Malta (and the island of Gozo) are home to several wineries producing world-class wines that are really only just beginning to gain international acclaim. In this travel guide, we’ll take you through 5 of our favorite Malta wineries that make for ideal day trip visits, perfect for wine lovers, adventurers and history buffs. Plus, you’ll have a chance to explore some of Malta’s best viewpoints and the oldest-known megalithic temples in the world.
The Maltese wine industry, evolving rapidly in recent years, offers a distinctive blend of traditional and innovative winemaking practices. The country of Malta, strategically positioned between Sicily and North Africa in the Mediterranean, is comprised of the main island of Malta and the picturesque island of Gozo. Both Maltese islands are rapidly growing in recognition not just for the wine tourism experiences offered, but also for the quality of the wines being produced and the passion of the winemakers behind them. The warm climate, influenced by both Europe and Africa, along with the calcareous soil rich in calcium carbonate, provides an ideal environment for grape cultivation, producing a variety of grapes that result in delicious wines.
Malta’s winemaking renaissance is deeply rooted in its indigenous grape varieties such as Girgentina and Ġellewża, which, when combined with international favorites like Chardonnay, Vermentino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc, create an impressive range of wines. These include robust reds, vibrant rosés, and crisp whites. Despite its modest size, Malta’s wine industry is characterized by a dedication to quality and innovation, allowing local vintners to gain recognition on a global scale.
Giovanni Lauricella, Managing Partner at Lifeblood Capital, eloquently captures the essence of Malta’s unique wine culture while venturing out during the Medtech Malta conference in October: “Ġellewża and Girgentina? You have not heard these names before? Neither did I. Malta. Do you even know where it is on the map without Googling it? There you have it. Another enigma in the ever expanding world of wine connoisseurship that is worth finding out for yourself by exploring this historically rich, juxtaposed Euro-Arab cultured, island country. This tax haven nation has some families invested into making warm climate juice that can hold up against the marquee wines that we all know from top producers. It is a travel stop worth conquering.”
As Malta continues to carve out its niche in the wine world, the opportunity to explore its offerings are increasingly becoming an enticing prospect for connoisseurs and travelers alike.
In This Guide
- Meridiana Wine Estate
- Emmanuel Delicata Winemaker
- Ta’ Mena Estate
- Marsovin Cellars
- Ta’ Betta Wine Estates
- Visit Ancient Megalithic Temples & the Dingli Cliffs
RECOMMENDED: Want to get the guidance of a local and expert to have an optimal wine experience on Malta? Book a guided wine tour with A4 Malta. This small-group day trip, limited to eight people for a more intimate experience, offers the perfect blend of relaxation and discovery. You’ll be chauffeured to Malta’s iconic sights, including the breathtaking Dingli Cliffs and the historic city of Mdina, where you can explore at your leisure. The highlight is a visit to the Meridiana Wine Estate, where you’ll participate in wine tastings which include four distinct wine varietals, accompanied by a delicious food platter. For added convenience, opt for a hotel pickup service to start your day effortlessly.
Meridiana Wine Estate
Meridiana Wine Estate, ATD 4000, Malta
Our recent visit to Meridiana was fantastic. We were warmly greeted by the Estate Manager, Karl Chetcuti, who explained in detail the special history of this key winery on Malta. Now one of Malta’s main wineries, Meridiana Wine Estate’s journey commenced in 1985, sparked by a discussion between its founder, Mark Miceli-Farrugia, and Bordeaux’s celebrated oenologist Denis Dubourdieu, who was honored as Decanter Magazine’s Man of the Year in 2016. Dubourdieu convinced Mark of Malta’s potential for producing superior wines, leading to the birth of Meridiana in April 1987, guided by the expertise of oenologist Roger Aquilina. With a steadfast commitment to crafting “World-Class Wines of Maltese Character,” Meridiana focuses on creating wines that reflect the unique qualities of Maltese terroir. The estate’s name and sundial logo draw inspiration from Malta’s Southern European position.
Some of the food and wines we tried while visiting Meridiana. Images courtesy Greig Santos-Buch.
The year 1989 marked a turning point for Meridiana with the acquisition of a 19-hectare (47-acre) plot in Ta’ Qali, at the heart of Malta’s agricultural region. This land, reclaimed from what was once a World War II airfield, offers a picturesque setting beneath Mdina, the famed ancient, fortified city in Malta. In 1992, Mark’s collaboration with Marchese Piero Antinori, a scion of the Antinori winemaking dynasty dating back to 1385, helped navigate the initial skepticism of local financial institutions. Antinori’s extensive experience, spanning Italy, Eastern Europe, and the New World, has significantly contributed to Meridiana’s growth.
