Mind your Latitude: 48° to 50° South

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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

Mind your Latitude: 45° to 46° South

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We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re looking at latitude. Today, we present:  45 to 46 degrees South—and along with it, we enter into the “southernmost vineyard in the world” debate.

Central Otago: New Zealand’s Central Otago Region—located near the southern end of the South Island—seems to be the clear contender for “southernmost viticultural region and official geographical indication currently producing commercially viable wine.” Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s oldest winegrowing regions—a Central Otago “Burgundy” was awarded a Gold Medal at a 1881 wine competition in Sydney. However—despite this early success—cherries, apples, and nectarines were the leading agricultural crop in the region until the 1970s, when commercial viticulture began (again) in earnest.

Today, Central Otago is planted to over 1,873 hectares/4,630 acres of vines. The great majority (nearly 80%) is Pinot Noir. Other leading grapes include Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Chardonnay. Many of the vineyards of Central Otago are planted at high elevations, on rocky hillsides, and along steep river gorges. The Southern Alps provide a significant rain shadow and give this area a semi-continental climate as well as extreme annual and diurnal temperature fluctuations. As we all know, vineyards can thrive in these kinds of conditions—and the area’s intensely flavored Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines can certainly attest to this.

The Central Otago GI has six sub-regions; the southernmost—situated at 45°25’—is Alexandra. the Alexandra area is home to several producing vineyards, including Grasshopper Rock, Last Chance, and Legacy Vineyards.

For the record: the southernmost point of the Central Otago GI is located close to the town of Millers Flat, located at 45°66’S.

Chile Chico: Chile Chico is a tiny town located on the south shore of General Carrera Lake. General Carrera Lake—shared by Chile and Argentina (where it typically goes by the name of Lake Buenos Aires)—is surrounded by the Andes Mountains. The climate in this area is typically cold and humid, but certain swathes in the area enjoy a sunny, temperate microclimate. It is believed that some spots located along a narrow ridge of land—east of the ice floes and tucked into the Andes west of Chubut—could potentially sustain commercial viticulture. Apparently, the Torres Family believes the area has a future in viticulture, as the company has purchased a large parcel of land in the province of Coyhaique (at 45°43’S). According to the Miguel Torres Chile website, the purchase was made “taking climate change into account…as a project for future generations.” Who knows what the future may bring?

Sarmiento, Argentina: Sarmiento is located in the foothills of the Patagónides (a series of mountain ranges east of and parallel to the Andes) and tucked between two lakes (Lago Musters and Lago Colhué Huapí). In general, the area is challenging and subject to spring frosts, strong winds, and short summers. However, Sarmiento is one in a series of high-altitude plateaus spread across southern Chubut. Sarmiento benefits from the moderating influences of a series of nearby rivers and lakes, as well as the protective rain shadow of the taller mountains. This area has long been planted to cherry orchards; and—as of 2011—vineyards are being planted as well. Sarmiento’s latitude—reported as 45°59’S by Google Maps—certainly makes it a contender for the southernmost vineyards in the world.

References/for more information:

 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

Mind your Latitude: 44° South

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We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present: 44 degrees South! At this latitude we are getting close to the southern edge of commercial viticulture, but there is always something interesting to find!

Waitaki Valley—Canterbury: New Zealand’s Waitaki River—flowing eastward from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean—serves as a natural boundary and political dividing line between the provinces of Canterbury (to the north) and Otago (to the south). As such, there are two wine regions that go by the name Waitaki Valley.

On the north side of the River, the Waitaki Valley-Canterbury region is an unofficial sub-region of the Canterbury GI. Geographically, the Canterbury region is quite large, and most of the vineyards are located to the west and/or the north of the city of Christchurch. Canterbury’s Waitaki Valley area is located a good 120 miles/195 km further south. This is an emerging region for viticulture, centered around a sunny area 30 miles/48 km inland from the coast.  Plantings are limited but the area shows promise for the production of Pinot Noir and aromatic white wines.

