Abruzzo is a region on the east (Adriatic) coast of central Italy, situated halfway up the ‘boot’. Its immediate neighbors are Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west and Molise to the south-east.
Winemaking traditions in Abruzzo date back to the sixth century B.C. thanks to the Etruscans, who played a major role in introducing viniculture to the area. At that time Abruzzo’s vineyards were generally focused around the Peligna valley in the province of L’Aquila. However, there is evidence that vine growing goes back as far as the fourth century B.C., when a sweet, Moscato-style grape called Apianae was grown. It is also believed that when Hannibal made his epic journey over the Alps, his soldiers were given Abruzzo wine from Teramo (historically known as Pretuzi).
The geographical makeup of Abruzzo is quite remarkable. A rugged, mountainous region with a lengthy coastline, its lush, green landscape is scattered with national parks and forests. Abruzzo is ideally situated between the Adriatic sea to the east, and the Apennines and Maiella mountain ranges to the west – including Gran Sasso, one of Italy’s highest peaks at more than 9500ft (2895m).
It is not surprising that Abruzzo provides a perfect haven for grape growing. Vines flourish thanks to the terroir, the abundance of sunshine, the generous rainfall and a variable climate: warm and dry on the coast and more continental (hot in summer and cold in winter) inland. Furthermore, the high altitudes see dramatic diurnal temperature variations. When combined with cool mountain air currents, they moderate the temperatures in the vineyards situated on the slopes, providing a perfect microclimate for the vines. The most favorable growing conditions are found in the low hills of Teramo, the Colline Teramane.