The vineyard was planted in 1994 and 1995 with varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah, and a charming winery made of local, pale limestone was established in 1996.
Meridiana’s inaugural harvests in 1995 (red wines) and 1996 (white wines) were met with overwhelming demand, selling out swiftly. Despite increasing vine yields annually, the domestic demand for Meridiana’s wines often surpasses supply, selling out before new vintages are released. The estate’s current selection includes ten labels – including four white wines, a rosé, and five reds – with an annual production of approximately 140,000 bottles. While primarily catering to the local market, Meridiana also exports limited quantities to niche markets in Japan, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, and to private clients in Germany, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and the United States.
Winetravelers set on visiting Meridiana for a wine experience can explore the fermentation hall and subterranean cellar, housed in a traditional Maltese farmhouse. The typical tour culminates with a wine tasting session on the estate’s expansive terraces, offering panoramic views of the vineyards.
Newcastle, Raħal Ġdid PLA 2143, Malta
The Delicata family’s dedication to Maltese winemaking is a story of passion, resilience, and a deep-rooted commitment to their craft, spanning across four generations. The story of this winery began over a century ago with Eduardo Delicata, a general practitioner with a fervent passion for winemaking. Since its inception in 1907, Delicata has remained under the meticulous stewardship of the Delicata family, positioning itself as one of Malta’s leading family wineries, racking up over 100 international awards.
Enjoying Delicata Winery’s Ġellewża-based red wine on the Dingli Cliffs. Images courtesy Greig Santos-Buch.
Winemaking in Malta, the smallest wine-producing nation globally, has navigated a complex and evolving path. Delicata Winery has confidently faced these challenges, constantly planning and investing in the future. It’s in the last two decades that Maltese winemaking has experienced a renaissance, and Delicata has been at the vanguard of this transformation.
In recent years, Delicata has embraced a commitment to contemporary winemaking techniques. Their wines embody what today’s wine enthusiasts seek: fruit-forward, fresh, and consistent quality, crafted in accordance with the island’s appellation system established in 2007. Delicata’s portfolio has earned international accolades including prestigious medals from Bordeaux, Burgundy, and London, showcasing their mastery in blending modern technology with their rich winemaking experience.
The winery’s current era is marked by the addition of fourth-generation winemakers – Mario, Michael, and Matthew – who join their father, George Delicata, in steering the winery’s future. Together, they aim to perpetuate the legacy of producing distinguished Maltese heritage wines. Delicata’s success is also grounded in their approach to stakeholder engagement and customer feedback, both locally in Malta and Gozo, and internationally. This has led to continuous improvements in both vineyard and cellar practices.
Delicata Winery in Valletta’s Grand Harbour offers seated wine tasting sessions in their Delicata Wine Tasting Vault. Each session, conducted in English, lasts about 60 to 90 minutes and costs €25.00 per person, including VAT. You’ll be able to taste five wines, accompanied by fresh Maltese bread and olive oil. These events are designed for small groups, with a limit of 18 people per session, and require advance booking with no door sales. Contact [email protected] to arrange your visit.
Ta’ Mena Estate
Rabat Road Xaghra, XRA 9010, Malta
On the island of Gozo, Ta’ Mena Estate is a hidden gem, offering not just wine experiences but also a glimpse into the local food culture. The estate, surrounded by hectares of vineyards, olive groves, and the traditional Maltese food, offers a unique wine tour experience, highlighting their family-run business’s history and traditions. The tour includes a visit to their winery and production facilities, where you can learn about and witness winemaking in action, olive pressing, and the creation of traditional artisanal foods. You’ll have the opportunity to taste various wines from the boutique winery, with the option to purchase them at the onsite store. These tastings are complemented by a delightful Gozitan platter featuring local specialties like sweet sundried tomato paste, olives, Gozo peppered cheeselets, smoked sausages, and seasonal delicacies.
Currently, tours are conducted at the winery located on Industry Street, Xewkija, Gozo, due to ongoing renovations at the Estate on Rabat Road, Marsalforn, Gozo. Advance booking is essential and can be done via email at [email protected]. Regular tours are scheduled for Saturdays and last approximately two hours, with additional mid-week tours available upon request. While individual or smaller groups may be merged with others, the total number of participants per tour is kept to a maximum of 10 for an intimate experience. The winery also accommodates specific dietary requirements or allergies if notified beforehand. The current cost at time of publication for this experience is €30 per person, inclusive of VAT.
