Puglia (Apulia to many English speakers) is a long, thin Italian wine region in the far south-eastern corner of the 'boot' of Italy. To continue the footwear analogy often used to illustrate Italy’s shape, Puglia runs from the very point of the heel to just below mid-calf height, where the 'spur' of the Gargano Peninsula juts out into the Adriatic Sea. The heel (the Salento Peninsula) occupies the southern half of the region, and is of great significance to Puglia's identity. Not only are there cultural and geographical differences when compared to northern Puglia, but the wines are also different. Where the north is slightly hillier and more connected to the customs and winemaking practices of central Italy, the south is almost entirely flat and retains a strong connection with its Greco-Roman past.
The one factor which unites northern and southern Puglia is the choice of crops grown: olives and grapes, in that order. The region is responsible for almost half of Italy's total olive-oil production and has a long-held reputation as a prolific source of (mostly red) wine. This has had serious economic consequences for Puglia's vinegrowers and for the reputation of the region's wines; as the world began to demand higher-quality wines, the mass-produced blending wines in which Puglia specialized lost their value. Where once it was enough to generate vast lakes of cheap, high-alcohol wine for blending or making vermouth, late 20th-century consumers demanded quality over quantity – especially once they were able to access affordable quality wines from countries such as Australia, Argentina and Chile.