The region (ital. Sardegna) with the capital Cagliari is the second largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily. Geologically it is the oldest part of Italy and was once connected to the mainland. It is divided into the four provinces of Sassari in the northwest, Oristano in the west, Cagliari in the south and Nuoro in the east. More than 3,000 years ago, the ancient Sardinians dragged huge stones to their habitats, worked them with primitive tools and layered them on top of each other. These "Nuraghi", scattered all over the island, are the Sardinian landmark and also gave the name to the autochthonous white grape variety Nuragus. As early as the 9th century B.C. the Sardinians were already engaged in viticulture, having learned this art from the Phoenicians.
Due to the eventful history under the influence of the Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Muslims, Pisans and Genoese, a diverse spectrum of viticulture developed here. Especially the Spaniards brought along many grape varieties from the 13th century onwards and this influenced the independence of the Sardinian grape varieties and wine types for centuries. Mainly from grape varieties of Spanish origin, high alcohol content and dessert wines similar to sherry or port were produced in the past. Even today, sweet Liquoroso wines with a high alcohol content still account for a considerable proportion of the wines produced.
Sardinia consists of 85% of mountains and plateaus, and viticulture is mainly in the gently hilly Campidano plain between Cagliari and Oristano and in the Alghero plain. The southern position in the Mediterranean ensures ample sunshine. Especially on the south coast there is also drought, therefore artificial irrigation is forced. However, the temperatures are very different. The cooler north produces mainly fresh, fruity white wines; the warm south and west side offers good conditions for red, white and dessert wines. The permissible yield limits are relatively high compared to other regions.
The vineyards cover about 26,500 hectares of vine area. Two thirds of the vineyards produce red wines and one third white wines. The main white wine varieties are Chardonnay, Malvasia di Sardegna(Malvasia di Lipari), Moscato Bianco(Muscat Blanc), Malvasia di Lipari, Nasco, Nuragus, Nuragus Arrubiu, Nuragus Moscadeddu, Sauvignon(Sauvignon Blanc), Semidano, Torbato, Trebbiano Romagnolo, Trebbiano Toscano and Vermentino. The main red wine varieties are Bovale Grande or Bovale di Spagna or Carignan(Mazuelo), Bovale Sardo or Cagnulari(Graciano), Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cannonau(Garnacha Tinta), Carcajolo Nero(Parraleta), Carmenère, Girò, Merlot, Monica(Monica Nera), Niedda Mannu(Pascale) and Sangiovese.
The vines, especially in the plains, are still cultivated in the traditional Albarello(Gobelet) method. The production is largely dominated by large wine cooperatives (Cantina Sociale). The largest trading house for wine in Sardinia is Sella & Mosca. The 15 IGT areas (or IGP - the land wines) are Barbagia, Colli del Limbara, Isola dei Nuraghi, Marmilla, Nurra, Ogliastra, Parteolla, Planargia, Provincia di Nuoro, Romangia, Sibiola, Tharros, Trexenta, Valle del Tirso and Valli di Porto Pino. The 18 DOC/DOCG zones are