|Official name||Denominació d'Origen Empordà|
|Type||Denominación de Origen|
|Precipitation (annual average)||600-700 mm|
|Varietals produced||Grenache, Syrah, Carinyena, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay|
|No. of wineries||49|
Until 2006, it was initially known as DO Empordà-Costa Brava to associate the large tourist beach area with the region. The region generally extends from the town of Figueres northwards to the French border and the French wine-making regions of Banyuls and Côtes du Roussillon. To the south, it extends through the Baix Empordà county near the Mediterranean Sea.
Archaeologists have suggested that vines were first introduced to this region by the Phoenicians in the 5th century BC. The ancient Romans and the Benedictine monks later also contributed. The first written documentation dates from 1130 and was a treatise on wine written by Father Pere de Novas in the Monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes.
Throughout the mid 20th century, the wineries were mostly cooperatives focused on cheap, bulk wine production. In the late 1990s and in to the first decade of the 20th century, the focus shifted a great deal towards smaller, craft wineries, which in turn worked to improve the wine quality of the region overall.
The DO is divided into two subzones: the northern Alt Empordà subzone with 35 municipalities, and the southern Baix Empordà subzone with 13 municipalities. In 2012, the enotourism guidebook series, Vinologue published an extensive guide to the region, breaking down all the subzones and profiling the wineries.
The soils are generally dark, with a certain lime content, loose, good drainage and poor in organic matter. There is some granite content near the coast as well as up in the mountainous regions near the French border.
The climate is Mediterranean, with influences from the moisture bearing winds from the south and cold winds from the north, especially the Tramontana, which can sometimes attain speeds of 120 km/h. The wind is quite crucial to the winemaking process as it greatly reduces the occurrence of mildew as well as pests, thus making organic farming an easier endeavor.
The average annual temperature is 16 °C (max 29 °C, min 1.5 °C) and there is abundant rainfall over the course of the year, between 600 and 700 mm/yr, falling mainly in winter and spring.
While historically Empordà was known for producing rosé wines, the majority of their production is red at 60%, white at 19%, and rosé at 17%. The remaining 4% is released as traditional wines including dessert versions of Grenache and Moscatell. A bit more than half of the wines sold in the region are bottled and the remainder are sold as bulk wines. There is a significant amount of Cava produced under the DO Cava in the approved villages.
The following white grapes are permitted: White Grenache, Macabeu, Muscat, Muscat d'Alexandria, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Malvasia, Piquepoul, Sauvignon Blanc, and Xarel·lo. The reds are: Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Syrah, and Hairy Grenache. Additionally, Grey Grenache is also permitted. Other grapes are listed as "experimental" and allowed in small quantities until fully authorized such as Marselan and White Carignan.
Spanish regulations require the use of name Samsó instead of Carinyena on bottle labels do to a supposed confusion with the Aragón region of DO Cariñena although few Carignan grapes are grown there and are called Mazuelo when found. This Samsó sounds similar to the French grape, Cinsault which is a different grape and makes for a great deal of confusion.