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France | Spain | Italy | Australia | Canada | Moldova | Washington State | China

Where should we go on a holiday this year, or next ? This is the most frequently asked question in the world. And sometimes, the most frequently unanswered. The answer, however, is easy; go to places where they have the best quality wines on Earth. Now you are left with a much larger problem than the former… There are so many great wines, winerys and wine country's across the planet that you could spend your whole life discovering them.

Because I am only human and do not posess immortality, I am fortunate to have a good - paying job -, that allows me to buy fine wines worldwide. I enjoy tasting a wide variety of different wines. During the summer' holiday's we will go to our caravan and sip these wines on a warm summer's evening while the sun sets. Wine, however is not seasonal. During the winter, we lay down in front of the fire place listening to soft romantic music enjoying a glass of the world's finest. All those marvellous wines can be bought in the wonderful country of Holland were we are still safe and free.

Where do you find these wine country's, vinyards and winerys and how do they make wines. Who are the people behind the bottles we buy in the wine stores? The answers to these questions and others lye in the world links below. There you can explore the wonderful world of wine, and read about winemakers and vinyards. Do you have a wine experience or a winestory? If so please send it to me and I will place it on this site so more people can enjoy it !


There is not much left of the former Bourgondy dukedom except the name and pleasant memories. You can see the recollection in the museum 'Palais Ducale' in the capital-city of the dukedom, Dijon. The name still lives on in the Bourgondy wine-region in that blessed patch of ground in the east of France.

All great Bourgondy-wines are made from just two different kinds of grapes: Pinot Noir for the red and Chardonnay for the white wines. One who would expect a uniform tatse and smell of these wines would be greatly suprised. The diversity of Bourgondy is enormous whitch can be attributed to the discord of the vineyards. For instance, in the Bordeaux region the extensive and chained vineyards belong to just one wine grower, Whereas the situation in Bourgondy is almost the direct opposite. A wine grower will have one hectare here, a fourth part there, a patch of ground and a rowe vine-branches somewhere else. Therefor the Pommard from vine grower can differ substantially from his neighbor.

Bourgondy wines are practically never heavy, but rather fine and elegant. They have a rich and widespread bouquet, that indulges to satisfy the nose. Bourgondy wines are excellent 'table' wines ( wines that accompany a good meal and enjoy the good things of the globe).


Spain (or Reino de España), with a suface area of 504.782 km² and 39.568.000 citizens located at a large plateau ( de meseta ) at a moderate hight of 650 meters. Who does'nt know of this splendid country where the sun shines on the vast surface of the beach and the sangria flows like mountain streams.Where people and couples in love throw parties and celebrate until the break of dawn enjoying and relaxing during their summer holidays.

What if you talk to a wine lover about Spain ?....You will hear of places deep in the inlands of this fantastic patch of earth in whitch the region Rioja becomes the topic of discussion. The wines in this region are most praiseworthy and known to be the best wine from Spain, whitch can bear comparison with the many great Bordeaux wines. Of course there is no real comparison as each individual wine has its own unique characteristics despite the fact that vinification is very simular for each. The Rioja wines are firm and yet at the same time they have a elegant structure that is generally full of vitality at a high age.

Spain is also the country that is famous for sherry.

If you look a little more to the north you will see that sinds Spaine's entry into the EC in 1986, the reputation and quality of many wines in more wine regions has grown to a surprisingly high level. Therefor there is even more under the sun than the Rioja.

Names to remember are : Rueda, Priorata, Navarra and La Mancha.

The only thing that seperates the relatively closely located Rioja and Navarra regions is the Ebro river. there is still a distinct difference however in the taste and composition of the wines as the acidity of it is a predominant factor in the Navarra wines.

La Mancha is from ancient times well known by the nobleman Don Quichot, who fought the windmills in this region together with his servant Sancho Panza. The tale is dated from the 17'th century and even in this time they produced wine in La Mancha. At that time the wine was held in leather bags rather than bottles so you can imagine the quality of the wine in contrast to today's criteria. The present La Mancha wines are soft as velvet and are normaly sold after a fiew years of bottle aging .

In the south west with respect to the Rioja region you will find the Rueda region situated near the Duero river. Here, they have evene the score over the last few years producing splendid wines with notcieable improvement in quality. More to the south east you will find the Priorata region where exceptional wines are cultivated. This will completes the row of the above Spanish suppliers of wines.

Spain has a wide difference in climate types, The Meseta has an almost continental climate with vast differences in temperature between summer and winter. The north and north west has mild winters and moderately warm summers, the east coast has a mediterranean climate while in the south you can compare its climate with that of north Africa, where you have extremely hot summers and moderated or mild winters. All of this will give Spanish wines great diversity and difference in each particular opportunity....and there is a wide choice for anyone's taste.

Spain, the country of sun, sea, and wine.


The largest island of the world and at the same time the smallest continent. Its isolated position, came to be over 150.000.000 years ago when a great land mass broke loose from the supercontinent Gondwana, that wash forming a whole with Afrika, South Amerika, the Indian subcontinent and Antarctica. Almost three quarters of the land from this continent is a extensive plateau with a moderate height of about 300 meters above sea-level. The central area is a lowland about 150 meters above sea level. Australia has a unique flora and fauna, with innumerable species of plants and animals to be found. Today, almost all species are know, but you can imagine the curiousity and excitement of British scientists at the discovery of the kangaroo. It is comparable to that of Neil Armstrong first setting foot on on the moon.

