Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and Austria to the east and north. It has an area of just over 160 square kilometres (62 square miles) and an estimated population of 37,000. Divided into 11 municipalities, its capital is Vaduz and its largest city is Triesenberg.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a producer of wine. The country has a climate ideally suited for the cultivation of wine with mountain slopes facing southwest, calcareous soils and an average of 1,500 hours of sunshine a year. The hot dry wind during the summer months, known as the foehn aids cultivators by having a sweetening effect.
There are over 100 winegrowers in Liechtenstein which produce red and white wines in which despite the small size of the country can produce a significant variety. Liechtenstein is part of the European wine quality system and the international AOC classification.
Viniculture in Liechtenstein dates back to just over two thousand years. Growing began before Christ by a Celtic tribe that had settled in the area, and during Roman times production increased. After the Romans had been driven out of the area by the Alamanni, production virtually ceased, until the growth of Christianity in the 4th century, when monks encouraged the establishment of new vineyards. During the rule of Charlemagne (742–814), many of the municipalities and monasteries possessed their own vineyards.
This time the vineyards surrounding Gutenberg Castle yielded some three thousand gallons of wine a year. Charlemagne did much to alter the method of production, strongly encouraging better hygiene and pressing of the grapes by making it practice for the wine pressers to wash their feet although he was met with considerable opposition.
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