Meridiana’s roots date back from 1985 as a result of a conversation between Mark Miceli-Farrugia, the company’s founder, and Bordeaux oenologist Denis Dubourdieu (Decanter Magazine Man of the Year 2016). The latter persuaded Mark that there was potential for high-quality wine growing in Malta. As a result, Meridiana Wine Estate was established in April 1987 under the counsel of oenologist Roger Aquilina. Meridiana’s pioneering mission has been to produce “World-Class Wines of Maltese Character” – internationally acclaimed wines made from wine-grapes grown exclusively on Maltese soil. The name Meridiana and the estate’s sundial insignia have been inspired by Malta’s Southern European location.
In 1989, on the strength of successful experimentation with different grape-varieties and rootstocks, a 19-hectare (47-acre) site was acquired at Ta’ Qali, Malta’s agricultural heartland. Reclaimed from an airfield used during the Second World War, the Estate lies scenically below the ancient, walled-city of Mdina. In 1992, Mark’s financial and technological partnership with Marchese Piero Antinori helped overcome local financial institutions’ reservations to this novel initiative. Marchese Antinori descends from one of the oldest established winemaking families in the world: Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Winemakers Guild of Florence in 1385. Antinori has enriched Meridiana with a wealth of experience acquired in various regions in Italy, Eastern Europe, and the New World.
The Ta’ Qali Wine Estate was planted in 1994 and 1995 with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. A picturesque, purpose-built winery was completed in 1996, constructed from the characteristic, local, chalk-coloured limestone.
The first harvest of a limited quantity of red and white wines took place in 1995 and 1996 respectively, with the first (1996) release of both wines being sold out within weeks. Since then, despite the annual increase in vine yields, domestic demand has been so high that some of Meridiana’s wines are sold out before the following vintages’ releases. The current portfolio includes ten labels – four whites, a rose` and five reds, amounting to a production of around 140,000 bottles of wine annually. Most of the wine produced is sold domestically but Meridiana also reserves limited quantities of its wine for export to select niche markets such as Japan, Russia, Denmark and Belgium, and to private clients in Germany, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States.