La Mancha is the largest delimited wine region not only in Spain but in the whole or Europe. The viticulture area covers a vast expanse of the central Iberian plateau and occupies almost one half of the large Castilla-la-Mancha region. It is bordered by Valencia and Murcia to the east, Extremadura to the west, Andalucia to the south and Madrid to the north-west.
There are more than 190,000 hectare (469,500) of vineyard here. The vines are spread over 182 municipalities and four provinces (Albacete, Cuenca, Ciudad Real and Toledo). By comparison the whole of Australia has just over 146,000 hectares!
Not only one of Spain’s largest wine regions, it is also one of the oldest. Winemaking is thought to have originated here in Roman times, and was certainly widespread during medieval times. Under Moorish rule between the 8th and 15th centuries, it was known as al-mansha which means ‘parched earth’ describing the arid countryside.