Making wine is a complex science with many moving parts. What goes into making the best wine in the world? Is it the oak, the soil, the moment that the grapes are plucked from the vine, or the quality of grape harvester parts used? Perhaps it’s more to do with the experience the winery offers to the public? The answer may differ depending on who you ask, but some vineyards stand out from the rest. Here, we delve into five fascinating facts about some of the best wineries from around the world.
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces: Located on a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Lavaux Vineyard Terraces is unique and picturesque, appearing regularly on the “World’s Best Wineries” lists. Firstly, they are located in Lavaux, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2007 in recognition of its “outstanding universal value.” Additionally, they are Switzerland’s largest uninterrupted border-to-border vineyard, with a multitude of terraces spanning 800 hectares (nearly 2,000 acres).
Tuscany’s Antinori nel Chianti Classico uses Gravity Instead of Pumps
Turning our attention to Tuscany, and we’re delighted to introduce you to Antinori nel Chianti Classico, where the Antinori family have been vignerons since 1835. They use a gravity-flow winemaking technique. Instead of wine being moved from one production stage to another with pumps, it flows downwards using gravity. The rationale behind this unique processing technique is that it results in gentler handling of the grapes, reducing the risk of over-extracting or over-oxidizing the wine. The process also prevents the wine from becoming overly tannic.
Antinori nel Chianti Classico is not the only gravity-flow winery in the world (Palmaz Vineyards in Napa Valley and Stratus Vineyards in Niagara are two other well-known examples). However, it is one of the most stunning sites. The building incorporates waves and spirals into the design that echo the gravity-fed process, and the terracotta vaults are reminiscent of the earthy hues of the surrounding soil.
Morocco’s Le Domaine du Val d’Argan uses Camel Power to Plow
As organizations worldwide evolve to become more ecologically friendly, this organic winery in Morocco is making ecology a drawcard. Visitors to the small seaside village come not only for the wine tasting but also for the chance to see Goliath, the camel plowing as close to the foot of the vine as possible. The vineyard focuses on making traditional Rhone-style blends and produces approximately 200,000 bottles a year.
Chateau Montelena: One of the Oldest and Most Beautiful Napa Winery
The French have traditionally been known as the best winemakers in the world. However, at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, the European judges chose Californian wines as the winners in both the chardonnay and red wine category. This blind tasting event put Californian wines on the map, and it was Chateau Montelena’s chardonnay that took out first prize. It is considered one of the most picturesque and must-see wineries in Napa Valley. Established in 1882, Chateau Montelena’s winemakers believe in capturing each unique season rather than recreating a particular flavor each year.
Outstanding in Africa
You may not associate South Africa with wine production, but they have been producing wine since the 1650s. Production is limited, having only recently reached large enough quantities to allow for export. The Huguenots, located in South Africa’s Franschhoek Valley, is considered one of the standout South African wineries and is well worth visiting between safaris.
You may not be able to book a world tour to visit these fantastic wineries at present, but you could spoil yourself with a tasting extravaganza from the comfort of your own home!