Wine-growing in this North African country goes back to the Phoenicians. At the beginning of the 1st century, the Romans took over, called the new province Mauritania (and the population Berber) and introduced grape varieties from the Mediterranean countries. At the end of the 7th century, it was conquered by the Arabs. Early Islamisation and the associated ban on alcohol brought viticulture to a complete standstill. From 1912 to 1956 Morocco was a French protectorate. Before the First World War, many French colonists came to the country and founded viticulture. In the middle of large desert areas with a hot and dry climate cultivated vineyards were created. In 1956 Morocco became independent and there was an export ban on wines to France, which caused heavy losses.
An expropriation of the French vineyard owners took place in 1973, but at that time three million hectolitres of wine were still being produced. Until the mid-1980s, the majority of the vineyards were then taken over by the state and wine production was drastically reduced. In 2012, the vineyard area covered 48,000 hectares, of which only 345,000 hectolitres of wine were produced (see also under Wine Production Quantities). Today, by far the largest part of the stock is used for the production of table grapes. The grape varieties in 2010 (statistics Kym Anderson):
Synonyms or names in Morocco
|Doukkali||r||Bezzoul el Aouda, Bezzoul el Hamra||16.557|
|Muscat d'Alexandria||w||Muscat Romain||3.669|
|Mazuelo||r||Carignan, Carignan Noir||1.692|
|Alicante Henri Bouschet||r||Alicante Bouschet||1.098|
|Garnacha tinta||r||Grenache Noir||802|
|Maticha||w||Bou Touggala, Bou Touquala Chetoui||?|
Following the French model, the Appellation d'Origine Garantie (AOG) was introduced in 1956. The most important and best growing area is the Fès-Meknès region in the northern foothills of the Atlas Mountains. Here lie the appellations Sais, Beni Sadden, Beni M'Tir, Guerrouane and Zerkhoun, from which red wines from the Carignan, Cinsaut and Grenache Noir varieties with the names Chantebled and Tarik originate. Another growing area is the coastal plain around the capital Rabat in the regions Chellah, Gharb, Zaer and Zemmour. The Berkane-Oujda area is located in the east on the border with Algeria. South on the coast in the Casablanca region there are the zones Doukkala, Sahel and Zennata (with red wine Ourika).
The largest winery is the state-owned Domaine de Sahari near Meknès in northern Morocco, built in 1993. Here the red wine cuvée "Rouge de Guerrouane" as well as red wines from the varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are produced. Other well-known producers are Celliers de Méknes, Chaudsoleil and Sicomar. A speciality as a soft drink is the sweet AOG dessert wine Vin gris from the Boulaouane site between Casablanca and Marrakech. This rosé is made from the Cinsaut and Carignan Noir (Mazuelo) light-coloured varieties and accounts for around 10% of the wine production. Morocco is also an important supplier of corks.