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5 Unexpected Wine Destinations

Date: October 9, 2014 | By: bigfive | Category: Travel Blog

Wine enthusiasts are always delighted to discover new wines in unexpected places. We looked at some locales that you might not expect to find an active wine industry. Where have you found your favorites?

Thailand: Bangkok
Thailand is not usually on the top of wine destination choices, but Thailand is, indeed, growing their own wines and, doing so in different and impressive ways, adding their own ideas such as floating vineyards. GranMonte Vineyard is among the newest and most cutting-edge wine experiences that have emerged in Thailand in the last 12 – 18 months. It was the vision of Visooth Lohitnavy’s passion for wine. In 1999, Visooth saw a 12-hectare plot of land in the Northeast Thailand, once a cornfield and cashew plantation, as the ideal locale for his new enterprise. You can experience this new venture, on our Thailand & Cambodia. 

Israel: Galilee and Golan Mountains
Israel is definitely tops when it comes to astonishing ancient ruins and a wealth of religious sites, but wine? Most of the developments in the wine industry here have evolved over the last two decades. In the 1990s, seven wineries began to change the wine industry here. Two of Israel’s wine regions are the mountainous regions of Galilee and Golan Mountains, while other wines can be found in Samson and Negev. Varieties include classic Bordeaux grapes of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon. You can incorporate vineyard experiences in adventures such as Israel, Turkey & Morocco: Foundations of Faith. This fascinating journey was one of a National Geographic Traveler’s 2012 “50 Tours of a Lifetime.”

India: Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka
India is another stellar destination that is not known as a principal wine producer. But India’s wines are beginning to gain recognition at more international wine competitions. Wine producing regions are developing from Punjab to Tamil Nadu. The established regions are in Maharashtra including Nashik, Sangli, Sholapur, Satara, Ahmednagar and Pune. In the state of Karnataka, you’ll find wine-growing regions in the foothills of the Nandi Hills of Bangalore. In Pune resides the first and infamous winery Chateau Indage, the current bastion of Indian produced wine.  You can add a wine stop in our India – Gujarat & Karnataka journey.

Argentina: Patagonia
Wine, Patagonia… really? Yes, you will find some of the southernmost vineyards on the planet here. And the region is just 400 miles south of Argentina’s most famous vineyards in Mendoza. Patagonia’s dry, breezy climate sees just seven inches of rainfall a year, which means the grapes are free of diseases such as powdery mildew. Because of the extremes in temperatures from day to night, the grapes ripen slowly, preserving sugar-acidity balance. Patagonia has two primary regions for wine growing – Neuquén and Río Negro. In Neuquén, a pioneering winery, Bodega del Fin del Mundo, earns medals for its Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec blends. On the  Patagonian plateau, the Río Negro region is suited to white varieties like Traminer and Riesling, as well as Merlot, Malbec and Pinot Noir. Craft your own Argentina experience and add a Patagonian wine stop with a Custom Argentina Tour.   

China: Shandong, Hebei, Tianjin, Ningxia & Shanxi
You may be surprised to know that China is one of the top 10 wine-producing countries in the world. China’s wine regions spread across the breadth of the country, from the humid, monsoonal east coast areas of Shandong, Hebei and Tianjin, inland to the regions of Ningxia and Shanxi. Today, many international wine companies such as Moet Hennessy and Remy Cointreau are taking strong interest in China. And with the potential size of the Chinese market, it’s no wonder. But it will be some time before you see many Chinese wines on your local shelves. According to one wine writer, “China is close on the heels of Old world and New world wines alike.” Explore China with adventures such as China’s Captivating Visions & Timeless Horizons and discover Chinese wines along the way.

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