Around the world, grapes are being grown on the scorched slopes of volcanoes that, in some cases, could erupt at any time.
Well, apparently it is, and its’ also considered the world’s most exiting wine trend. In fact, 2018 is the year of lava wine – so much so that the inaugural International Volcanic Wine Conference descended on New York at the end of March.
But why the hell is it gaining so much traction all of a sudden?
Well, according to Moneyweb, lava grapes are more than just “some marketing gimmick”:
Volcanic soils account for only 1% of the world’s surface but contribute a much larger % of the world’s great vineyards, such as those on Santorini. The Greek island’s salty, tangy whites burst upon the New York wine scene a couple of summers ago to wild acclaim.
Ash-enriched soil is also responsible for smoky, earthy reds and whites born in the shadow of Sicily’s Mount Etna; they have captivated adventurous wine lovers looking to shock their palates with something different.
But then again, it could just have something to do with the romance that surrounds the imagery of vines grown in soils born of molten earth and ash, with a smouldering volcano in the background.
Yeah, that’s pretty easy on the eye. Not sure it can rival the taste of our favourite, which comes with a pretty decent view too.
Since the last volcanic eruption in South Africa happened more than 1 200 years ago up in the North West’s Pilanesberg Game Reserve, it’s safe to say that South Africa won’t be entering this wine movement any time soon.
However, below are five places of interest if you’re super keen on tasting a volcanic-grown wine or two:
This picture-perfect tourist haven in the Aegean sea produces some of the best examples of volcanic wines. Vines are planted in fields of pumice, ash, and volcanic rock.
Though the country’s volcanoes are no longer active, violent eruptions millennia ago left behind spectacular basalt deposits in several parts of the country. Somlo, a single volcanic butte known as the “forgotten hat of God,” produces powerful, distinctive whites.
The Azores, Portugal:
This archipelago of volcanic islands lies in the Atlantic Ocean about 1,000 miles west of Lisbon. Most vineyards are on Pico, an island on which vines grow in small corrals made of black basalt stones.
The Canary Islands, Spain:
This archipelago lies 60 miles off Morocco but belongs to Spain. Tenerife’s 12 198-foot Mount Teide is the highest volcano. Some vines are planted in lava cracks, others in mini-craters in black basalt.
Lake County, California:
Mount Konocti, which last erupted 11 000 years ago, littered soils with obsidian and basalt in this area north of Mendocino.
Thankfully, however, South Africa doesn’t need some fancy wine gimmick to make a name for ourselves, because traditional vineyards have done that already.
The likes of Boekenhoutkloof, a magical little farm located in the foothills of the Franschhoek valley, is just one example, and is considered one of the best and most consistent vineyards in South Africa.
Offering four much-loved brands – Boekenhoutskloof, The Chocolate Block, Porcupine Ridge and The Wolftrap – Boekenhoutskloof doesn’t need volcano soil to make an impression.
Also, I’m not sure you can take a tram around a volcano as easily as you can a wine farm. Just sayin’.
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