Did you know the earliest evidence of wine dates back to 6000 BC in Georgia? But some say that it dates back much further than that! The fermented drink is now consumed and enjoyed throughout the world including Verbier, Switzerland. Where is your favourite wine from? Here's some you might not have heard of and might like to try.
Vini Elisabetta Abrami, Franciacorta, Italy ©MDHarding
Blackbook Winery, London
Starting closer to home, have you heard of Blackbook Winery? Located under one of Battersea's historic brick arches. The dynamic family business produces urban wine with grapes collected within two hours of London! You can read more about Blackbook Winery here.
Blackbook Winery, London ©MDHarding
Bonzano Vini, Italy
Bonzano Vini, located in Casale Monferrato (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a family project filled with heart, soul and inspiration from the local area. The concept dates back to 2011 and only two years ago coming to fruition with oenologist - Donato Lanati. Eight wines have been produced so far, with respect for tradition, eco-sustainability and courage to break new boundaries.
Enjoy one of the wine tasting experiences at la Mandoletta estate surrounded by 20 hectares of vineyards, surrounded by rolling hills that rise up from the nearby Po Valley, a countryside that is dotted with woods, villages and farmhouses.
Villa Mandoletta Bonz and Vini ©Bonzano Vini
La Vigna de Leonardo
One of the locations frequented by Leonardo Da Vinci was Casa Degli Atellani a short distance from the Church of Santa Maria Delle Grazie where Leonardo painted The Last Supper. The vineyard was gifted to Leonardo by Ludovico Sforza. In 2015 the plot where Leonardo's vineyard once stood was excavated, Italian expert oenologist Luca Maroni and the University of Agricultural Sciences in Milan have worked to recreate Leonardo's favourite wine, thanks to genetic testing - Malvasia di Candia Aromatica the original grape variety has been re-planted in the original pattern of the vines in the 15th century. Enjoy a glass or two in the cafe or take a bottle of Tasto Atellano home.
Have you heard about the Milan Pass? The entry is included to both Casa Degli Atellani and to the beautiful gardens housing Leonardo's Vineyard. You can read more about Leonardo Da Vinci in Walking In The Footsteps Of Leonardo Da Vinci.
La Vigna de Leonardo ©MDHarding
Switzerland is famous for its chocolate and cheeses, but it may surprise you that the country has a thriving wine industry too. Sadly, most will never get to indulge in a glass of Swiss vintage because thanks to its small production volume and thirsty citizens less than 2% of the country’s wine is ever exported. Most of it goes to Japan! That means that if you want to experience one of Europe’s tastiest wine regions, you’ll pretty much have to go to Verbier and stay there yourself.
Verbier is home to the celebrities including James Blunt and visitors such as Richard Branson who owns The Lodge. It may be the most well-known attraction for tourists travelling to this part of Switzerland, but to locals, Valais is revered as the country’s largest wine region. Lying on the east side of Geneva, this sprawling landscape produces nearly one-third of Switzerland’s wine. The alpine terroir has a hot and sunny climate thanks to the barrier of protection the Alps provide. This microclimate creates rich, complex wines that are difficult to duplicate in other regions.
There are over 50 different varieties of grape grown in the area, with Pinot Noir and Chasselas being the most plentiful. Petite Arvine, a floral, refreshing white wine is the headliner in Valais. Be sure to try Amigne, Humagne Rouge and Cornalin to taste wines that are not widely known outside of the country. Sierre is the capital city of the Valais region and it hosts a fascinating wine museum that is well worth a visit!
California is well known for its wine, it's a long time example of Viticulture in the new world. Today the most popular grape planted in California is Chardonnay with 95,000 planted acres. To capture the sheer scale and diversity of the Californian wine scene, it's home to 138 American Viticultural Areas (AVA’s) and scattered over 800 miles, the Golden State produces 85 per cent of US wine.
