The wine culture is deep-rooted in this area, as the cultivation of vines comes from the ancient times. As it happened in other areas, the Iberians were the first who began to cultivate vines in this land for familiar consumption, arriving this tradition til the Romans. At the beginning of the 20th century major wineries existed in Villena where wine was produced and exported from the port of Alicante, but this stage of development was affected by a heavy infestation of phylloxera and by a national economic crisis during the first third of the 20th century.
This brought the disappearance of many of the existing wineries, and also caused a reduction of the cultivated area. Nowadays, Villena has a group of modern wineries that produces excellent wines based on the testing of native grape varieties such as Monastrell and incorporating others like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, both French, who have adapted to the privileged location of Villena, being an area climatologically influenced by the meseta and the Mediterranean, which develops excellent conditions for growing grapes and making wine. The production of white, rosé and red wines are marked by the Mediterranean influence, and each of them is the perfect companion to any kind of meal.
The whites are characterized by a straw yellow color and the taste is fresh and fruity, like the Roses. The Reds are pleasant, meaty and with a good structure, and we can notice their rich balsamic aromas. In Villena is also elaborated the famous “Fondillon”, perhaps the most famous wine from Alicante in history. It is done with Monastrell grape variety, thanks to that we get a thick and sweet flavor wine that reaches about 18 degrees of alcohol, ideally suited to take with desserts and sweets. This wine had a great reputation in the fifteenth century and became a wine with "denominación Real" so it was tasted by Kings and cardinals of the Renaissance and mentioned in some works by authors like Dumas, Salgari or Dostoiesky. According to the chronicler of Louis XIV, the Sun King, when he felt his death was near, his last wish was some biscuits covered with Fondillon.
The great fame and prestige of this drink is reflected in the Maisonnave list of wines of the late nineteenth century, where Fondillon reached 800 francs / hl, ahead of other famous wines such as the 204 francs Xerez or the 153 francs Porto. For a better knowledge of wines produced in Villena, you can visit any of the existing wineries, where you can buy wine, do a tasting or visit the vineyards.