The world’s southernmost and northernmost vineyards are awe-inspiring. The innate and remarkable ability of wine grapes to grow in extreme and remote conditions is simply fascinating. As you read on, you will discover the amazing strength and beauty of viticulture and wine production. Without further ado, let’s delve in. And don’t forget to grab a glass of sparkling wine while you are at it!
The World’s Southernmost Vineyards
One of the world’s southernmost vineyards is Grasshopper Rock. The unique vineyard is located at 45.25 degrees south latitude.
Grasshopper Rock Vineyard is Central Otago’s exclusive Pinot Noir vineyard. The vineyard sits along the Earnscleugh Road, which lies across the Clutha River in Alexandra. The vineyard basks in warm daytime sunshine and cool nighttime temperatures. Due to its extreme cold and heat fluctuations and spring and autumn frosts, the vineyard is located in a challenging yet rewarding environment for the cultivation of quality Pinot Noir.
Fun Fact: The Grasshopper Rock vineyard gets its name from a near-extinct grasshopper called Sigaus childi, which was found near the vineyard.
The World’s Northernmost Vineyards
Norway’s vineyards are one of the world’s most unique and northernmost vineyards. The northernmost vineyard in Norway is Lerkekåsa near Gvarv. It sits at 59 degrees north and is not far from the capital of Oslo. The vineyard is protected by hills and mountains, creating a favorable microclimate for the grapes therein. The Lerkekåsa vineyard produces about 1,500 liters of white, red, rosé, and fruit wine each year.
In 2008 the first grapes in Lerkekåsa were planted.
In 2009 the vineyard recorded its first vintage.
Of the 20 wine varietals planted, only Solaris from Germany, Rondo from France, and Hansansky Sladki from Russia grow well under these harsh weather conditions. The vineyard’s premium white grape is the Solaris variety that improves with age. Lerkekåsa is also well-known for making fruit wines as Gvarv is a popular fruit-growing area with more than 80 apple varieties and plantings.
Interestingly, Norwegian wine laws demand that wines be grown from local produce, so Lerkekåsa produces wine from white blackcurrants, plums, apples, blackberries, raspberries, and rare berries like moss berry, rogneberry, and crowberry.
Some of the wines produced in Lerkekåsa bear the label “Mormos Hage” which means “grandma’s garden.” The name bears memories for Lerkekåsa’s owner, Joar Saettem — the wine’s fruity flavor reminds him of the fruits he enjoyed as a child.