MALVASIA | See the Malvasia group of grape varieties.

From an interview Professor Attilio Scienza gave to the Italian Wine Podcast

Like all Malvasia, the origin of the name comes from a place in Greece, which was discovered by the Venetians during the Fourth Crusade, when the Venetians had offered to transport the Crusaders to the Holy Land and on that occasion—we are more or less in the early 1200s—militarily occupying most of the ports in the Eastern Mediterranean. Certainly, the Venetians had not offered this service free of charge, but they thought that by transporting these troops they could build a network of locations that they could rely on for their trade. One of these places was called “monobasos.” “Monobasos” in Greek, or Monemvasia, means a port with only one entrance, because it had this important characteristic of being a port from which one entered on one side, but had the option of being covered on two sides, depending on the direction of the wind. The Venetians  noticed the quality of the wine that was produced and shipped from that port, so they immediately began to think of a use for this wine. The climate in Europe was very difficult—this was at the beginning of what was called, the small medieval glaciation—and of course the rich markets of the north needed a sweet wine, alcoholic, medicinal, as the Venetians called it, to replace the wines that did not hold until March. They would expire, turning into vinegar, thus Venice took advantage of a great trade opportunity. Venice, however, had to produce an enormous quantity of this wine and so it began to produce it in Crete.

Hence, Crete became an enormous vineyard, but Crete around 1600 was regained by the Turks and Venice had to relinquish it, leaving this island. They lost the great vineyard where Malvasia was produced. But Venice could not give up the Malvasia market and therefore had a whole series of wines produced on the two coasts of the Adriatic fjord (the eastern and western) using an enormous number of vines, these had the characteristics similar to those of the original Malvasia. At that time all these varieties had different names before the Venetians arrived, now they were suddenly all called Malvasia. The reason for this was that the wine gave the vine its name, not the other way around [hence Malvasia is a group of unrelated varieties, see the link above]. And among these Malvasias there is also Malvasia delle Lipari, but there are many others, Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Malvasia di Schierano, Malvasia Istriana, Malvasia Rossa. There was an enormous number of varieties that all suddenly became Malvasia to produce this wine with which Venice fed its great northern European market. The Lipari belongs to a group of lucky varieties because through this rich trade with Northern Europe it was able to maintain its identity and presence in the Mediterranean.