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One of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, which is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world. Shortly before the turn of the times, the Romans settled on the banks of the Guadiana River and founded the city of Emerita Augusta, today's Mérida. Among them there was a first big bloom in viticulture. In the 13th century, the area was a hotly contested buffer zone between Christian and Moorish Spain. Wine-growing declined under the Moorish influence, but reached a peak in the 17th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was primarily emigrants from Extremadura who conquered Central and South America as conquistadores, above all Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), Francisco Pizarro (1476-1541) and Hernando de Soto (1500-1542) , Most of the captured wealth flowed back home.

Extremadura - pigs in oak forests and vineyards

In the extremely fertile region there is sheep farming, olive growing and viticulture. Many local specialties have the title of Protected Designation of Origin (DO). These are the famous "Jamón Dehesa de Extremadura" (Jamón Ibérico), the ham of the black Iberian pig that lives freely in the oak forests and feeds on acorns, cheeses such as "Ibores" from goat's milk, "Torta del Casar" and "Queso de la Serena ”made from sheep's milk, as well as olive oil and smoked paprika. With approximately one million hectares, the dehesas (cork oak forests) cover a quarter of the total area of the region and supply the bark for the production of cork,

The Extremadura lies between the Portuguese region Alentejo in the west and the Spanish region La Mancha in the East. You must not be with the Portuguese region Estremadura be confused. The name means "country beyond the Duero" or, according to another version, "extremely hard" (just extreme). Closes in the south Andalusia and in the north Castile and Leon on. La Mancha and Extremadura are part of the huge plateau landscape Meseta, The region is divided in half by the Sierra de Guadalupe and Sierra de San Pedro mountain ranges. The Extremadura Alta in the north is largely identical to the province of Cáceres. The southern and somewhat more fertile part of Extremadura Baja around the course of the Guadiana River roughly corresponds to the province of Badajoz. The climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters.

The vineyards cover a total of 87,000 hectares. The main red wine varieties are Tempranillo. Garnacha Tinta. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, the most important types of white wine PardilloCayetana Blanca, Viura ( Macabeo ) and Eva ( Beba ). The DO area classified in 1999 as the first and so far only Ribera del Guadiana covers over 27,000 hectares. It extends largely in the south of the region, in the Extremadura Baja. The regional country wine area is called VT Extremadura. A large part of the wine produced here (not as DO or VT) is used for distillation. Production is by some big ones Winzergenossenschaften (Sociedades Cooperativas), whose members are involved in both wine and olive growing, as well as huge fincas (agricultural goods) with several hundred hectares of land.

Pigs: Image by Anne & Saturnino Miranda from Pixabay
Weingarten: © DO
Ribera del Guadiana

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