With the announcement last month that two of the major British supermarkets (Tesco and Sainsbury’s) are now stocking Chinese wine, we thought we’d look at some lesser known wine producing countries, and ask, what can we expect of these relatively untapped wines?
For a vine to grow, it must have a good mix of sunshine, warmth, shelter and a bit of rain. In the southern hemisphere, the best vines are on north facing slopes, in the northern hemisphere, they grow best on south facing slopes which get the most sunshine.
China – It should be of no surprise that China is getting in on the wine producing market. It’s a large country that offers enough of the right dry and unspoilt landscape to grow vines. Added to this the fact that much of the region has not been used for agriculture in the past, and you’ve got rich, fertile, unspoilt soil. Indeed, the Yanqi region in north west China is aiming to become an organic wine producing region and in 2016 produced 700 tonnes of wine.
The Middle East – a relatively well known and loved wine is from the Lebanon from the Bekaa Valley where warm sunshine creates generously fruity, ripe wines. But did you know that Israel has also been producing some great ‘kosher’ wines for centuries?
Mexico – Although it’s traditionally a beer and tequila drinking country, Mexico has in fact been been making wines since the 16th Century when wines were brought over from Spain. Reds such as cabernet sauvignon, Shiraz, merlot and Tempranillo tend to do well and whites such as chardonnay, chenin blanc and Syrah winning awards have won awards in the past.
Canada – For some time, wineries in Canada have used the cold winters to their advantage, producing some of the world's best ice wines. Its’ cool climate makes it ideal for producing wines such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Canadian wines tend to be produced in southern Ontario and southern British Columbia (with its own micro-climate, perfect for growing vines!). For some time, wineries have used the cold winters to their advantage, producing some of the world's best ice wines.
- Eastern Europe - Bordering Russia on one side and Turkey on another, Georgia is the cradle of winemaking with archaeological evidence dating back to 6000BC. Saperavi is an old variety that’s indigenous to Georgia. Bulgaria has a wide range of climatic conditions making it a fantastic country for vines. This coupled with significant investment has given Bulgaria the means to produce premium quality styles.
(Sources: watirosecellar.com, winechina.com, wine.com)