Wine Searcher

  • Californian Wine

      California is the best-known wine region of America. The region is subdivided into six main areas. From north to south these are the North Coast (north of San Francisco, home of Napa Valley, Sonama, Carneros wines), Humboldt (on the banks of the Sacrmamento River), Sierra Foothills (at the foot of the Sierra Mountains east of Sacramento), Central Coast (south of San Francisco to slighty north of Los Angeles), Central Valley (a huge area on the banks of the San Joaquin River), and South Coast (between Los Angeles and San Diego).


    Franciscan monks from Bordeaux with the rather appropriate name of Jean Louis saw th possibilities here in 1830 and he improted countless European varieties of grapes.


  • North-East for American Wine

       While the vineyards of Ontario in Canada are on the northern shore of Lake Erie, the majority of the North-East’s vineyards in the United States are on the southern shore between Detroit and Buffalo. The Finger Lakers area is slighty further east and to the south of Lake Ontario.

     There are also vineyards towards the coast on the banks of the Hudson River, on Long Island near New York, and further away near Boston. The remaining vineyards of the North-East can be found in the valley of the Ohio river and south of Washington DC, in the Shenandoah Valley.


    The local American wine industry dates back to the first pioneering settles of the sixteenth century. For many years hybrids and natives species that were not varieties of Vitis vineferawere used like Alexander, Catawba, Delaware, and Concord. The results from these were not really satisfactory because of the ‘foxy’ aroma these vines give to the wines that is characteristics of varieties and sub species of Vitis labrusca. The ‘foxy’ aroma is best describes as the smell of a dirty old pelt on which old-fashioned home-made fruit jam has been smeared.

    More suitable French hybrids were introduced during the early 1940s such as Baco Noir and Seyval. From the early 1950s and particularly in the 1970s large scale planting were made of Vitis viniferavines. Thirty years later this helped to cause a major breakthrough.


    New York’s climate is marginal for cultivating vines and making wines. The summers are generally very warm and dry but the winters are often exceptionally raw. Wine-growing is only possible where the climate is moderated by the big rivers, lakes, or the Atlantic Ocean. It is extremely important to plant the vines in subsoil that is free draining. The North-East region contains the following officially recognised places of origin known as AVA (American Viticultural Areas): New York (includes Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hidson River, The Hamptons- Long Island), New England (Western Connecticut Highlands, South-estern New England), Ohio, Michagan, and Virginia (inclunding the Shenandoah Valley).

    Despite goverment campaigns promoting the planting of Vitis vinifieravarieties, some still persist with the old-fashioned and inferior Concord, Catawba, Delaware, and Niagara. The very best wines though are made with Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (Hudison River). Merlot, and Pinot Noir.


    The American wines from such as the Concord are really northing soecial.

    Considerable amounts of sugar are often added to the must to mask the high acidity and strog taste, which certainly do nothing to aid the wine’s finesse. The Vitis viniferaare very taut which is understandable give the climate but they are also extremly aromatic and particularly fruity. These are not high flight wines but the quality is steadily improving.

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  • Rioja DOC Spanish Wine

    Rioja Spanish WineRioja DOC Wine

    Rioja is made in three different areas as previously indicated: the southern Basque country, Navarra, and La Rioja. The area of La Rioja and Rioja wine derive their name from the small river Oja, hence Rio Oja. The river flows into the Ebro near Haro. This Spanish wine region region is subdivided into three areas: the highlands of Rioja Alta in the north west, the most northerly vineyards of Rioja Alavesa in Alava Province, and the lowlands of Rioja Baja in Navarra and La Rioja. The entire area is protected from the cold north winds by the mountains of the Sierra Cantabrica. The river Ebro rises in the Cantabrian mountains and flows towards the Mediterranean.

  • Wine regions - Africa

      South Africa has had a clear system of naming the places of origin of its wines since 1973, based on the geographical and climatological properties of the wine.

    Most of the wine-growing areas are in the south west of the country, between Cape Town and the coast. Wine is also made in the north and east of the country at Olifantsrivier, Orange River, and Klein Karoo.

    Wines can originate from a specific local area such as these or from larger regions such as Coastal Region (Swartland, Tulbagh, Paarl, and Stellenbosch). and Breede River Region (Worcester and Robertson) . Excellent examples of this type of wine are the successful Fleur du Cap range and Stellenrijck from the Coastal Region.

    In our visit to these wine regions we start in the north, travel via the west to the south and then east.

    wine regions from Africa 

    Orange River

    This is a relatively unknown area alongside the border with Namibia. The wine is acceptable at a reasonable price but little is exported.



    This area is slightly south of Orange River, running more or less parallel to the coast. The climate here between Koekenaap and Citrusdal is somewhat drier with less rain and higher temperatures than near Cape Town. Extremely pleasant wine at very acceptable prices originates from here but virtually only for the domestic market.



    The area around Piketberg has extremely hot summers making irrigation essential, particularly as there is so little rainfall throughout the year. The wine is first class and quite reasonably priced.



    This area is further south, between Piketberg, Darling, Malmesbury, and Tulbagh. The quality of the wines start to improve now. The area used to be renowned for its sweet port-type wines. Nowadays two types of wine are produced here: light, tasty, convivial, and inexpensive modern wines such as Swartland, but also top quality wines from noble grapes such as Alles Verloren.



    This is a very small place of origin in the south east of Swartland.

     Reasonable to good cooperative wines are made alongside excellent classic wines here depending on the microclimate. We know the area in Europe chiefly from Drostdy-Hof and Twee Jonge Gezellen. {jcomments on}

  • Wine regions - Australia

     Vines are grown in almost every part of Australia but wines are only produced in the cooler southern parts. Australia can be roughly split into seven large regions.

    Western Australia

    The only good wine area of Western Australia lies far to the south of Perth, just inland from the southwestern coastal strip.

    Margaret River

    Margaret river is an extremely interesting area that is less well-known outside Australia, but this is likely to change. The climate is strongly influenced by the ocean.

     The soil is mainly a mixture of gravel and gravelbearing loam and sand on underlying granite. Margaret River is mainly known for its good Cabernet Sauvignon, but other grapes do well here too.{jcomments on}