In 1907 Eduardo Delicata started off his wine business, as did many of the worlds leading family winemaking company’s, in a small, private way, by just making and selling his popular wine to friends and family. Grapes were purchased from farmers and the pressing was carried out with the most rudimentary of crushing machines. The finished wine was then sold from a horse drawn cart around the villages and towns of Malta.
By 1936 the reputation and demand for his wines had grown significally and a thriving wine business was placed in the hands of his son, Emmanuel Delicata, at the tender age of 19, following the sudden death of his father. The company employed 10 people at that time and the operation consisted of both making the wine and selling it directly from wooden barrels.
Wine shops in the towns and villages were supplied with the barrels, whereby they, then sold the wine on to their customers by either a pinta (pint) or a terz (a third of a pint). One pint cost approximately one half penny. The bottling of wine in Malta only began after World War II, before that wine was sold ‘loose’ or in bulk. Even housewives would go to the wine shop with a jug or a bottle and buy the family’s wine from there.
After the Second World War Emmanuel Delicata took the wine making business to a new level by introducing a more commercial approach and in the mid 1950’s Lachryma Vitis, Malta’s oldest wine brand, was launched onto the Maltese market.
By the mid 1960’s the wine company moved to its present site where it invested in a new purpose built modern winery. In the late 1960’s the present day winemaker Managing Director V. George Delicata (Emmanuel’s son) joined the company and over the next 20 years refurbished the winery and introduced modern winemaking technology which included stainless steel temperature controlled fermentation, micro filtration and French oak barrel maturation. The islands viticulture was next to be developed, and the government’s plan to achieve this was based on the Delicata Vines for Wines project set up in the early 1990’s. The Delicata vines for wines project was headed by a team of viticultural experts, who together with the farming community, planted hundreds of vineyards throughout Malta and Gozo using modern planting methods and drip irrigation. The varieties planted included the two indigenous grapes but also introduced many more international varieties to the islands. In 2007 Malta’s QWPSR system was introduced and Delicatas first ever D.O.K. and I.G.T. wines were launched in December 2007.