Waitaki Valley—North Otago: On the south side of the river, the Waitaki Valley-North Otago region is an official geographical indication for wine, registered in December of 2018. The area stretches along the south bank of the Waitaki River for about 45 miles/75 km, centered around the town of Kurow. The majestic mountains of the Southern Alps, located to the west, provide significant protection from rain and clouds, helping to create the area’s “almost continental” climate with warm, dry summers and cold winters. This is an emerging region—I was only able to locate about 8 wineries—but it is an area to keep your eye on. Leading grape varieties include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and (surprise!) Arneis.

Cisnes (Aysén Region): The town of Cisnes is located within the Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Region of Chile. The name of the region is, for obvious reasons, typically shorted to simply Aysén Region (Región de Aysén). The Aysén Region is one of Chile’s 16 top-order administrative regions, and the third largest in area. However…it is the second-southernmost and the most sparsely populated—with a population density of 0.85 inhabitants per square kilometer (compared to 8,470 inhabitants per square km in the capital city of Santiago). The reason for the sparse population is somewhat obvious: Aysén—straddling both the Northern Patagonian Ice Field and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field—contains the third largest ice field in the world (after those in Antarctica and Greenland). Most areas are reachable only by boat or plane. We won’t find any viticulture in these parts, but it is, at least in theory, possible that vines could grow in the interior—perhaps close to the Chile/Argentina border (100 miles inland from the coast).

Los Altares, Chubut: The Los Altares wine region is part of the Argentina Province of Chubut. It is located at the near-perfect geographic center of the province, about 150 miles (240 km) from the Chilean border, the Atlantic Coast, and the provinces of Río Negro (to the north) and Santa Cruz (to the south).   Los Atares is a sparsely populated region with a semi-arid terrain that is typical of the Patagonian Steppe (Argentina’s largest desert).  The area is well-known for its rock formations—there are close to 50 miles (80 km) of rock walls; some up to 230 feet (70 m) tall. The name of the area—Altares—derives from the altar-like appearance of some of these walls. The vineyards of Los Altares are planted close to the banks of the Chubut River which has the unusual feature of being higher than the land around it in some places. This leads to frequent flooding and a subsequent narrow band of fertile soil on both sides of the river. There are only about 73 hectares/180 acres of vines spread across the whole of central Chubut, so viticulture is truly in its infancy here.The area’s short growing season is a challenge, however, the region shows promise for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.

References/for more information:

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

Mind your Latitude: 42° South

We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present:  42 degrees South!

Chiloé Archipelago: The Chiloé Archipelago is part of the southern extension of the Chilean Coastal Range and part of Chilean Patagonia. A small chain of mountains runs north-to-south through the area, creating a string of natural deep harbors along the cold and rainy western side well as a series of warmer and drier areas to the east.  Long-inhabited by the native Chono, Huilliche, and Cunco peoples, Europeans began to settle in the area in the late 1800s. This was followed by the creation of towns and industries including whaling, farming, and—of all things—providing railroad ties for the entire South American continent. As for wine, this is certainly a frontier—and one that Aurelio Montes is willing to forge. An avid sailor, Montes has sailed through these islands for decades., and he recently planted what is believed to be the first vineyard in the area—five acres of Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir on the island of Mechuque. While the climate here is a challenge, the ocean waters surrounding Mechuque Island are actually a bit warmer than those on the coast next to Chile’s Central Valley (to the north). This is due to the outer islands of the Chiloé Archipelago that provide some distance and insulation from the cold Humboldt Current. The first harvest on Mechuque Island (and perhaps some wine) is expected soon.

Comarca Andina del Paralelo 42: Politically speaking, La Comarca Andina del Paralelo 42 (Andean Region of the 42nd parallel) is an organization of small towns located high in the Andes and near the 42nd parallel. The region is centered around 13 towns in the Argentine provinces of Río Negro and Chubut. Traditional agriculture in the region includes fruit trees, cider, and beer; viticulture is a new and emerging industry. Vineyards are sparse, but include plantings of Pinot Noir, Malbec, Merlot, Chardonnay and Torrontés.

