On the island the viticulture has millenarian origines. On the Nestor's cup, found in Monteviro (Lacco Ameno) appears an inscription praising the local good wine and witnesses that;the Eubei, an ancient greek people colonizing the island, introduced the grape-growingi.
The cultivation technique, is like the greek traditional one, in fact it is different from that one used in the middle of Italy and in the rest of the Campania province.
For long periods the economy of the island was based on the viticulture that influenced the life and the uses of the inhabitants. The cultivations on the isle are extended from the coasts to the steep mountain slopes where the vine is cultivated on proper terraced fields. Since 1500 white wine was exported by sea-way above dry land to the principal Italian and foreign markets until Dalmazia.
Since 1955 the radical change of the economy of the island has weakened and almost cancelled this cultural tradition. From 1929 to 1990 the wine production has fallen from 250.000 to 62.000 hectolitres per year, so the fields under vine cultivation from 2747 hectares became 900 hectares in 1990. Today there is a renewal of this activity because of the prestige and the high quality of Ischia's wine on the market.
Here is a list of the most famous and diffused kind of grapes, all cultivated in the island from about 300 years:
White Grapes Biancolella, Forastera, Arilla, S. Lunardo
Red Grapes Guarnaccia, Pedirosso or "Pere e Palummo"
The Biancolella, Forastera, Piedirosso and Guarnaccia grow from 200 to 600 metres above sea-level; the Arilla and S. Lunardo under 200 metres.
The vines are arranged at a changable height till about two metres in the vineyards of the North-East side of the isle. The prune vine is carried out by hand in the period from January to March. The grape-harvesting is also by hand and is realized from August to November and the production per hectare is from 70 to 90 quintals about per year.