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The first Greeks came to Italy as early as 1,000 BC and founded numerous colonies on the island of Sicily, as well as on the Tyrrhenian and Ionian coasts of what are now the two Italian regions of Calabria and Campania. Oinotria was a kingdom in the southern part of Calabria and existed around 600 to 350 BC. It was named after Oenotrus, who according to legend was the youngest of the 50 sons of Lycaon (a son of King Priam of Troy). Oenotria's most important king was Italos, the eponym of Italy, who had a significant influence on the kingdom.

The Etruscan inhabitants living here at that time already cultivated viticulture. The Greeks gave the area around the Gulf of Naples (Campania) the name "Oinotria", which is derived from "oinotron" (vine stake). It means "land of vines grown on stakes", which is how the Greeks described this vine-growing technique that was new to them. According to other sources, Onotria means "wine country", which can be interpreted from "oinos" (wine) and "tria" (belonging to) as "belonging to wine". The Latinised term "Enotria" was later used to refer to the whole of Italy. With the rise and expansion of the Roman Empire, Oinotria fell and became part of the Roman province of Italia. The Romans then developed the area around Pompeii into the centre of the wine trade. See also under Ancient Wines and Drinking Culture.

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Egon Mark

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Egon Mark
Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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