its name from the Albariño grape variety. If we walk a bit further we can stop in the popular region of La Rioja, where we can enjoy some delicious vino tinto or red wine made from the famous Tempranillo grapes. If we go to the Basque country, we can drink Txakoli, “a citrusy wine with low alcohol” made from Hondarribi Zuri grapes. People say it tastes like salted sandía – and watermelons go along with summer very well. If we walk a bit further we will arrive in Catalonia, where after talking a stroll in Las Ramblas we can sit down and try a glass of Cava, the celebrated vino espumoso (sparkling wine) (Gibson, 2014). Finally, if we decide to head towards the South, we can also enjoy the good Andalusian weather by toasting with a glass of famous Jerez (also known as Sherry in English), produced from several grapes, such as Moscatel or Pedro Ximénez.

We hope you enjoyed this short wine tasting trip. And you, how do you call the different wines in your country, despite the pigment pattern of the grape?

Have a nice weekend and let´s make a toast!

Written by Pedro Ramos. Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).


  • A. Amerine, Maynard (2016) wine, Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: http://bit.ly/2uihCOi (Accessed: 13 July 2017)
  • Gibson, Stacey (2014) A Beginner’s Guide to Spanish Wine. Available at: http://bit.ly/2udHLhE (Accessed: 13 July 2017)
  • Visitar Porto (n.d.) The Porto Wine History “Vinho do Porto”. Available at: http://bit.ly/2t7hSk8 (Accessed: 13 July 2017)
  • Vinho Verde (n.d.) Vinho Verde: 101. Available at: http://bit.ly/2t6WStN (Accessed: 13 July 2017)

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