About Wine Tours
A Historical Walk through the Vineyards
A tour to the vineyards where your favourite wine was made, is an adventure that cannot be explained as you have to explore it for yourself.
And once you do, it might spoil you because taking a tour to a vineyard and winery is a peaceful and tranquil experience.
Not only due to the fact that it is an escape from our busy lives but being in the environment with golden green blanketed landscapes that sparkle when the sun’s rays reflect on each and every grape.
Wine is not only made of grapes and yeasts but it is also made with knowledge, patience and passion. It speaks to all of our senses as we see the various shades, colour and tones.
We can smell the bouquet and aromas, taking us to the vineyards themselves and finally the taste of the delicious flavours that tingle on our tongues, leaving us to feel relaxed and rejoiced after each and every sip that we experience.
The story of a Bottle
Wine has a story and each bottle has a character and a personality of its own but there is more to it than just squashing grapes, fermenting them, placing it into a bottle and then drinking it.
There is a history that builds the character of the wine and before it even gets anywhere near a cellar, the vines and the soils have their own story to tell, as they have survived through centuries of war, famine, plagues and weather conditions.
Vineyards and Wineries
Vineyards and wineries are very similar but they are not the same as you can have a vineyard that grows grapes, it can be very small or extremely large and for most owners of vineyards the idea is to produce wine.
But the vineyards are for growing the grapes and they do not make the wine on the vineyard but in a winery or cellar after the grapes have been harvested in the vineyards.
The winery is where the production takes place and this is where they remove the stems and the fermentation process begins.
A vineyard is land that is cultivated for grapes which we call viticulture. There are over 40 varieties of grapes that are known and wild grapes are never used as grapes on a vineyard are cultivated and carefully managed in order to produce good fruit.
Most vineyards are used to grow the grapes for wine production but in many vineyards they grow fruit for us to eat.
Naturally nothing can grow unless the geological factors have been considered as viticulture depends on the sunlight, soil, moisture, wind and pest control and seasons can be very harsh for the grapes, which is why they need so much attention and this is where patience comes into play.
The older Vine, the better Wine?
Grape vines can grow for over 120 years but the older they get the less fruit they produce, leading to more concentrated and intense wines. “Dead arm” is also a product of old vines and the juice of the fruit concentrates even more than it should.
Often it is not good to have vines that are very old but wine producers today have ways to work with this and it is nice to know that the vines from an era past are being used and when labelling the bottle, it can suggest that it is made from old vines or they will simply place the word, “reserve” on the bottle which would indicate that it is from an old vine or a long ageing process.
But the best wines are from those that have come from vines that are 30 to 40 years old though many producers disagree with this and suggest that the older the vine, the better the wine.
A little Vine history
The history of the vine dates back to ancient times and the first trace or evidence of vineyards and wine can be found as far back as 6000BC in Armenia, where archaeologists discovered vinifera seeds and vines.
They also discovered a cave that was suggested to be the winery as it contained a wine press, jars and fermentation vats.
Egypt also had traces of wine evidence found by archaeologists but this was 900 years after the Armenians and it was only during the Ancient Grecian and Roman times that cultivation methods began to progress.
The Medieval times brought in a demand for wines and this began in Europe with wine being a necessity for mass.
Classifications of Vineyards
Wine making and the cultivation of wine is a historical process and the story of how it all began is interesting but it also involves more than that as viticulture and where the vines are from play a big role in the production and selling of wines around the world.
Vineyards are classified by the location and geological characteristics which can be a selling point for merchants.
The French term for this is “terroir” which means “sense of place” and this term derived from Emperor Napoleon 111’s “1855 Grand Cru Classe” Classification system which established a name for great wines as they were given merit for the location and soil content in the vineyards, the vinification process and the way that the wine was eventually packaged.
They were also given credit for how their chateaus were managed.
As this began in France there are many well-known vineyards and chateaus that produce great wine that is distributed throughout the world but it is not only in France that you will find a great vineyard as there are many around the world and they all have something in common; passion, ambition and respect for their vines and the land that they have learned to be patient with.
Vineyards need a lot of love and attention and in order to produce good wine, the land that bears the fruit must be taken care of as the vines are the roots to good wine.
Ready for the Wine Tour?
For the average wine drinker this information might seem a little dull and boring, but it is an interesting learning curve as there is so much history that goes into the making of wine.
As the centuries of wine making families, that have passed their traditions through for generations and generations, are there today to give you a tour.
With the breeze that sends along a whiff of fruity air that you can almost taste in your glass, and being surrounded by buildings that have stood the test of time, and perhaps survived through the middle ages and wars is something extraordinary to set sight on.
Not only is the tour about how they make the wines it is a story of determination, patience and hard work as most continue on to hand harvest their grapes, and some have modern technology and oenologists that can tell you things about wine that you never ever would have even thought about.
A tour to a beautiful vineyard is a great idea for those are interested in history, wine and magnificent landscapes.
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Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