History of Wine
The Maltese archipelago is situated in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea and consists of three islands, namely Malta, Gozo and Comino. The main island is Malta with its capital city Valletta where the country’s administration is located.
Gozo is the second largest island of the Maltese archipelago. It is topographically different from Malta and is characterized by its flat topped hills and valleys. This geological environment has rendered Gozo Wines very particular and therefore they have a separate DOK protocol from that of Malta DOK Wines.
The two main Gozitan valleys are the Ramla and Marsalforn Valleys where Ta’ Mena vineyards are located. They pass through the island from the southern part to the northern coast creating a particular micro-climate that offers very well suited climatic and geological conditions for the growing of grapes for high quality wines. Gozo, as a smaller island, is more exposed to cool north-westerly and westerly winds thus having a temperate climate.
The soil element in all Gozo wines manifests itself as a very slight bitterness in the aftertaste, which contributes to character and specificity. In general, a good Gozo wine should show character, robustness as well as balance.
Indeed it is the latter characteristic which can render Gozo wines unique. Moreover, our wines present an island effect characterized by traces of salt which is a bonus as far as flavour enhancement of the wine is concerned.
Wine production in the Maltese Islands precedes the Roman domination of the Mediterranean and can be traced to the Phoenician/Punic period. This is clearly evidenced by recent excavations at Mgarr ix-Xini in Gozo with ancient wine presses dating back to around 1000 BC.
In 1971, Carmena Spiteri, our late mother, set up the Ta’ Mena Estate in the Marsalforn Valley with her husband Frank. She worked hard to purchase and cultivate the land until her pre-mature death in 1986, when the project was partially shelved.
In 2002, the Spiteri Family decided to regenerate and enlarge their estate, thus realizing their late mother’s dream of integrating agriculture with tourism so that one sector sustains the other. Today the estate covers around 25 hectares of land.
In 2007, Ta’ Mena Estate started to produce wine from grapes produced in our own estate. We continually control the process from the vine to the bottle by practicing rigid green pruning and traditional methods in our vineyard and the best wine producing practices.