Bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east, the Calabria region boasts remarkable geographical features, including vast coastlines, highlands and lush mountains. Located at the extreme south of the peninsula and separated from Sicily by the Strait of Messina, Calabria is easily recognizable as the toe of the Italian boot. Although vines were cultivated here as early as the 7th century BC, Calabria is currently among the Italian regions that produce the least wine. Long satisfied with bulk wine production for export to the north, since the 1970s, Calabria has put greater emphasis on commercializing its own wines. Although it lags behind other regions of the Mezzogiorno with respect to capital investment, Calabria has recently begun upgrading its vineyards with encouraging results.
Even though the Calabrian economy relies heavily on agriculture, vineyards take a back seat to other crops such as olives and citrus fruits. The two grape varieties that dominate the region are of Greek origin—Gaglioppo for red wine and Greco for white. Moreover, reds account for the overwhelming majority of Calabrian wines at over 90% of total production.