Tunisian wine

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Location of Tunisia.

Tunisian wine has a long history going back to the Phoenicians and Carthage. Rosé wine accounts for a large proportion of the Tunisian production.[1]

History[edit]

An old wine label from a Tunisian rosé wine sold in France.

Wine production in today's Tunisia was probably introduced by the Phoenicians when Carthage was established. The Carthaginian agronomist Mago wrote on viticulture, and his works, which were later translated from Punic to Latin, were quoted by later Roman writers such as Columella.[1]

Wine production continued after the Romans occupied Carthage in 146 BC. After Tunisia's conquest by Arabs in the 8th century AD, wine production was reduced but not eliminated.[2]

Subsequent to the French conquest of Tunisia in 1881, large-scale wine production was introduced into the country, similar to the other North African countries. After Tunisia's independence in 1956, wine production continued but lack of expertise became a problem, and the area under vine slowly decreased.[1]

From the late 1990s, Tunisia has seen foreign investment in its wine industry from several European countries,[1] and production is slowly increasing in the 2000s.

Production[edit]

In 2008, there was 31,000 hectares (77,000 acres) of vineyards in Tunisia,[3] of which just over half was dedicated to wine, and the rest mostly to the production of table grapes. In the early 2000s, the wine production in Tunisia consisted of 60-70 per cent rosé, 25-30 per cent red and under 10 per cent white.[1]

Wine regions[edit]

Most of the Tunisian wine production is located in Cap Bon and the surrounding area.[1] Tunisia has an Appellation Contrôlée (AOC) system consisting of the following seven AOCs:[4]

  • Grand Cru Mornag
  • Mornag
  • Coteau de Tébourba
  • Sidi Salem
  • Kélibia
  • Thibar
  • Côteaux d’Utique

Grape varieties[edit]

Tunisia shares most of its common grape varieties with southern France. Common grape varieties for rosé and red wine include Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah and Merlot, and for white wines Muscat of Alexandria, Chardonnay and Pedro Ximenez.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Jancis Robinson, ed. (2006). "Tunisia". Oxford Companion to Wine (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 714. ISBN 0-19-860990-6. 
  2. ^ Our Guide to Tunisian Red Wine, Tunisia Live 2011-11-04
  3. ^ Stat OIV extracts
  4. ^ Les zônes AOC de Tunisie, GIFruits, accessed 2012-10-28 (French)