Mind your Latitude: 48° to 50° South


The areas around the 48th to the 50th parallel are a bit too cold for wine production in the Southern Hemisphere. While wine production extends to the 50th latitudes and even a bit beyond them in the Northern Hemisphere, the same region in the Southern Hemisphere has significantly more ocean and much less land—making the areas surrounding the Antarctic much colder than the corresponding regions in the north. Despite the fact that grapes are not currently grown this far south, we’ve found a few points of interest worthy of the last entry in our “Mind Your Latitude” series.

Última Esperanza Province, Chile: Última Esperanza—the name translates to last hope. The province is named after Última Esperanza Sound—which was so named (in 1557) by the Spanish explorer Juan Ladrillero, who believed it to be his last chance to reach the Strait of Magellan. (The Sound ends at a glacier, not the strait—but Ladrillero found his passage a year later.)

Última Esperanza is one of four provinces in Chile’s Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena—the southernmost, largest, and second-least populated region of Chile.  The area is scattered with some small towns (mostly in the interior, near the border with Argentina) and a few industries (sheep farming, coal mining, cattle ranching) but the main draw here is adventure tourism. Intrepid tourists flock to the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, Parque Nacional Torres del Paine (Torres del Paine National Park) and the spectacular, glacier-eroded, jagged granite peaks of the Cordillera del Paine.

Santa Cruz, Argentina: The province of Santa Cruz is located in the southern section of Argentine Patagonia, just to the south of Chubut. It borders Chile (to the west and south) and the Atlantic Ocean (to the east). Santa Cruz is the least densely province out of all the provinces on Argentina’s mainland, but the area is rich in natural resources and enjoys a prosperous economy. The current inhabitants include the native Tehuelche people as well as immigrants from Spain, England, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Viticulture is yet to be seen in this frigid, dry region, but the local industries—including fishery, extraction (petroleum, coal, gold), sheep farming, timber, shipping, and cattle ranching—keep the region prosperous.

Auckland Islands, New Zealand: The Auckland Islands of New Zealand are located about 290 miles (460 km) south/southwest of Bluff (the southernmost town of New Zealand’s South Island). The Auckland Islands are not part of any political region or district of New Zealand, but (along with four other island groups) are known as the New Zealand Sub-antarctic Islands. The area is currently uninhabited, although the 1800s saw a few unsuccessful attempts at settlement. Currently, the Auckland Islands are protected as a National Nature Reserve of New Zealand as well as a UNESCO Heritage Site; the ocean surrounding the islands is a National Marine Reserve. Visitors are strictly limited and allowed by permit only.

Point Nemo: Point Nemo—technically known as the oceanic pole of inaccessibility—lies as far away from any wine region on the planet as is physically possible. As a matter of fact, Point Nemo is the single place on the face of the earth that is the farthest away from any type of dry land. Located in the South Pacific Ocean (at 48°53′), Point Nemo is at least 1,670 miles (2,688 km) from the nearest island, cliff, or sandy shore. Depending on which way you sail from Point Nemo, you would—eventually—reach the Pitcairn Islands (to the north), the Easter Islands (to the northeast), or Maher Island (off the coast of Antarctica, to the south). Point Nemo is named for Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, as well as the fact that “nemo” is Latin for “no one.” This seems apt, as the area is so remote that sometimes the closest human beings are astronauts aboard the International Space Station as it passes overhead.[1]

References/for more information:

[1] Davies, Ella. (October 5, 2016). The Place furthest from land is known as Point Nemo. BBC. Retrieved on January 15, 2020.

Click here if you’d like to check out the rest of our “Mind Your Latitude” series. 

The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas… missjane@prodigy.net

About bubblyprof
Wine Writer and Educator...a 20-year journey from Bristol Hotels to Le Cordon Bleu Schools and the Society of Wine Educators

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