While some people like wine more than others, others go out of their way to grow a vineyard in places you couldn’t imagine was possible. Say hello to 10 vineyards that have decided to flourish in odd conditions. By Rashima Nagpal
1. COLOME WINERY SALTA, ARGENTINA
Apart from being the highest winery in the world, Colome Winery is known for having some of the oldest wines in Argentina. When wine enthusiasts do reach the top at 3111 metres, they see the breathtaking landscape that the vineyard is set in. In fact, you might get so hooked to the view that your wine glass will feel neglected. One must brave the rutted roads to reach this place though, and then to have a clear vision of the grapes, climb further to the four vineyards set at different elevations.
2. CHATEAU MUSAR LEBANON
Of all the unusual vineyards on this list, this one may not be known being unfavourable in terms of its climate, but the very fact that any wine can be produced in this war-prone land of Lebanon makes it unusual enough. Musar experiences has four full seasons, from a snowy winter to a hot summer. Along with a wide variety of wines, one may also experience here L’Arack de Musar, Lebanon’s purest aniseed-flavoured spirit.
3. LA GERIA LANZAROTE CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN
Built on the volcanic landscape of the island, you won’t find rows of lush green vines spread across the field at the vineyard in Canary. Instead, the sight would resemble a graveyard (no offense). Land layered with dark grey soil, little rocks arranged in symmetrical curves, green shrubs popped-up here and there over the surface. After the 18th century volcanic eruption, the fields became infertile for wheat, barley or corn. To the farmers’ surprise, the ash left behind proved great for grapes to grow. But the vines here can only be cultivated when grown in 4-feet deep dug-outs and fenced by curves made out of little rocks/bricks.
4. SAHARA VINEYARDS CAIRO, EGYPT
Located outside the ancient city of Luxor, this is one of the vineyards trying to re-establish the country’s wine culture after years of military rule. In a land of daily inconsistent weather, insufficient water and nutrients in the soil, growing vines has only become possible due to irrigation. On your visit here, you’ll discover the charm of a plantation thriving in a dry desert.
5. THE BIG ISLAND VOLCANO WINERY HAWAII
A vineyard thrived in the challenging volcanic soil is now the hub for some of the most unique wines in the world. Tropical fruits like yellow guava and the exotic jaboticaba berry are blended with traditional wine grapes to produce a unique concoction that reflects the playful spirit of the Hawaii. Also, the southernmost in the US, and one of the only three in Hawaii, this unusual vineyard makes for a great visit thanks to the striking backdrop of a volcano.
6. PAHRUMP VALLEY WINERY NEVADA
Only an hour’s drive from the Vegas’ Strip, this one’s situated in the driest desert in North America- Mojave. Planted in the early 1990’s, this Zinfandel vineyard is also Nevada’s oldest commercially produced red grape vineyard. The newer vines here are planted on a drought-resistant root stock and placed on a vertical shoot position (VSP) trellis system.
7. FOGO CAPE VERDE, NORTH AFRICA
Fogo is home to Cape Verde’s tiny wine industry and an active volcano. The vineyards are situated on the black, volcanic soil in the caldera itself. Chã, a village in Fogo’s volcanic crater, is the only area in Cape Verde that is able to grow grapes and produce export-quality wines. The volcanic terrain of Fogo is surprisingly compatible with grapes. Cape Verde is much closer to the equator than most of the world’s key wine regions at 14°N. The positive aspects of growing wine on an active volcano do not always outweigh the negative. Fogo has erupted several times in the last century, most recently in November 2014 when it destroyed the vineyard before it sprang back up again.
8. BODEGAS POMAR VENEZUELA
What makes this vineyard unusual is that it’s one of the few wineries in the region that’s better known for its rum and beers, located 450 km west of Caracas. At 10 degrees North latitude, on a piece of land where either cactus were seen or goats, Bodegas Pomar took to producing wines here, back in the eighties.
9. LERKEKASA VINEYARD NORWAY
A two-hour drive from Oslo, it is the northernmost commercial vineyard in the world, located in Telemark, Norway. Named after the singing larks found in the region, the winery houses wines made out of grapes as well as local fruits. The vineyard makes for a unique sight particularly because of its freezing temperatures that are known to drop as low as -29 degree Celsius in winter.
10. CHARRON VINEYARDS ARIZONA
Literally in a region most suitable for cacti to grow, the Charron Vineyards is said to house the Rincon Red- a blend of Merlot and Chancellor grapes. Located half an hour from Tuscon, the ride to the Charron Vineyards that sit 4,200ft above sea level at the edge of the Santa Rita Mountains ought to be exciting.