Renfrew, Raħal Ġdid, Malta
Established over a century ago by Chevalier Anthony Cassar, Marsovin has evolved from a small wine producer to a renowned name in both local and international wine circles. Today, the winery is managed by the founder’s great-grandson, Jeremy Cassar, ensuring the continuity of family tradition in producing premium wines.
Visitors to Marsovin Cellars can explore the historic wine cellars situated in a building dating back to the Order of the Knights of Saint John, where over 220 oak barrels are used for ageing premium red wines. They also produce fantastic rosé sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method from a cuvée of predominantly indigenous Ġellewża and selected Chardonnay.
The winery owns more than 199 tumuli of land across five private estates in Malta and Gozo, dedicated to cultivating high-quality, single-estate wines. The range includes various wine types such as red, white, rosé, sparkling, and sweet wines, with grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Marsovin is not only celebrated for its wines but also its commitment to organic wine production.
The Marsovin Experience, priced at €60.00 per person, lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes and includes a tasting of 4-6 wines. The tour offers an in-depth look at Maltese winemaking culture and practices. Advanced bookings are necessary, and the winery accommodates visitors from Monday to Friday between 11:00 AM and 14:30 PM.
Ta’ Betta Wine Estates
Taż-Żiri off Triq Blat il-Qamar Girgenti l/o, Is-Siġġiewi, Malta
Ta’ Betta Wine Estates, situated in Siġġiewi, Malta, is a notable name in the Maltese wine industry. Established by Juanito and Astrid Camilleri, the estate’s journey began with a passion for wine, nurtured during their time at the University of Cambridge. This passion materialized into a boutique winery, embracing both the art and science of winemaking.
The estate is spread across four hectares of terraced land, where meticulous care is given to cultivating a variety of grapes. The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Ta’ Betta’s approach to winemaking is guided by the expertise of renowned Sicilian winemaker Vincenzo Melia, ensuring that each wine is a premium product. This approach includes innovative techniques such as using egg-shaped containers for fermenting red grapes and a gentle spa room for treating white grapes, aimed at producing the highest quality Chardonnay.
Each wine at Ta’ Betta is crafted with a distinctive personality, reflected in their unique names, inspired by Knight Grandmasters of the Order of St. John. For instance, the Philippe Villiers blend, named after the French Grandmaster who brought the Order to Malta, is a robust combination of Syrah and Cabernet Franc. The estate also produces an opulent Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend named Antonio Manoel and an oak-fermented Chardonnay named Jean Parisot, among others.
The estate is not generally open to the public, but it offers private tastings and appreciation events by appointment for Ta’ Betta Wine Club members and interested visitors. The tastings take place in a small and exclusive room overlooking the Maltese countryside, providing stunning views and an intimate atmosphere.
These wineries, together with others on the Maltese archipelago, offer a range of wine experiences, from private tastings and vineyard tours to immersive encounters with the local wine and food culture. The Malta Tourism Authority provides additional resources for those interested in exploring the wines of Malta, including more information on vineyard tours and local grape varieties.
Blending Wine Tasting with Historical Tourism on Malta
@winetraveler On our recent trip to #Malta 🇲🇹, we spent a day #hiking the coast to explore the oldest known megalithic temples in the world, and stumbled on the cart tracks ancient people used to bring the massive stones to these structures. #traveltiktok #bucketlist #travel #history #archeology #fyp #xyc #winetravelers #winetraveler ♬ original sound – Winetraveler
Malta is home to some of the world’s most ancient archaeological sites, making it an ideal destination for blending wine tasting with historical tourism. After a day of enjoying the island’s delightful wines, we suggest visiting the renowned megalithic temples of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra, UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On approach to the temples, attempt to remove your eyes from the stunning coastal views for a few minutes and look at the limestone on the ground as you hike closer. If you look closely, you’ll notice tracks cut deeply into the rocks, likely made by ancient carts over 8,000 years ago which were used to drag the massive stones to build the temples (see TikTok video above).
RECOMMENDED: For deeper insight into the remarkable history of these temples and the island, book a prehistoric temples and highlights of the south full day tour with licensed local guides and experts Robert Arrigo & Sons. The tour includes hotel pick up and drop off.
Finish your day by hiking with a couple bottles of wine to the stunning Dingli Cliffs in Malta. Images courtesy Greig Santos-Buch.
After witnessing these truly impressive sites, hike to the Dingli Cliffs. These majestic cliffs offer awe-inspiring views of the Mediterranean, creating the perfect setting to relax and enjoy the sunset. Don’t forget to bring along a couple of bottles of local wine (and glasses), allowing you to enjoy the flavors of the island amidst its stunning natural beauty.
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