What are wine regions?
Wine regions are significant growing regions in the world where vineyards are planted. These regions mostly exist between the 30th and 50th degree of latitude in the Northern and Southern hemispheres because wine grapes mostly grow here. However, wine grapes sometimes grow beyond this range and a small percentage of our wines come from unexpected places.
Here are five of the most popular of regions for our much-loved beverage:
Popular for its mountains and malbec, Mendoza on the edge of the Andes Mountain range is the largest wine region in Argentina. The desert wine region has flourished over the past two decades when its top-quality malbec hit the world stage, earning it the name “Napa Valley of Argentina”. With the famous Andes peaks towering in the background, a trip here is as much about the scenery as it is the vines.
This region hosts a mix of big wineries such as Trapiche, Zuccardi and Lopez, a few family-run vineyards and new wineries showcasing impressive architectural design. Some of the most impressive vineyards here are The Vines of Mendoza and Familia Zuccardi.
Most regions of France focus on the chateau or winemaker but Burgundy, Bourgogne in French, focuses 100% on the soil or “terroir”. Some of the world’s most valuable pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are grown here and, in 2015, its vineyards were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in recognition of its history and diverse terroir.
Located in eastern France above the Saone River, its small vineyard plots are planted close together, ideal for bicycling tourists. One of the most notable vineyards is Clos de Vougeot. While it no longer produces wine, the beautiful castle has come to represent almost a thousand years of Burgundy history.
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
This is the oldest wine, second largest wine region in New Zealand. Located on the east coast of the North Island, it has a dry, warm climate similar to that of Bordeaux in France. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s leading producer of full-bodied red wines. Grapes include merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, as well as rich and complex chardonnays. Famous wine making names here include Mission Estate, Te Mata Estate and Vidal Estate.
La Rioja, Spain
The most famous wine region in Spain, La Rioja is located in the north of the country surrounded by medieval villages, vineyard-covered hills and bodegas. La Rioja is known mainly for red wines and tempranillo recognised as its main grape. Most wines here are blended with smaller amounts of garnache, graciano and mazuelo grape. La Rioja’s Marques de Riscal is one of the world’s most famous winery hotels, designed in flamboyant style by Frank Gehry, and has a restaurant run by Francis Paniego, Spain’s first Michelin-hatted chef, and a top-class spa.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stellenbosch is arguably the most famous wine-producing region in South Africa, located just 40km east of Cape Town. The dramatic mountain range surrounding the area allows for good rainfall and diversity of terroirs, but cabernet sauvignon is the region’s most widely planted grape. The town itself is a university town hosting historic Dutch buildings, art galleries and cafes worth a visit. Delaire Graff Estate is known to have one of the best restaurants and views in the area.