In 1510, Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Aragon, granted the city an exceptional privilege. The privilege of the wine for which the “Junta d’Inhibició del Vi Forasterd’Alacant” (hereinafter JIVFA – Inhibition board for wines from outside of Alicante) was constituted. A document that prohibited the entry of wines from outside the city limits for trade or exit through the port. And a document in which an organization began to be created that, due to its structure and organization, set the precedent for what is now an appellation or designation of origin. Long before they were created at the Paris conference in 1896.
When Ferdinand the Catholic, King of Aragon, granted the city the privilege of wine, the Junta d´Inhibició del Vi Foraster d’Alacant was created.
Alicante thus set the ancient precedents of something that we know and handle today quite freely: food traceability, regulation in pursuit of an origin or quality and product control. This product was not just any product. It was the “wine from Alicante”, a brand that had already been known for centuries in other European countries as a symbol of quality. Alicante and its different versions in other languages and geographies (lekuant, cántara, licank, etc.) were: either a good wine, a color, or a level of quality. And those values had to be protected from falsification or adulteration… those wines had to have a guarantee and that is what began to be structured in 1510, a historical milestone that the current Designation of Origin wants to value.
However, there are many values that this quality symbol treasures: from its territory, its climate, the influence of the sun and the sea in the configuration of its wines, its oenological tradition, the sustainability of its vineyard in the current environment, its main and lost varieties, its cooperage or casks, the towers of the orchards and its cellars, or towns with a vast wine tradition; but its history, for more than 3000 years, is one of the most important and significant elements that must be valued and continued to be passed onto future generations, both winemakers and consumers who want to be up-to-date on wine culture.


Since 1268 throughout the territory of the Crown of Aragon, King James I created “Establiments del vy”(Establishments of wine) by which many cities tried to regulate their production and the trade of their wine. For example, in El Llibre del Mustaçaf de Alicante, the mixtures of wines were regulated in 1370. Thus, the city itself during different reigns developed more measures than others to regulate its production, trade and possible adulteration.

But before 1510, Pedro de Osma demanded that the king take measures against the massive entry of wines into the city. Something was happening to demand more control and specific regulation on this product. And it is that, in addition to economic interests, there was the matter of exportation and quality care. That is why what is exceptional is the creation of this privilege, its ratification.

Jaime I creates establishments of wine by which many cities sought to regulate their production and the trade of their wine.


The creation of this privilege that developed measures and controls through its own structure is exceptional. The same organization would be ratified in later years (we have documentation from 1680, 1699, 1749, 1762 or 1775) when in other localities it barely existed. The level of development found through the memorandums and complementary documentation generated and preserved at this time gives an idea of the development of a structure by and for Alicante wine, of a great modernity.

The Board was established within the City Council itself and it is there where it was developed and supervised with the participation of different agents.

XVIII century
With a highly developed structure, the Board was established within the City Council itself.


It was formed by the regent of the General Council, three municipal juries and 17 councilors or “prominent men” of the city.

Occasionally members of the clergy appear. Among the councilors were also those of lower rank, meaning that there was a certain popular participation. There were no dealers or distributors. Of course, it must be understood that among the main group were some of the main harvesters from the large farms of Horta D’Alacant.

During its operation the number of members varied. The municipal clerk and other positions were added. The model was similar to the one currently constituted in a regulatory council, although inversely in this modern case, since the government is in the hands of the producers themselves and not the administration that protects, but does not intervene.

The election of the memberswas also by vote, through a curious arbitrary system of sacks with beans and proposals that comes from the Middle Ages.

The meetings were convened several times a year, although according to what is recorded, a meeting in November was almost alwaysheld, just as the harvest wasfinishing. And many other meetings were held to deal with lawsuits, incidents, etc. The meetings took place first in the “archiu de la sala nova” and later in the chapter house, which would correspond to the current plenary hall of the town hall.

According to the established model, the wine that left the port of the city for export, had to be only that of the city.


There is a regulation throughout its existence between the production in each campaign (currently the harvest declarations, ANNEX II) and the wine marketed, so that it is truthful and transparent. The control as it is carried out today in the Regulatory Council could not be more similar.

And to control the trade, the board creates a surveillance system from the field to the consumer. Key in the process are the entrance doors to the city that are authentic customs where all the documentation of origin of the wine must be presented and where control charges are established. Likewise, consumption in taverns is monitored so that they are the final destination, but also so that they are not adulterated in them. And in this system, a certain model of tasting is even developed, very primitive, by which the agents “seem” to detect the wine that is not from the city by some traits such as color or aromas. And of course, there is the wine that goes to the port of the city for export, which has to be, according to the established model, only that of the city.


For all this system there is great detail of differentthe positions that existed. For them, specific selection criteria, salaries and even reviews were even established. And it is remarkable the ethical link that is established between some of vital responsibility, in the case of the commissioners, where if fraud is detected on their part, they are subjected to professional ridicule or “disgrace”.
The positions were:


Wine Commissioner

Visiting commissioners

Door worshipers

Wine cellars

Wine custodians

Secretarial Officers

Customs officials

Runner and trumpet player




For many years tensions existed between the interest in increasing trade by some merchants and even by the port itself, and the watchers of the authenticity of the vi de la horta. The situation is clear as the times, liberalism, or the Bourbons themselves coming to power. But the situation extends time. In 1831, the decree is written by which the edict of the harvest is disabled, which supposes the loss of control over the harvest and already, of the structure created from the field for the arrival of the wine to the consumer.


Although today we understand wine with much more technical information on varieties, oenology, tasting, types of wine, etc. The important thing is that the board also, although not with the same current technicality, served to give us information on the oenology and viticulture of the area. Although, of course, those from “outside” are the ones who most talk about the profile of that wine from Alicante (colouring, flaming, strong…).

In basic terms, young wine was differentiated from aged wine, to distinguish what was typical of each harvest from what could be stored. But there are also mentions of white wine, Vermell, malvasías and muscat(Vermell or blanc), raisin wines, romania, vernaccia, bastard, and of course, although at a later time, aloque (clarete) and fondillón.

Register of varieties
Register of varieties: there are also mentions of white wine, Vermell, malvasías and muscat (Vermell or blanc), raisin wines, Romanía, vernaccia, bastardo, and of course, although in later times aloque (claret) and fondillón.


The creation of this model and the awareness that there was a brand and prestige to know, as well as the records that have survived on it both in the municipal archives of Alicante, and in the Crown of Aragon; Together with the mythical references to Alicante wine, it gives us today an exceptional vision of an unparalleled history among European wines. In fact, since today the DO themselves are regulated by the central body itself, and therefore the meaning of this wine, its protection and its distribution are a fact that gives Alicante wine a depth and persistence, at the height of the organoleptic characteristics of its own wines.


The Alicante PDO wine sector, present today in some 10,000 hectares, some 2,000 farmers and nearly 45 wineries, is responsible for telling and protecting this historical heritage (( see list of wineries) and this vineyard from its disappearance. Because without wine, everything would be an empty history and Alicante PDO wine continues today in each vintage and bottle of this unparalleled story.