Tri-Valley, California - For history and flavour
Located in Tri-Valley, Livermore Valley's first grapes were planted in the 1840s, the region occupies a prominent position in California wine history. Livermore Valley has over 55 wineries with tasting rooms, meaning this is one of the most distinctive wine trail experiences in California! As one of the oldest wine regions in the country, the folks in Livermore Valley are viticultural pioneers, creating high-quality wine, and housing kind-hearted, personal winemakers. Whilst in town visit the beautiful lush grounds of Wente Vineyards, the oldest family-run winery in the U.S, for a tasting and dining experience, or spend the day at one of the Valley’s best boutique wineries such as McGrail Vineyards or Darcie Kent Vineyards for an intimate tasting. Take a look at Visit Tri-Valley’s Wine Trail map and plan out your route - there are even opportunities to make your own wine! www.visittrivalley.com
Tri-Valley Wine Dinner Outdoors ©
Post Ranch Inn - The Wine Lovers Hotel
Voted as Travel + Leisure’s best hotel in California, Post Ranch Inn, is one of the most luxurious places to bed down for the night. Located high atop the cliffs of Big Sur offering breathtaking views the luxury resort is the perfect hideaway for wine aficionados. The restaurant Sierra Mar has floor to ceiling windows offering never-ending coastline views. As the winner of Wine Spectator's prestigious Grand Award and home to over 15,000 bottles and 3,200 selections, you'll be hard pushed to find a better wine cellar. www.postranchinn.com
Sonoma County - Best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Located 45 minutes north of San Francisco and home to more than 425 award-winning wineries ranging from rustic to regal. Sonoma County offers everything from small family-run wineries to internationally heralded wine houses. The region is renowned for its 18 distinctive AVA’s, including Dry Creek and Alexander Valley – home to the towns of Cloverdale and Healdsburg – and the Sonoma Valley, which cradles the towns of Kenwood and Sonoma. The Sip, Cycle and Soar tour with Getaway Adventures offers unparalleled views of regions spectacular vineyards, which begins before sunrise when guests set off for a 60-minute airborne adventure in a hot air balloon. After the flight, there is brunch and sparkling wine provided at Healdsburg SHED. www.sonomacounty.com
Vineyards In Summer, Sonoma County ©
Wine trails Santa Cruz - Best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the US – a mountainous AVA that sits between Monterey Bay and San Francisco – and known for its exceptional wines. The region has over 70 boutique, family-owned wineries, offering a truly unique variety of wine due to the area’s varying climate and topography. For an idyllic countryside wine tasting experience, visitors should head to the Corralitos Wine Trail, home to six independent wineries just 20 minutes south of Santa Cruz. www.santacruz.org
Santa Cruz Winery ©
Sacramento - Best known for Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel
The Sacramento Valley is home to more than 200 wineries set within 13 AVA’s – including the regions of Amador, El Dorado and Yolo. Many of the vineyards here are relatively undiscovered compared to the region’s neighbours, with tastings available for a minimal fee. To experience the wide variety of wines from the region under one roof, the Old Sugar Mill – located 15 minutes from downtown Sacramento – houses 15 unique tasting rooms from local wineries, including Clarksburg Wine Company and Elevation Ten. For a more intimate experience, head to Bogle Vineyards in Clarksburg or The Underground Tasting Room in Old Sacramento. www.visitsacramento.com
Wine Tasting in Amador, by Sacramento ©
Vineyards in The Islands of Tahiti
The Islands of Tahiti is now home to one of the first vineyards in the South Pacific. The world exclusive Vin de Tahiti is produced by Domaine Dominique Auroy, a one of a kind vineyard that grows vines on the Rangiroa atoll, a remote island located in the heart of the vast South Pacific Ocean, more than 3,107 miles (5,000 km) from the closest continent. Originally established in 1992, it wasn’t until 2000 that Dominique Auroy produced the first wine grown on the estate. Due to the high humidity of its climate, the only winery in French Polynesia is located on the Rangiora atoll, thanks to its relatively dry climate. Though the climate on Rangiroa varies widely from the world’s other wine regions, the soil is similar to Burgundy due to minerals naturally secreted by coral reefs. The most widely used wine grapes on Tahiti are Carignan (red) and Muscat Hamburg (white). Both varieties are known for their ability to survive the heat. Oenophiles can visit and experience the seaside vineyard for themselves, with a tour and tasting session. www.tahititourisme.uk/
Rangiroa, French Polynesia ©
Wicked Wine Tours - British Columbia, Canada
Wicked Wine Tours - a premier wine tour company located in the city of Kelowna, Okanagan Valley of BC, Canada. With over 300 wineries it is in the thick of, the cradle of wine production in Canada (Southern Ontario is the other primary region for Wicked Wine Tours). Focused on guest service and tight relationships with industry partners, and ensure they cover every detail! Guests tend to walk away blown away and loving them!
Tours are available for both half a day and full days taking you through the scenic Okanagan Valley with some of the oldest and most established wineries. Soak in the charm with the enhanced tasting experiences.
©Wicked Wine Tours
I hope you have enjoyed reading, inspired to visit and enjoy some of the world's greatest wine locations.
Until next time, Stay safe, happy and healthy x