Vine cultivation began on the islands in around 121 B.C., when Quintus Caecilius Metellus conquered the island of Majorca. In the first century B.C., Pliny wrote about Balearic wines, comparing them with the best in Italy.

During the period of Arab domination, and despite the prohibition of the Koran, vine cultivation continued, and when King Jaume I conquered the island in 1230, the Moor Beni Abet offered him grapes of excellent quality.

After the conquest, the court of first Aragon and then Castile encouraged an expansion in vine cultivation, by a system of plantation licenses. These courts frequently ordered wine.

In 1862, the phylloxera grape vine blight appeared in France, which had to import wines on a massive scale (from Spain and Italy) in order to satisfy internal demand. Vineyards spread quickly across the island between 1865 and 1890, when vine cultivation and wine production in Majorca reached its peak in terms of quantity, and also spread to the island of Menorca.

There was a high level of exports to France. In Binissalem, vine cultivation and wine production is still very important, and has led to major economic development. In 1891, almost 50 million litres left Majorca, mainly for France and the Iberian Peninsula.

Phylloxera, which reached the island in 1891, destroyed Mallorca's vines, and with it the island's main source of wealth. The crisis in wine production was one of the major causes of emigration (1891-1895), especially in areas where cultivation employed most of the inhabitants.

During the first half of the twentieth century, the total vineyard area ranged between 5,000 and 8,500 Ha.

After the Spanish Civil War, there was a slow decline in vine cultivation, due to the need to obtain other agricultural products.

Nevertheless, the last two decades of the twentieth century was a great period for the wine industry on the island, not in terms of quantity, but instead in terms of a very significant improvement in quality.

Woman tasting wine

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