Cirò: Calabria's Ancient Wine from the Toe of Southern Italy's Boot

The region of Calabria is the proverbial toe in the boot shape of Italy with a long history. Its first name was, in fact, Italia most likely derived from the Italic tribes who inhabited the region. They in turn most likely took their name from the word vituli which was the local word for the numerous caves which dot the mountainous area. The Greeks then came to the area bringing the art of winemaking. They called the area Enotria which meant “land where the vine is cultivated high above the earth.” There are records from the 4th century B.C. which indicate a vineyard in this area was worth six times the value of the same size field planted with grains. In fact, there is a group of people living today called the Grecanici who allegedly trace their roots back to Odysseus and the survivors of the Trojan War. The area was named Calabria in the 7th century by the Byzantines.