While obscure, the Comarca Andina del Paralelo 42 is also the stuff of legends: The famous American Outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid lived on a ranch near the town of Cholila from 1901 until  about 1905; they were forced to flee when Pinkerton Detectives discovered their hideout. Their ranch house has been restored and might be worth a visit!

Tasmania: Tasmania is one of Australia’s coolest-climate wine regions. This makes sense, as the region is an island surround by cold ocean waters with few areas more than 100 km/75 miles from the coast. Tasmania also contains some high-elevation vineyards—much of the island is mountainous, with the highest mountain—Mount Ossa—topping out at 1,617 meters (5,305 ft). The leading grape varieties here are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tasmania is known for producing some of the finest sparkling wines in Australia—as well as providing a good deal of the grapes used to produce sparkling wines on the Australian mainland.

Marlborough: Located in the northeastern corner of New Zealand’s South Island, Marlborough is the heart and soul of the country’s wine industry. Marlborough is home to close to 24,000 hectares/59,000 acres of vines and accounts for nearly 2/3 of the country’s output of grapes and wine.  It was Marlborough, in the 1980s and 90s, that provided the wine world its first taste of a zesty, herbalicious-explosion-in-a-glass version of Sauvignon Blanc now recognized and beloved as unique to New Zealand  (although these days, tamer and subtler versions are produced as well). The Southern Alps to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east combine to give Marlborough a cool climate and abundant sunshine—making this an ideal area for the country’s signature Sauvignon Blanc as well as significant plantings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris.

Nelson: The wine region of Nelson is located just to the west of Marlborough, on the northwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. This small area is surrounded by small mountain ranges, giving Nelson one of the sunniest climates in New Zealand—as well as the nickname “Sunny Nelson.” The vineyards in Nelson total just over 2,500 acres/1,000 ha of vines. Sauvignon Blanc makes up nearly 50% of the plantings, followed by Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer.  The historic town of Nelson enjoys a reputation as an artsy-beachy place with a plethora of cool cafes and craft breweries—in addition to the wineries on the outskirts of town. Road trip, anyone?

References/for more information:

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

Mind your Latitude: 40° South

We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present:  40 degrees South!

Valle de Osorno DO: Chile’s Osorno Valley—part of Chile’s Austral Viticultural Region—stretches from the coast, over the mountains of the Coast Range, through the high-plateau “Los Lagos” (lakes) region and up into the foothills of the Andes. The area’s rich volcanic soils and cool climate (moderated by the presence of the some of the largest lakes in the country) provides the backdrop to a massive cattle and dairy industry, fueled by Basque, Spanish, and German immigrants along with the native Huilliche-Mapuche population.  The area is also a traditional center for horsemanship and the national breed of Chilean Horses—los Caballoes de Pura Raza Chilena.  The Osorno Valley’s thriving economy is based, in part, on its location close to the Paso Cardenal Antonio Samor—one of the few asphalt highways between Chile and Argentina found in the Southern Andes. Vines—mainly Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling—are a recent but welcome addition to the area. The wines of the Valle de Osorno DO have been praised for their mineral character, elegance, and pleasing acidity—and plantings are on the rise.

San Patricio del Chañar: Viticulture in the Argentine province of Neuquén is centered in the southern and eastern quadrants of the area. Many of the vineyards are planted in or near the basins of the Limay and Neuquén Rivers, at a moderate elevation (between 886 and 1,362 feet/270 to 415 meters above sea level). In recent years, the town of San Patricio del Chañar—located on the banks of the Neuquén River and just a few miles north of the province of Río Negro—has emerged as a leading center for viticulture in the region. San Patricio del Chañar is largely planted to red grapes (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec) aong with small amounts of white grapes. The next time you are passing through, be sure and stop at the aptly named Bodega del Fin del Mundo and try some of their Reserva del Fin del Mundo (a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Viognier).

