Wines from Around the World…

Wines from Around the World…

Image: Brandy Turner-Unsplash

Did you know how many types of wine are out there? Wine is a worldwide beverage, known to all. Everyone has a personal favourite wine type, depending on what sort of taste they prefer. However, there are so many different types of wines, that most people don’t know every single wine available. 

Each wine has a different name and taste, depending on the types of grapes it is made from, and the location it was produced. The colour of a wine is mostly figured by how long the grape skins stay in the grape juice after it has been crushed. The longer the skins are left in with the juice, the darker the colour. For example rose wines are made by mixing red and white wines, producing a rose-like colour. White wines are not mixed with the grape skins at all, and red wines are mixed for a longer period of time. 

Also, there are certain wines that go better with certain foods. White wines go well with foods such as seafood, Chinese food, pork, chicken and turkey. Red wines generally go better with red meats. While this is not always the case, it is often the case. 

A few of the available white wines are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. These are all wines that are actually produced in California. These white wines range from as dry as can be to very sweet. Also, in order to save their taste and freshness, they are generally not aged in wooden barrels. 

Then there are the red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot are a few of the red wines. These are usually drier and more acidic than white wines. They are most often aged in wood barrels to give a deeper flavour but can be produced with a fruitier flavour.

These are just a very few of the possible wine options available. No matter what your taste buds prefer, there is some wine out there that will satisfy your personal tastes. Whether it be from the United States or another country halfway around the world.

While not first on the mind when considering wines, Australian wine has been around for ages.  In fact, the wine was first produced for domestic consumption in Australia in the early 1800s and by 1822 it was being exported to other countries.  Not only did the country produce wine, but it also produced a very high-quality wine. In French competitions in the late 1800’s it scored very well with wine judging experts.  Although this was upsetting to those who thought only the French could produce quality wine, it demonstrated the outstanding wine being produced in this country.  This good run came to a halt in the late 1800s when phylloxera, a grapevine pest, devastated the grape production.

Once recovered from the devastation of the phylloxera epidemic, Australia returned to its high-quality production of wine in the late 1970s. Not only is the country a large exporter to the United States and Europe, but it is also the sixth-largest wine producer in the world.  In fact, wine production is considered to be a significant contributor to the economic health of the country. It may be surprising to some, given that Australia is a large player in the wine industry, that the country has no native species of grapes. All grapevine families have been brought in from other locations. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling are among some of the major varieties of grapes grown in Australia and used in wine production. In all, there are well over a hundred types of grapes used by commercial winemaking companies there.

Many well-known brands such as Penfolds Grange, an award-winning wine, come from Australia. Even though most people do not think of Australia when they think of wine, do not shortchange yourself by overlooking it. Several choices are available in wine shops and restaurants so there is really no reason not to give it a try. Just add a note to try a few varieties of Australian wine to your things to experience list and you’ll have a new favourite or two before you know it.

Italian wine is produced by four regions of Italy. Italian wine is one of the best types of wine available.  Perhaps that explains that fact that Italy is one of the largest, if not the largest, exporters of wine in the world. The country boasts the greatest varieties of wine types through their use of both native and international vine types. Wine is produced in four regions throughout the country including the Northwest, Northeast, Central and South and Islands regions.  Each region does things a bit differently from the other which adds to the great variety of wines available from Italy as a whole.

The Northwest region of Italy is the most affluent of all the regions. It includes Aosta Valley, Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna. The Northeast region makes more modern types of wines.  Production of wine in this area started in the 1970s and two of the country’s best wine schools are located there.  Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige and Friuli-Venezia Giulia make up this newer wine region.  In the Central region, the conditions naturally needed for fine wine exist. This area often has to balance modern methods with its traditional values. Included in this region are Tuscany, Umbria, Marches, Latium, Abruzzi and Molise. The final region, South and Islands, contains Campania, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily and Sardinia. Forty per cent of the wine is produced in this region. It is no wonder that the ancient Greeks nicknamed the land of wine.

Whether you are an experienced wine drinker or just getting started, wine from Italy is worth trying. It is traditional for wine to be included with meals in Italian homes and there are many varieties available to complement each Italian dish. A great way to try these wines is when enjoying a meal at your favourite Italian restaurant. Most restaurants offer wine by the glass so that you can try several types and determine your favourite. This also allows each guest to try a different type and avoid the need to agree on ordering a particular bottle to share. The main thing is to get started and enjoy your Italian wine adventure.

The California wine country offers an outstanding selection of wineries. Imagine travelling through California wine country and choosing from numerous top-notch wine regions. Maybe you decide to try Mendocino, Monterey or Sonoma Valley as your wine country destination. Napa Valley is also a popular California wine destination with a number of wineries located in this area. With so many options available, it would be wise to do your homework and research several possible places to learn about wine and do some tasting. One of the more popular wineries in Napa is the V. Sattui Winery. This busy place gets as many as two thousand visitors per weekend. They have good selections of wine and also have a picnic area for lunch and enjoying the wine you’ve purchased in their winery. Because they have so many visitors, the feel does tend to be somewhat commercial.

If busy is not what you have in mind, maybe Stony Hill Vineyard, also in Napa, is more your style. This small, family-run winery offers only white wine and is known in particular for its Chardonnay. Interesting enough, Stony Hill was the second winery in the region to open after prohibition ended so there is a lot of history there. Wine is produced in a traditional fashion and the winery has a rather small output. Their main customers include a mailing list of fans as well as a few local restaurants. It’s a charming alternative to more commercial wineries but you should call ahead for an appointment to be sure they can accommodate your party.

Of course with all of the wineries in the Napa Valley, there are countless inns, spas, restaurants and shops. Everything needed for a complete getaway is all within this one region of many. It would be impossible to even visit all of the wineries within Napa in one or even a couple of days so it’s important to plan sightseeing time accordingly. And the best thing about the great state of California is, once you finish with one wine region, you can try another. Realistically, you could make several trips to the California wine country and still not experience everything it has to offer.