The origins and provenance of the Cannonau variety are still not known with absolute certainty but it is generally agreed that it was brought from Spain in the 14th century. Cannonau found an ideal habitat on Sardinia and the local growers were so favorable to it that it soon spread to every part of the island. Eventually, it was being grown on about 20 per cent of the island surface planted in vines.
Despite the considerable diffusion of the variety, the amount of Cannonau wine produced is rather limited because of the widespread practice of short-pruning as part of the alberello system of training the vines. Gradually, however, the alberello system is being replaced by the espalier technique, which results in a wine with a lower level of alcohol, one that is perhaps less formidable but is clearly much more drinkable.