One of the world’s great wine-producing secrets, only 1 percent of wines produced in Switzerland ever make it out of the country. Many of its very palatable wines draw on the influences of France, Germany and Italy which share its borders. The best wines come from the region of The Valais, with delicious white wines made from the Chasselas grape.
The wines of the Crimea region were much prized by Catherine II, and Ukraine was the largest supplier of wines to the USSR. Later, it faced severe challenges from Soviet attempts to reduce alcohol consumption, which led to the destruction of many vineyards. Now, wines from Ukraine are on the up with bright, sweet sparkling wines from Pinot Blanc and Aligote grapes being particularly popular.
Like Greece, Romania has a history of producing wines going back nearly 3,000 years. It may surprise people to know that it remains one of the largest producers of wine in the world, putting out over 500,000 tons a year. The main wine regions are to be found in Cotnari, Tarnave, Murfatlar, and Dealu Mare. Although many of the native varieties of grapes were destroyed by disease, modern production of wines which use more well-known grapes are well worth seeking out.
Greece has, of course, been producing wines for thousands of years, but in more recent times its reputation has sunk low with the incorrect assumption that all roads lead to retsina. However, there is now a deserved resurgence of interest in wine from Greece, and regions like Peloponessos and Thessalia, with their use of native Greek varieties of grape such as Assyrtico (white) and Mavrodafni (red) which are producing wines that are being recognized for their qualities on the world stage.
While most of the country may be too cold to consider for the production of grapes, the regions of Southern Ontario and Southern British Columbia have become notable for their wines. There are of course, the famous “Ice wines” in which Canada leads the world, but increasingly there are also pioneering vineyards in areas such as The Niagra Peninsula releasing excellent crisp and aromatic white wines.
Although Brazil has been producing wines for nearly 130 years, it is in the last 10 years — after the creation of Ibravin, the Brazilian Wine institute — that its wines have become worthy of recognition, with considerable investment being placed in research and development. The main growing region is the Serra Gaucha, where the climate and soil allow for the growing of grapes for both reds like the Cabernet Sauvignon and whites like the Chardonnay.
The UK ranks a lowly 63rd in the list of the world’s wine producers, and you’d imagine its notoriously chilly climate would put a damper on any plans to produce decent wine. However, the current change of temperature in the southern parts of England, along with research showing that the soil conditions and composition are almost identical to the Champagne region of France, means that the recent growth of vineyards growing grapes for sparkling wine is not as foolish as it seems.