Five of the world's most unlikely winemakers

Wine is being produced in some of the world's most unlikely places thanks to a combination of innovation, economics and changes in global temperatures. Here are five of the world's most unlikely wine producers:

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark.
Copenhagen, Denmark.

Danish wine sounds like a bit of a joke. Cold winters, variable sunlight, often wet, brief summers - Denmark doesn't sound like a country with a climate to produce wine. But it does.

Global warming and the development of new grape varieties have helped Danish vintners for more than a decade. There are more than 80 vineyards in various locations from rural hamlets outside of Copenhagen to islands in the Baltic Sea. Varietals produced include the red grapes rondo, castel, regent and leon millot while solaris, sauvignon blanc, riesling, and silvaner make up the whites.

Danish wine has benefited from the momentum created by Noma chef Rene Redzepi's reinvention of Nordic cuisine.

Proof of this is the tiny North Sea island of Lilleo, home to a vineyard owned by Noma co-owner Claus Meyer. He produces a white wine blend titled Lilleo vin Arwen, a collaboration between Myer, Redzepi and chef/winemaker Anders Selmer (a former Redzepi protege).

There's only one catch: to try a bottle it's likely you'll have to eat at Copenhagen's Michelin-starred restaurant as production is limited.

Canada

Yellow and green leaves of the vineyards on Okanagan lake near Westbank in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.
Yellow and green leaves of the vineyards on Okanagan lake near Westbank in the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.

Canada's contribution to the world of viticulture is best summed up by one word: ice wine.

"The ice wine category in Canada is continuing to evolve with new and innovative products entering the market each vintage," says Franco Timpano, director of marketing for Inniskillin. A leading producer of ice wine, Inniskillin sells about 5000 nine-litre cases annually in Canada and about the same amount in the United States.

Typically, ice wines are made from riesling and cabernet franc, as well as vidal, a winter-hardy French-American white hybrid grape developed by Jean Louis Vidal in the 1930s.

Reunion

The French island, Reunion.
Photo / Creative Commons
The French island, Reunion. Photo / Creative Commons

The tiny French island of Reunion has two things going for it: altitude and a Gallic winemaking pedigree.

This volcanic island lying in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar, produces wine in the forested mountain town of Cilaos - a cirque located at an altitude of 1200 metres.

The local co-operative, Chai de Cilaos, was founded during the 1990s and its vino is touted as the only French wines produced in the southern hemisphere. Cilaos varieties include malbec, pinot noir, gamay, rose and dry whites (chenin and verdelho).

Brazil

A man juggles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
A man juggles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Beer loving Brazil is rarely thought of as wine producer, which is odd considering its Portuguese heritage.

South American neighbours, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have long produced wine but Brazil is a viticultural minnow. To provide some perspective, in 2010 Brazil exported just US$3.3 million (A$3.63 million) worth of wine, compared with Chile's $1.6 billion.

But with next year's soccer World Cup looming and the Olympics in 2016, the local wine industry hopes to gain a profile like never before.

Brazil produces the full range of red, white, rose, sweet and sparkling wines with the best wine is usually made from French grape varieties.

Moldova

Orheiul Vechi in Moldova. 
Photo / Creative Commons
Orheiul Vechi in Moldova. Photo / Creative Commons

Wine is possibly the only economic bright spot for Europe's poorest nation but Moldova faces a hurdle: Russia.

In September Russia slapped a ban on the import the import of Moldovan wine as well as spirits.

According to Russia's consumer-protection agency, the ban is due to traces of plastic contamination found in several barrels of devin - the Moldovan equivalent of cognac.

The ban is the second in 10 years and Russia remains Moldova's biggest export market at 28 per cent. However, analysts believe the ban is linked to Moscow's anger over Moldova signing a landmark EU trade agreement last month.

But Moldova holds an ace up its sleeve: soil. The nation's grapes are grown in a soil so fertile that it's almost jet black.

Moldova's other viticultural calling card is the state-owned Cricova Winery, which stores an estimated 1.3 million bottles - reputedly one of the largest wine cellars in the world.

- AAP

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