Malta’s climate is typically Mediterranean and is much influenced by its surrounding sea. The monthly mean air temperature ranges from 9.9°C (during the winter period) to 31.7°C (during the summer period). The highest average daily temperatures are usually recorded in July whereas the lowest are recorded in February. The annual pattern of the rainy winters is followed by the dry, generally rainless summers. The average total rainfall of the Maltese Islands is around 575 mm. The months with the highest precipitation are November and December, amounting to around 36% of the total annual precipitation. The summer period between June and August represents barely 1.8% of the total rainfall. The periods January till May and September till October represent 38.4% and 23.7% of the total precipitation respectively.
The mean annual wind speed is 8.8 knots (nautical mile per hour) or 16.3 km/hr. However, there is considerable variation in the monthly averages. The most common wind direction is north westerly which blows on an average of around 20.7% of the days in a year. Next in frequency are winds blowing from the West. These two main winds are cool and dry and help in keeping summer temperatures in check.
Soil types range from sandy to loam to clay; it is rarely deeper than one meter and is slightly to markedly alkaline. The underlying rock is mostly friable, porous limestone, which the roots can penetrate to access water. The soil in the area of the South of Malta, stretching from Wied Il-Għajn all the way round to Żurrieq, is mainly composed or “Terra Rossa” Soil. This is generally the most fertile soil on the island but has the disadvantage of being quite shallow (30cm to 40 cm). The central part of the island is generally Xerorendzina Soil (known also as “Bajjad” locally), or a mixture of Xerorendzina Soil (Bajjad) and Clay soil (Carbonate Raw Soil). This soil is generally of good depth (50cm to 100cm). However, being calcareous in nature, in certain areas where the “Bajjad” type is predominant, the amount of active lime in this type of soil may have adverse effects on the nutrient uptake of the vines. Notwithstanding the above, today, with the easy availability of irrigation systems, a large number of vineyards have been planted very successfully in the central part of Malta which is dominated by the Xerorendzina (Bajjad) type of soil.
The northern side of Malta is mostly clayey soil (Carbonate Raw Soil). In the past, most vineyards in these areas, especially the traditional bush type non-irrigated vineyards, were planted specifically in this type of soil. The combination of soil, climate and environment (salty due to sea proximity) gives well-structured white wines and intensely coloured (depending on variety) red wines. Properly harvested and processed red wines are characterized by sweet tannins and high alcohol levels of 13% or more.
Vineyards used for production
From the island of Malta only
A smaller number of varieties are allowed to ensure that only the most suitable are used for this category of wine. Some varieties cultivated for DOK Malta are the Girgentina, Chardonnay, Ġellewża, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Franc.
Method of cultivation
Only the methods of cultivation Cordone speronato, Guyot & traditional bush method are allowed for DOK production.
Maximum production allowed per hectare
In order to ensure quality, production for DOK Malta is limited to 91hl/ha for some varieties only 84hl/ha for the rest of the varieties allowed for DOK Malta.
Still wines of red, rosé and white typologies are the most produced as DOK Malta but other wine types such as Sparkling, Semi-sparkling, Liquer, Novello, Passito, Imqadded may also be produced and certified as DOK.
When wines comply, the mentions Riżerva & Superior may be used to on the label.
When applicable, DOK Malta wines may include particular methods of vinification such as Barrel matured, Aged on lees and Late harvest.
Banderols are provided to the wineries and may be attached only on certified wines. Made of special security paper and usually attached to the wine bottles, mostly on the neck of the bottle.LEARN MORE