From the Moselâ€™s Riesling vines that dip atÂ dizzying 70-degree angles, to the Canary Islandsâ€™ aridÂ gariaÂ holes that harbor MalvasĂa, or Norwegian vineyards located at 59Âş latitude, winemakers push grapes to all kinds of extremes. One of those extremes is altitude. We take a look at six vineyards reaching dizzying heights on each continent (excluding Antarctica), and what effect the altitude has on the wines.
Black Mountain Vineyard, Clunes, New South Wales
4,285Â feet above sea level
Dealing exclusively in cool-climate loving Pinot Noir, Jared Dixon ofÂ Jilly WinesÂ first set eyes on Black Mountain Vineyard in 2012.
â€śA friend was leasing the land and making some fantastic sparkling,â€ť says Dixon. â€śThe fruit was outstanding. That, plus the altitude, were a big attraction for me.â€ť
Mount Sutherland, South Africa
4,921 feet above sea level
â€śGiven that Mount Sutherland Vineyards are so cold and unforgiving, itâ€™s summed up perfectly as the kind of place you send mountain goats [for] boot camp,â€ť says winemaker Kyle Zulch atÂ Super Single Vineyards.
After a stint in Europe, winery owner Daniel de Waal returned to South Africa determined to create the countryâ€™s first cool continental winemaking region. In 2004, he planted Syrah on rootstockÂ in the Karoo, a semi-arid desert. It was the first cultivation in the area, which he followed up with Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir and Riesling.