Five obscure wine producing countries





Who knew wine was produced in these most obscure countries! 
 
Advances in technology combined with climate change have meant that the wine-growing frontiers are continually challenged and many surprising countries and unexpected regions are either jumping on the wine-making bandwagon or, unbeknownst to many wine drinkers, have even been producing wines for centuries.

Wales
It is a general consensus that the Romans introduced the vine to Britain, and 2,000 years later, British wine is experiencing a huge surge in popularity as both national and international wine enthusiasts develop a taste for our local produce. The first welsh commercial vineyard was planted in 1875 near Cardiff and according to the Wine Standards Board; there are currently 22 operational vineyards in Wales. Some vineyards are open to visits from the public, with many offering holiday cottage accommodation and regular tastings, both of which make for a very enjoyable weekend trip away!
 
Sugarloaf Vineyard, Abergavenny
Image by Shakespearemonkey

Interestingly, Wales also produces its own, high-quality malt whisky, available to buy here. Situated in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons, the Penderyn Distillery started up at the turn of the new millennium, and was the first to distil whisky in Wales for 100 years.

Belgium
Producing wine since the 9th Century, by the 14th century each city in Belgium had its own vineyard. The first to cultivate vines were monks, who needed a clean, safe beverage for their celebrations. Now, the expansion of Belgian winegrowing areas is part of a larger trend in cold-climate winemaking. The most popular wine produced is Chardonnay and its typical style is reminiscent of a white Burgundy. Both oaked and unoaked Chardonnays are produced, although the oaked examples have had more success with wine critics.
 
Jancis Robinson, tasting a Belgium wine blind, reported on her website: “I took it for a very sophisticated Puligny-Montrachet. I found it extremely difficult to believe that it was made so far off the beaten track.

Japan

 
Image by Hayato.D

Not just a Sake producing country, Portuguese Jesuit missionaries are believed to have begun producing wine in Japan as far back as the 6th Century. Although Japanese wine has not traditionally been exported, some wines are now receiving international recognition. The predominant grape variety is Koshu, a local pink-skinned varietal grown primarily in the wine region Yamanashi Prefecture. The Koshu grape variety produces clean, delicate, mineral whites which, unsurprisingly, are an ideal match for sushi.
 
 

Romania
One of the world’s largest wine produces, Romania’s viticulture dates back more than 6000 years. Its warm climate and excellent terroir has meant that in recent years foreign investors have been queueing up to take advantage of Romania’s wine-making potential. Production, once generating huge quantities of very cheap wines of a low quality, has scaled down and many local wine producers are forsaking the cheap stuff and instead focusing on producing wine of great quality.
 
Oz Clarke previously told Cellarvie Wines in an exclusive interview that Romania has “amazing vineyards where previously no one was making the best of them”.

Brazil
Brazil’s closeness to the equator has branded most of the country unsuitable for viticulture due to excessive heat and humidity. However, in the southern leg of Brazil, which borders Uruguay and Argentina, vineyards can be found in cooler, higher altitude and hilly locations. The first vines were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese in 1532. High quality wine production began in earnest in 1970, when international wine companies such as Moet & Chandon invested in the Brazilian terroir and brought over experience, knowledge and up-to-date equipment. Today, Brazil’s wine exportation of wine has leaped in the last year - exports to the UK increased by 400% in 2014 compared to 2013 (Decanter) - and Brazil’s wine institute, Ibravin, attributes this sudden surge in popularity to the increased visibility of Brazil after hosting the World Cup.
 
 The wine making region of Rio Grande do Sul
 
 
 Main blog image by Alejandro
 
 
Follow us on twitter @CellarVieWines for regular wine related updates, advice, musings and news.
 
 
 
 
 

Written by: Lucy Prosser

Lucy Prosser 

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