Food & drink
Chin chin! These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine
Top local winery Marsovin is celebrating its 100th anniversary… and their 100th anniversary wine is absolutely outstanding!

Jo Caruana

Only a handful of very special Maltese companies have, so far, reached the incredible landmark of their 100th anniversary. Renowned local winery Marsovin is one of them.

To celebrate, the company has marked the milestone with some truly special activities – including creating a stunning book called A century of wine and releasing a very special vintage for wine lovers to collect (and, of course, drink!).

Here we take a photographic trip down memory lane, choosing some of our favourites from the beautiful Marsovin book to highlight the wonderful history of wine making on the islands.

The first drops

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Anthony Cassar (sir Tonin) was the founder and inspiration behind the beginnings of Marsovin, and he inherited his passion for selling things from his father. He started selling wares from a horse and cart, including cheese, coffee, salted cod and oil. Before long, he was selling wine, and became a wine merchant in his own right. Here he is pictured (second from left) when he purchased the flower mill in Marsa, that allowed for the extension of the existing winery.

Part of Maltese culture

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Here you can see an example of how the winery was part of local life. This picture shows the first time the company took part in the Carnival celebrations. We love the papier mache figures… they’re very reminiscent of the floats we see at carnival time now… just a whole lot smaller!

The next generation

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Up until this point the winery was known as Anthony Cassar and Son, until it was decided to rename the business ‘Marsavin’ (winery in Marsa). But Anthony was told he couldn’t use the word ‘Marsa’ in the name, so they opted for Marsovin instead, marking the next step in the company’s development and branding. Joe Cassar, Anthony’s son, took the helm from him and continued the family’s legacy in the wine business by building it further. Here he is pictured in his office.

Numerous firsts

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Marsovin was home to Malta’s first bottling plant – an initiative set up by then-Marsovin chairman Joe Cassar. At the time, Marsovin employed 17 people in its bottling department. We think it looks pretty high tech for the day!

Tons of grapes

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Of course, there is no good wine without great grapes – and Marsovin has been cultivating vineyards for decades. Here you can see the company’s grape pressing area from the 1950s.

Everyone loves Marsovin

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

From royals to celebrities and every wine lover in-between, Marsovin grew to become a beloved brand in Malta. This photo was taken in 1955 on a visit by Prince Charles to the Marsovin stand at the Trade Fair in Naxxar.

The legacy continues

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Joe passed the business baton to his son Tony, who took over the helm in the ‘70s. Along with his brothers, he focused on turning his father’s dream into a reality: establishing a winery that produced wine good enough for the world stage. Here he is pictured at the Cheval Franc Estate in Wardija. It is one of five Marsovin estates around the islands, the others being the Ghajn Rihana, Marnisi, Ramla Valley and Wardija Valley estates.

Reaching 100 years 

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Along with Tony, it would be the fourth generation of Cassars to help the winery stride towards its 100th anniversary, including Jeremy Cassar – who, today, is the company’s CEO. The winery now produces five classifications of wine, namely IGT Maltese Islands, DOK Malta or Gozo, DOK Superior, Single Vineyard Estate wines (including the recently-launched organic Marnisi wine) and Boutique wines. This photo shows Tony and Jeremy inspecting the grapes at one of the estates.

The 100th anniversary wine

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

Having reached this incredible milestone, Marsovin decided to produce a special wine to mark the moment. “We selected the wines we thought were the best of 2017 to see what blend we could make, and to come out with the right style and the right character for our 100th anniversary wine,” he says.

These incredible photos tell the history of Maltese wine

“We also wanted a wine that would stand the test of time, because we believe that our 100-year story is impressive and that has to carry through. After countless tests and trials, the result is a cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Ġellewża Imqadded. The wine is available in limited edition 75cl bottles, Magnums, Double Magnums, Jeroboams and Melchiors. These large-format bottles and quality of the wine mean that the wine may be stored in cellars for many years to come.”

3rd July 2019


Jo  Caruana
Written by
Jo Caruana
Jo is a magazine editor and actress who is passionate about all things foodie and cultural on her island home. Her favourite pastimes include writing in cafes, performing at the Manoel Theatre, and exploring the countryside with her three beloved dogs.

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