Like many Italian wine regions, Lazio's vine heritage is ancient. Its first inhabitants were the Etruscans, though it was the Latins who gave the area its original name Latium.
The Romans brought the region into another era by improving trade and agriculture, although after the collapse of the Roman Empire the land was neglected. Only in the 1870s, when Rome became the capital of Italy, did this wine region flourish once again.
Lazio is located in central Italy, bordering Tuscany to the north, Campania to the south, Abruzzo to the east and Umbria to the northeast. The volcanic hills provide an excellent base for viticulture due to the fertile and porous (well-drained) soil. The grapes are nourished by the lava and tufa soils, which are rich in potassium. This type of soil is particularly suitable for white grapes as it ensures a good balance of acidity. The proximity of the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west is also important; cool sea breezes temper the drier, warmer temperatures of the coast, while the mountainous area is subject to different macroclimates, although it is protected by the Apennines from the cold winds coming from the northeast.
Lazio's wines are mainly white and belong mostly to the Malvasia and Trebbiano family. The main red wine produced is Merlot, but the region's signature red wine is Cesanese. Lazio's vineyards cover 50,000 acres, and about 40% of the wine production is DOC/G and 20% is IGT. The rest is simply bulk wine.