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Great Wine Capitals
The Great Wine Capitals is a network of nine major global cities in both the northern and southern hemispheres, which share a key economic and cultural asset: their internationally renowned wine regions. It is the only such network to encompass the so-called ‘Old’ and ‘New’ worlds of wine, and exists to encourage travel, education and business exchange between the internationally-renowned centres of Bilbao | Rioja, Bordeaux, Cape Town, Christchurch | South Island, Firenze, Mainz | Rheinhessen, Mendoza, Porto, and San Francisco-Napa Valley.
Bilbao | Rioja
The Bilbao-Rioja geographic area displays first-class economic dynamism. It is considered a top tourist destination because of the wide range of its cultural sites, its world-famous cuisine and the excellent Rioja wines. The first written words in Castilian Spanish were in praise of Rioja wines. The magical Rioja landscape seems completely dedicated to the creation of some of the finest wines in the world.
The Bordeaux vineyards produce a wide range of fine wines: reds, rosés, dry whites, sweet whites and dessert wines, as well as sparkling wines. Over the last ten years, total annual production of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée wines in the Bordeaux area has been on average 5,450,000 hectolitres. In 1998, it reached 6,600,000 hectolitres (about 870 million bottles). 115,000 hectares produce A.O.C. wines.
Most of the Western Cape’s wine-growing areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with winter rainfall and warm dry summers. Both climate and soil variations ensure a wide range of wine types and styles are produced. Red and white wines of high quality are made, along with an increasing number of Methode cap Classique sparkling wines. The province’s fortified wines – including sherry, port and muscadel – are renowned for both good quality and pleasing prices.
Christchurch | South Island
Five renowned wine regions make up the newest member of the Great Wine Capital Network – Christchurch/South Island: Central Otago, Marlborough, Nelson and Waipara Valley. The South Island of New Zealand has long been famed for its stunning, unspoiled and varied landscapes – native forests, snow-capped mountains, and miles of pasture and lush greenery that sweep right up to the edges of a spectacular coastline. The southern region of New Zealand with its small population, distant location and agricultural economy have earned the country a 'clean, green' image. Visitors often describe it as 'an unspoiled paradise'.
In this rich land, wine and olive oil are not all the province is famous for, though a third of the regional production of olive oil, or about 20,000 tons a year, does come from the province of Florence. When it comes to food products, many other delicious Tuscan dishes originate here, from the famed "Florentine beefsteak", which comes strictly from beef raised on the pastures of the province, to the soups of spelt and legumes, various kinds of cheese, milk and honey produced in the Mugello farmland. The plains are rich in fruits, vegetables and grains, while the hilly zones, typical of the Tuscan landscape, are covered with olive groves and vineyards.
Mainz | Rheinhessen
The charms of the glorious natural setting of the tranquil countryside of Rheinhessen with its rolling green hills planted with vines against wide horizons, the river landscapes along the Rhine and Selz have an appeal entirely of their own. There is much to be discovered in the land of the thousand hills with its effervescent metropolis Mainz, full of zest for life. History, culture and the experience of wine are at all events present at every step.
Mendoza is a very large wine-producing province.Indeed, it is the 5th largest in the world and important domestic consumption has, for a long time, easily absorbed production. The existing environmental resources of Mendoza's wine-production regions provide an outstanding framework for growing high-quality grapes in the most natural and healthy conditions. Add to that modern, state-of-the-art technology and Mendoza is able to provide world consumers delicious wines with all the colour, aroma, fruit flavour and quality it desires.
Porto is to be found in the northwest corner of Portugal in the heart of Vinho Verde country. It is also a short drive to Port country – some of the most beautiful and spectacular landscape in the world. A relative newcomer on the world wine scene, Portuguese wines have been rediscovered and promoted only in the last 20 years or so. Porto is the largest city in the northern region of Portugal, which is noted for the great contrast between the light, fresh and often fizzy wines of Vinho Verde and the heavyweights of the Douro, which include Port
San Francisco-Napa Valley
The Californian city of San Francisco is situated on North America’s west coast.With its rugged coastline, magnificent icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge, and its world-class wining and dining, it is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Several wine regions are close by, but of these the best known must be the Napa Valley located within easy driving distance from San Francisco and admired the world over for the quality of their wines.