Río Negro Lower Valley: Argentina’s Río Negro (the river) begins at the confluences of the Limay and Neuquén Rivers, and flows southeast across the continent towards the Atlantic Ocean. Along its 653- kilometer (405-mile) path, it forms a series of valleys that have become important centers for viticulture and wine production in Patagonia.  The Río Negro Lower Valley—located in the east of the Río Negro Province—is among the lowest-elevation viticultural areas in Argentina, and close enough to the sea to receive the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean. There are currently about 100 hectares (240 acres) of vines in the area, planted to a range of grape varieties including Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Wairarapa: The Wairarapa wine region is located in the southernmost portion of New Zealand’s North Island—within the administrative region of Wellington (and about 35 miles/58 km east of the city of the same name). The area is best-known for savory Pinot Noir, which accounts for nearly 50% of all vines. Other leading grapes include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. The vineyards of Wairarapa typically enjoy sunny days due to the rain shadow of the nearby Rimutaka and Tararua Mountain Ranges and a cooling influence from the coastline that curves around the east and south of the area. Despite its small production—the region produces just under 1% of New Zealand’s total output—Wairarapa contains two official sub-regions: Martinborough and Gladstone.

References/for more information:

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

Mind your Latitude: 38° South

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We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present:  38 degrees South!

Malleco Valley: Located 540 kilometers (340 miles) south of Santiago, the Malleco Valley was once considered the southernmost outpost of Chilean viticulture. The area is known for its cool, almost marginal climate and (quite unlike the northern reaches of Chile) high rainfall—which often total 1,100 mm (44 inches) a year. The region’s volcanic soils—containing red clay and sand—provide reasonably good drainage, which is essential considering the area’s impressive rainfall. Malleco Valley Plantings focus on cool-climate varieties including Pinot Noir, País, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Viña Aquitania planted some of the first vinifera vines in the Malleco Valley back in 1995, using them to produce both still and sparkling wines under their “Sol de Sol” brand.

Chapadmalal GI: Regulations concerning commercial vineyard plantings in Argentina were somewhat loosened in the 1990s, and in the years that followed some producers began to venture beyond the boundaries of the typical Andes-influenced wine regions the country is known for. As such, some producers have begun planting vines in the province of Buenos Aires. These vineyards, which include those planted in Médanos and Sierra de la Ventana, are planted mainly to Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. The Chapadmalal GI—located near the coast and about 200 miles (320 km) south of the city of Buenos Aires—contains the easternmost vineyards in the country. The area, approved as a geographical indication in 2014, has a primarily maritime climate and receives much more rainfall than most of Argentina’s established wine regions.

Mornington Peninsula: Located on a narrow, hook-shaped strip of land between Port Philip’s Bay and the Bass Strait, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula is one the coolest-climate wine regions in Australia. Surrounded by water on three sides, the region experiences a truly maritime climate, abundant sunshine, and a long growing season. This is a relatively young wine region, with significant commercial viticulture dating back only from the 1970s. Pinot Noir is the leading grape variety, followed by Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Gris. Cool-climate versions of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are made as well. Situated a mere 45 miles/70 km from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a popular weekend destination for wine lovers as well as those interested in the region’s growing number of cideries, breweries, and distilleries. For everyone else, there’s always the beach!

Gisborne: Gisborne is located on the east side of New Zealand’s North Island. Many of Gisborne’s vineyards are located in the valley of the Waipaoa River and in the foothills of the surrounding mountains. Gisborne benefits from abundant sunshine—provided via the rain shadow of these mountains—as well as the cooling breezes from the nearby sea. The area is largely planted to white grapes; Chardonnay is the leading variety—followed by Pinot Gris. Sauvignon Blanc is relegated to minor status here, and small amounts of Gewurztraminer and Merlot are grown as well. As befits the area’s palate of grape varieties, Gisborne is often referred to as the “Chardonnay capital of New Zealand.”

