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Exploring Europe’s new ‘Old World’ and ‘Ancient World’ wine regions

If you ask any vineyard owner if they have seen any evidence of climate change over the last few decades, the overwhelming majority will point to harvests getting earlier and earlier whilst facing an array of new challenges from late frosts damaging budding plants, to outbreaks of fires in wine regions and unpredictable storms bringing hail and flooding. One of the by-products of climate change is that not so long-ago England was not seen as producing any wines of interest, however we are now being recognised as one of the top places globally to produce sparkling wines. Pondering on these changes got us thinking; where else in Europe should we be recognising for their emerging or re-emerging wine industry?

Scandinavia is better known for its beer and ciders than its wine production, but there are a few wine-makers out there who are seeking to change this perspective. Commercial vineyards are popping up in Denmark, Sweden and Norway where business owners believe that climate change will enable them to produce more reliably ripe grapes in the coming years. There are also some exciting producers such as Noita Winery in Finland who are creating organic natural wines from grapes imported from abroad, in this case organic grapes from Austria. These natural wines are at the forefront of breaking down the boundaries of what wine can be and where it can be from.

Noita wines: https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/product_results

Eastern Europe has long produced high quality wines, Tokjai in Hungary has been famous for its sweet wines for centuries and was once a favourite of the Sun King Luis XIV. Now they produce both sweet and dry styes of wine, mostly using the Furmint grape. If you enjoy Chenin Blanc then I highly recommend checking out the wines from Tokjai, and am sure they will surprise and delight you.

Hungarian wines: https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/product_results

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the post Soviet nations have been revitalising their wine-making industries and are now not only making fantastic wines but doing so at prices that offer incredible value for money to the consumer. If you want to dip your toe into these new Old World wines we stock a number of Romanian wines for less than £10 as well as some finer delights, such as the Jako Vino Stina Cuvee white wine from Croatia priced at £17.95.

Romanian wines: https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/product_results

Stina wine: https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/product_results

If you want to learn more about ancient winemaking there is no better place to go than Georgia. Georgia has earned the moniker of the ‘Cradle of Wine’ as it is in the Georgian South Caucasus’ that the earliest evidence of wine-making can be found dating back 8ooo years! The wine-making culture here is rich in tradition with over 500 indigenous varieties of grapes, such as Rkatsiteli (white) and Saperavi (red). Orange wines (which are made by fermenting white grapes on their skins in the same way red wines are created) are commonly made here, often in qvevri (amphora) buried under the ground. These wines are often seen as being at the heart of the natural wine movement, utilising traditions that date back to a time before science and modern wine-making techniques transformed how wine is created. Many of these wines are made with minimal intervention, fermented on wild yeasts and offer a unique tasting experience.

If you want to learn more about Georgian wine we are celebrating its illustrious wine-making history and culture throughout October. You can click on the links below to learn more or try a Georgian wine for yourself or even explore one of our tasting packs.

https://www.southdownscellars.co.uk/georgia

 

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