Wine production in Malta dates back over two thousand years to the time of the Phoenicians. In the beginning of the 20th century Marsovin and Emmanuel Delicata wineries were established. In the 1970s wine production became more serious and international grape varieties began to be planted. After joining the European Union in 2004 protective levies were lifted, pushing the producers to focus on higher quality wine production, with Marsovin especially focusing on fine DOK wines.
Currently there is a growing demand for Maltese wines and some of the wineries resort to using imported grapes because agricultural areas are severely limited on the islands by the growth of settlements and tourism. There is no official wine route but a wine festival is held in Valletta. In 2005 630 tonnes of wine were produced on the islands.
Today grape varieties grown on the Maltese islands include the two indigenous varieties named Gellewza (red) and Ghirgentina (white), as well as several international varieties. Marsovin's Cassar de Malte is the traditional sparkling wine of Malta, which is made using the same method as champagne "methode traditionelle".
There are five major wine producers on the island: Marsovin, Emmanuel Delicata, Camilleri Wines, Montekristo and Meridiana, all of whom offer some form of wine tasting or cellar tour. Delicata and Marsovin were established in 1907 and 1919 respectively and both are based near Paola. Meridiana was established in 1987. The other two wineries were planted in the 2000s when Maltese viticulture experienced a growth in quality production.
Qormi Wine Festival is an event organized in Qormi Malta in the first week of September (since September 2005) by Kumitat Festi Esterni. This festival is organized in the streets of Qormi, in front of St. George's Parish Church. The two-day free event includes promotional events from all over the island. Five exhibitions, ranging from wine, paintings, photo, floral and another of historical and cultural treasures found in Qormi, are concurrently held during the Qormi Wine Festival.