Emilia-Romagna's viticultural heritage dates back as far as the seventh century BC, ranking it among the older of Italy's wine regions. Vines were introduced here by the Etruscans and later adopted by the Romans, who used the Via Aemilia road (after which the region is named) to transport wine between its cities. The vine varieties used here for many centuries were of the Vitis labrusca species rather than the Vitis vinifera used around the world today; Emilia-Romagna's famous Lambrusco varieties are derived from the Vitis labrusca species.
Emilia-Romagna's wine production is divided evenly between whites and reds, the dominant vine varieties being Malvasia and Lambrusco (both in their various forms), Trebbiano, Barbera, Bonarda and of course Sangiovese. A large percentage of these grapes are used to produce sparkling wines, either frizzante or spumante, of which the most notable are from the five Lambrusco DOCs: Salamino di Santa Croce, di Sorbara, Grasparossa di Castelvetra, Modena and Reggiano. Despite its wide portfolio of well-known Italian and international varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Blanco and Cabernet Sauvignon are used both in varietalwines and blends), Emilia-Romagna’s uniqueness comes from its rare local DOC wines. Examples of this are red Cagnina di Romagna and white Pagadebit di Romagna.