A historic tale of Grapes and Olives

A h i s t o r i c t a l e o f G r a p e s a n d O l i v e s


We don’t blame you for associating Maria Rosa Wine Estate solely to a winery. Indeed, it is specified in its name! However, we keep a thousand of years old tradition alive on our estate by growing olive trees in our vineyards. The tradition of planting olive trees and grapes in the same area was part of an approach to farming – known as “coltura promiscua,” or polyculture, that mixed crops together in fields. The traditional mix of olives and grapes was brought to the New World by Europeans who established the American wine industry in the 19th century.

Still, some might think the combination is unlikely. However, once you learn more about both olives and grapes, you will quickly come to the realisation that this combo is one that makes a lot of sense.

The first question one might ask is therefore, “why are olive trees planted around vineyards?” Our Maltese climate is warm and dry which lends itself very well to the growth of both olives and grapes alike. Olive trees act as protection for grape vines, shielding them against strong winds, and with both being self-pollinators, neither rely on the help of insects or birds to pollinate their flowers.

Wine and olive oil also share similarities in how the olives and grapes are grown, harvested, crushed, bottled and tested for purity and quality. 

Grapes tend to reach maturity before the olives do, generally between the months of August and September; notwithstanding, some varieties reach maturity later such as in October and November. Once the latest batch of grapes has been harvested, the olives are ready for their turn. This means that once the wine pressing work is complete, the olive pressing can begin. Most successful in a warm, dry environment such as the one which enjoy on the Maltese islands, grapes and olives are harvested one right after the other, which helps to keep growers working steadily for long stretches of time.

The combination of the growth of these two fruits also makes business sense. Why you may ask? Well, planting olive trees in vineyards allows wine producers to produce two profitable crops without substantially increasing the amount of land used. 

We invite you to visit Maria Rosa Wine Estate in Attard to see all that we have described in person. You may also like to make an outing out of it. In that case, we invite you to book a wine and olive oil tasting session which will surely make you appreciate the great quality of both the wine and olives we produce.

For inquires, kindly get in touch with our Events Manager on 7947 1144 or send an email on events@briju.com.mt