The  best wineries in Europe’s most unexpected wine regions

The best wineries in Europe’s most unexpected wine regions

Jessica Benavides Canepa

Long dominated by the high quality, mythical wine regions of France and Italy, Europe has graciously accepted their reign for centuries. But as fate would have it, the unstoppable march of globalization and unpredictable climate changes have savvy travellers eagerly searching for quality alternatives. As it turns out, many lesser-known regions have been experimenting with unprecedented harvesting techniques for decades, patiently waiting in the wings for their shot at glory and recognition. For a select few, that moment has finally arrived.

Glenholm Winery, Ranum, Denmark

In close proximity to the postcard-perfect Limfjord in Northern Denmark, the tiny vineyard of Glenholm has been producing wine since 1993. The family-run winery, which expanded in 2009, puts out a small production of hybrid reds, whites and sparkling wines that is sold to regional restaurants and onsite visitors. A delight for wine lovers, the winery is surrounded by a multitude of green spaces, natural vegetation and fauna and offers owner-led visits followed by wine tastings in a charming vine-covered greenhouse.

Vinařství Volařík, Modavia, Czech Republic

The ethereal Moravian wine region, a storybook landscape of structured terraces rising above the plains, dotted with tiny villages and edged by the mystic beauty of the Carpathian Mountains, offers the biggest production of wines in the country. Distinctive dry white wines dominate this region and enchanting boutique wineries like Vinařství Volařík share decades of wine-growing knowledge and a contagious pride in surprisingly complex varietals still largely unknown outside the country.

Hoyos de Banama, La Palma, Gran Canaria

Mostly known for decadent, winter-escaping getaways in the sun, the Canary Islands have been quietly producing quality wines for centuries. Once a primary producer of sweet, Malvasia grape wines, the 18th century brought a decline in production resulting in the death of many a vine. Fortunately, a select number survived and today the islands offer over 10 wine denominations. Hoyos de Banama, a winery in existence for over 300 years, has adapted brilliantly to a new generation of potent reds, via shrewd combinations of cabernet and merlot alongside local varietals.

Domäne Wachau, Dürnstein, Austria

Idyllic in look and sensation, the Wachau wine region is a glorious, UNESCO-protected landscape of Baroque-designed towns and riverside vines decorating the glistening emerald waters of the Danube River. To better acquaint yourself with the award-winning Riesling whites hailing from this region, visit the architecturally-gorgeous Domäne Wachau, a co-op producing one-third of the areas entire production. The historic 18th-century cellar/castle is a highlight; guests can explore the interiors and take in the art of the period as well as enjoy tastings.

Camel Valley, Cornwall, UK

Lush green peaks and valleys are representative of the natural splendour of seaside Cornwall. Though it rains steadily, this area enjoys more sunshine and warm temperatures than your average English town. Still, with unpredictable weather changes, one wouldn’t expect vines to grow well in this area, let alone flourish. But that is exactly what the second-generation Camel Valley winery has accomplished, and then some. A visit to this delightful vineyard located along the Camel River includes tastings of their award-winning sparkling wines, which more than hold their own against France’s finest reserves.

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