What is the Great Wine Capitals global network?
“The Great Wine Capitals is a network of major global cities in both the northern and southern hemispheres, which share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions.” Founded in 1999, it is the only such Network to encompass the Old and New of wines. It aims to encourage travel, education and business exchanges between the prestigious wine regions of Mendoza in Argentina, Valparaìso in Chile, Bordeaux in France, Mainz Rheinhessen in Germany, Verona in Italy, Porto in Portugal, Cape Town in South Africa, Adelaide in Australia, Bilbao in Spain, Lausanne in Switzerland and San Francisco’s Napa Valley in the US. Let’s take a look at each capital in more detail…
Which capitals are wine capitals?
Mendoza in Argentina is the land of Sun and Wine. Situated at the heart of the Andes Mountain range, the province has more than 320 sunny days per year. It is the main wine producer and exporter in Argentina, with more than 150,000 hectares of vineyards. Malbec is the star of Mendoza Wines but other popular varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Valparaìso Casablanca Valley, Chile
Valparaìso Casablanca Valley in Chile combines good wine and a heritage experience. Casablanca has become one of the most important valleys in the country thanks to its cool climate. Here, you can enjoy the best cool-climate wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.
Bordeaux is quite possibly the most famous wine capital in the world. The UNESCO World Heritage site is located in the southwest of France which acts as a charming backdrop for a contemporary city. Bordeaux is a gateway to the most famous vineyards in the world and is the native home of grapes renowned the world over. While here, be sure to try Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc.
Mainz Rheinhessen, Germany
Bursting with culture and history, Mainz is renowned for its celebration of wine. Situated on the banks of the Rhine River in Germany, Mainz is peppered with quirky wine bars, cafes and boutiques. Rheinhessen is Germany’s largest wine-growing region and is on the map for good reason. Spätburgunder and Dornfelder are on the top of the reds list while Weinschorle is a popular white wine mixed with sparkling water.
Steeped in more than 2,000 years of history, Verona is seriously impressive. But the Italian city has so much more to offer than its timeless love stories and stylish modern culture. The area is famous for its wide variety of wines like Valpolicella, Bardolino and Soave. Verona boasts 15 DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) and 5 DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin) wines.
Portugal’s second-largest city, Porto inspires with two formidable wine regions; Douro and Vinho Verde. Port Wine is the most prestigious and international of all Portuguese wines. Produced exclusively in the Alto Douro region which is described by UNESCO as a “living and evolving cultural landscape of outstanding beauty,” it is the first demarcated and regulated wine region in the world.
Cape Town Cape Winelands, South Africa
South Africa is privy to a well-established wine network. Boasting some of the world’s most bountiful vineyards, Cape Town has a plethora of award-winning wines, all of which must be granted an export licence from the Wine & Spirit Board at Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch. Here, they undergo detailed tasting tests and chemical analysis before licenses are granted.
Adelaide, South Australia
Adelaide in South Australia is the gateway to 18 distinctive, world-renowned wine regions. Coined a “wine innovation hub” thanks to the National Wine Centre and Australia’s leading viticultural education, research and development institutions, Adelaide is also home to a number of exciting, young, innovative winemakers.
Bilbao Rioja, Spain
The industrial and cultural capital of northern Spain, Bilbao is well-known for its innovative and cultural attractions. On both banks of the Ebro River sits the millennial wine region of Rioja. In the 19th-century it was discovered that Rioja could produce ready-to-drink wines with a great aptitude for ageing. Therefore, a glass of Rioja is a must when visiting Bilbao.
What could be more spectacular than a wine region dominated by the spectacular view of the Alps? Lausanne in Switzerland has just that, with the bonus of mirror-like reflections in Lake Geneva. This very landscape plays an integral part in the Lausanne wine regions. Chasselas is the most abundantly grown grape here.
San Francisco Napa Valley, United States of America
The world-famous Napa Valley has so much to offer. Just an hour northeast of San Francisco, the valley invites you to share, savour and discover. Due to the regions diverse soils, climate and topography, winemakers can produce a variety of consistent quality wines from a wide-ranging selection of grapes.