References/for more information:

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

Mind your Latitude: 36° South

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We’ve looked at wine through the lens of grapes, places, soils, barrels, bottles, and stems…and for the next few weeks we’re taking a look at latitude. Today, we present:  36 degrees South!

Itata Valley: The Itata Valley is located within Chile’s Southern Regions Viticultural Area, just to the south of the Maule Valley. With viticulture dating back to the 1500s, it is believed that the Itata Valley—particularly the area around the towns of Chillán, Quillón and Coelemu—was one of the first areas of Chile to be planted with vines. Chile’s Coastal Range is not as tall nor as wide in this area as it is to the north, so a large part of the area enjoys a cool Mediterranean climate with maritime influences. Heritage grapes—including Moscatel de Alejandría, País, and Cinsault—are planted here, along with recent plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenère, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Total plantings in the Itata Valley are estimated to be close to 16,900 acres (6,800 ha).

La Pampa: La Pampa, part of Argentina Patagonia, is in the center of the country—southeast of Mendoza and situated between the high Andes Mountains (to the west) and the Atlantic Coast (to the east).  The terrain of La Pampa is, for the most part, gently undulating grasslands—at an average elevation of 1,000 feet (305 m) in the west, leveling out a bit as one travels eastward towards the coast. La Pampa experiences a moderate continental climate with mild autumns and springs, warm summers, and cold winters. The area is currently planted to just over 680 acres (275 ha) of vines, with nearly 85% of the vineyards are dedicated to red grapes. Over 50% of the vines are planted to Malbec; other leading grapes varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.

Padthaway: Padthaway is the northernmost wine region in South Australia’s Limestone Coast Zone, an area known for its limestone bedrock and terra rosa soil. The Padthaway GI extends northward from Wrattonbully and Coonawarra in a unique, long, and narrow shape. Stretching for over 38 miles (62 km), it follows a vein of sandy terra rosa soils—as well as the Riddoch Highway—from the town of Naraccorte to just north of the town of Padthaway. By contrast, the region is a mere 5 miles (8 km) wide at its widest point. Shiraz is the most widely planted grape, followed closely by Cabernet Sauvignon (known to have an  affinity for terra rosa). Chardonnay is also widely planted. These top three grapes—Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon-Chardonnay—account for nearly 80% of the region’s vines. Other varieties grown in Padthaway include Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir.

Rutherglen: Rutherglen, located within the Australian state of Victoria, has been producing wine since the 1850s. Vines were first brought to the area along with an influx of settlers during Victoria’s gold rush. These days, the area is famous for its old vines (some of the oldest in Australia) as well as its unique, ultra-aged fortified wines. This area is markedly inland, and the terrain is mostly flat. This makes for a dry continental climate that can produce some very hot summertime temperatures. Thus, Rutherglen is an ideal spot to grow Muscat grapes (a very heat-tolerant variety) for use in the area’s famous stickies. Rutherglen fortified wines are also produced from the Muscadelle grape—these wines used to be referred to as Tokay but are now known as Topaque (to avoid regional and regulatory confusion). Rutherglen also produces unfortified table wines from Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon—but its fame rests with the “liquid gold” of Rutherglen fortified wines.

Auckland: Located on New Zealand’s North Island, the Auckland region has a plethora of (mostly boutique) wineries tucked into the areas to the north and south of the metropolitan area surrounding the country’s capital city. The wine industry of Auckland benefitted greatly from a wave of Croatian immigrants that began to settle in the area around Kumeu in the 1880s. Several of New Zealand’s leading estates—including Babich, Villa Maria, Kumeu River, and Nobilio—were founded by Croatians. These days, this relatively warm, humid area is mainly planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Syrah—as well as small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Auckland is considered a hub for the New Zealand wine industry, with many of the country’s largest wineries—including those with vineyard holdings in other part of the country—headquartered in Auckland.

References/for more information:

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