Good wine has the ability to transport you to the region it was grown in, and experience the flavours and aromas of its motherland. Grapes can withstand extreme temperatures and conditions, which we will explore by taking a look at some of the most interesting and peculiar wineries from each continent around the globe.
Australia: The spiritual Sevenhill Cellars in the Clare Valley
South Australia is a well-known wine region, with the Clare Valley bringing in thousands of visitors each year to taste and explore the many different wines and wineries that the area has to offer. But, perhaps one of the most peculiar and oldest wineries of the region is the Sevenhill Cellars. Sevenhill was established in 1851 by priests from the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who had fled Austria to escape political and religious persecution. The Jesuits provided sacramental wine for the emerging Catholic communities around Australia, which they still produce today with the addition of an extensive range of highly regarded table wines.
Africa: The desert vines of Morocco, Le Domaine du Val D’Argan
The Domaine du Val D’Argan winery was the first established vineyard in Morocco and is exclusively dedicated to replicating the grape varieties of the Rhone Valley region of Southern France. This vineyard thrives in the desert’s dry heat, leading to the production of richer wines high in tannins. The winery was created by Charles Mélia, who left France for Morocco in the hopes of a better quality of life that wasn’t governed by the strict and rigid nature of the French system. The Val D’Argan is certified organic and uses Arabian dromedary (one hump) camels to plow the vineyards and improve their carbon footprint. Visitors can even ride the camels to experience and explore the vineyard.
Asia: The ‘floating vineyards’ of Thailand’s Siam Winery
Chalerm Yoovidhya founded the Siam Winery in 1986 with the aim being to build a strong wine culture and create a market for wine in Thailand. The vineyard is situated approximately two hours south of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya Delta river. It has an intricate system in which the vines are planted between evenly spaced canals. Founder Chalerm knew that to succeed in the Thai market, he must adapt the taste of wine to appeal to the Thai palate – so he developed ‘SPY Wine Coolers’ – a wine-based sparkling drink that’s sweet and low in alcohol. This is now one of the most popular beverages in Thailand, particularly among women. Tourists can visit both the winery and vineyards, taste a wide array of wines and pick grapes along the canals.
Antarctica: McMurdo Dry Valleys, Pope wines
In Antarctica, the only wine-maker, James Pope, is a man dedicated to yielding successful wines from the world’s coldest continent. Pope’s vineyard, the McMurdo Dry Valleys, is located in Southern Antarctica, home to some of the world’s most freezing and unforgivable weather conditions. But from the climate’s icy temperatures comes the birth of a variety of wine called ‘ice wine’. It’s an extreme variety of dessert wine in which the grapes are harvested and pressed while still frozen. The wine has been known to take on a salty quality due to the soil’s salinity, making it an interesting combination of sweet ’n’ salty.
Europe: Edivo Vina, the underwater winery of Croatia
Located an hour from Croatia’s beautiful city of Dubrovnik and concealed within the depths of the Adriatic Sea sits the bizarre underwater winery, Edivo Vina. The wines are stored in a sunken boat for up to two years, acting as an underwater cellar that improves the wine through the cool temperatures and quiet silence of the ocean. Divers can take a tour of the wreck and grab their bottle of wine, which is tightly bound in a tall jug called an ‘amphora’ – all in all, a very unique and utterly Croatian experience.
North America: The graveyard grapes of Bishop’s Vineyard in California
California is well known as one of the best wine growing regions in the world. But Bishop’s Vineyard has a unique twist that the plethora of other Cali vineyards can’t match … it’s situated on a graveyard. Starting as a modest graveyard decoration and as a cheaper alternative to planting grass, this flourishing vineyard has turned into a thriving winery due to the planting of grapevines. The warm Californian sun and the ‘organic matter’ that nourishes the soil, help the vineyard grow and prosper.
South America: The fishing boat winery of Vena Cava, Mexico
This strange and haunting winery is nestled into the Guadalupe Valley – an area that produces around 90% of Mexico’s wine, and is built inside a fishing boat. Founders Eileen and Phil Gregory aim to incorporate sustainable practises, love and art, into every step of the wine-making process, including the recycled materials of the overturned fishing boats that act as a cool vessel to keep the wine’s temperature regulated in the hot Mexican desert heat.