The first official function of the new colony was a simple one: Australia became a prison. Heavy criminal were given a choice of immediate death in England, or being shipped to Australia to serve there life centence of penal servitude. The tales about the newly discovered continent were so horrifying that some of the convicted preferred to be hanged in England ! (wasn't that stupid...)

The new governors commited so many awful crimes with the help of the criminals that today's aborigens are still filled with indignation. Present-day Australia is a parlementary monarchy in the British Commonwealth and the crown is represented by the Governor-general. Since 1986 the Commonwealth of Australia has formed a alliance that connects the island of Tasmania and some oversea areas. One thing understood in those days, however, was, that Australia was perfectly suited for cultivation of win. The English have been lovers of a good glass of wine since the beginning of time and in that respect, they were dependent on France... whith whome they had an everlasting debt. So they shipped their best European grape-variatys from England to Australia, where they prospered marvellously.

Those same varieties are still planted in the wine regions of Ausralia today: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. These are just a few samples of the international grape-sorts. The pioneer spirit of the Australians has had great impactin the leading role of wine-growing and viniculture-technical development. This is even admitted though done so reluctantly, by the French. The modern technology together with fantastic summers and respect for traditional viniculture, yields wines of the highest level with great attention to a characteristic style.

Australian wines are powerful, fruity, and they have a broad, rich taste with an almost downy character. Most kinds you can easily drink after only a few years, but the best kinds are able to mature for many years, after whitch they develop perfectly. They fit nicely with hearty meals such as red meat or fish but they are less suitable to discerning dishes. One thing Australian wines dos'nt have namely fleet footednes. For that purpose the well known wine-growing regions Hunter Valley or Barossa Valley are just too hot and too sunny.


DESTINATION: Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Prime time for wine

You can taste the fun as the Okanagan celebrates the grape harvest


Edmonton Sun

Great views reward visitors who take the time to visit B.C. winemakers. Wine-producing regions of Canada are thriving tourist destinations, where visitors learn about and sample the "nectar of the gods." And Albertans are lucky to have a top wine-making area within a day's drive, in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. (Kelowna, the centre of that region, is about 900 km from Edmonton by road.) B.C.'s best-known wine-growing areas are the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys in the central and southern part of the province, the coastal areas of the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. Most Canadian wine is produced in Ontario (80%), but some of the best comes from B.C., where 30 Okanagan wineries make 95% of B.C.'s wine. The first vines in B.C. were planted in the 1860s near Kelowna. Along the Okanagan Wine Route between Osoyoos in the south, Keremeos in the west and Vernon in the north are about two dozen wineries to visit, all offering free or low-cost samples and, of course, the opportunity to purchase more of what you just sampled. (Most of those wines will display the VQA label - which means Vintners' Quality Alliance, Canada's answer to the rigid classification and quality controls displayed on European wine bottles.) Picnic spots are provided by several wineries, but generally no food is vailable on their premises. So bring your own, including the delicious fresh fruits that are available in the fall in markets and stalls along B.C. highways.  

When to go?

Any time in the fall - grape harvest time - is great, but for more fun and variety, the annual Okanagan Wine Festival is Oct. 3-12 this year. The festival features open houses, wine tastings and special dinners - a total of 120 events, including an old-fashioned grape-stomping contest to be held in Kelowna's city park. You can compete with other teams in squeezing your own juice. If you're visiting Ontario, its top wine regions are the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Pelee Island. All three invite visitors to their picturesque areas and welcome those who want to explore the vineyards and wineries along auto and bike routes. Again, this is best done in the fall, but it's available year-round - as it is in B.C. Influenced by two Great Lakes and the Niagara Escarpment that temper the winter cold and summer heat, southern Ontario produces 80% of Canada's wine. There are more than 30 wineries, many near Niagara-on-the-Lake. Several offer fine dining, including Hillebrand's Vineyard Cafe, Cave Springs' On the Twenty and the Vineland Estates Restaurant. The latest is Strewn Estate Winery, which opened this summer in a former fruit-canning plant and has a regional cooking school, in keeping with the current trend towards culinary and wine-appreciation vacations. Usually, programs highlight food and wine from a region's orchards, farms and vineyards. The celebration of the harvest takes place at the Niagara Grape and Wine Festival, including parades, grape stomping and fireworks. The Ontario Wine Council has free maps and brochures. Call 1-888-5-WINERY.


Who doesn´t know Italy; perhaps it is just from school, where you looked at the worldmap and you recognized directly a typical bootform. Although almost nobody knows it, but Italy is the number three winecountry of the world. The wineproduction has a volume of one fifth in the world, and the quality of the wines, are worthy of mention for the last 20 to 25 years . When you are visiting Italy often, you know that almost every Italian has someone in his family who makes wine, mostly for own consumption. I am aquainted with an Italian livving in Holland who imports grapes from Italy, and he knows how to make a delisius fruity wine out of it. At each meal there is a bottle of self made wine on the table, that is enjoyed by the whole family. When you look at the map of Italy in a birds-eye view you can split the country in twenty wine-regions. The North-West: Lomardije, Ligurië, Piemonteen Valle d´Aosta. The North-East: Emilia-Romagna, Giulia, Fruili-Venezia, Veneto and Alto Adige. The region Toscane is familiar with as capital Florance and the Island Elba. In the middle of the boot we find Umbrië, Marche, Latium, Abruzzo and the Molise. And in the South we find the area around Napels and the islands Sicilië and Sardinie.

The real wine lovers doesn't difine Italy just as a boot full of wine. They just have there reasons. From the old days the Greeks called Italy "Oenotria" which means literally wineland where the wine grapes are growing high up in the air. On eatch practicable piece of land they planted a vine, and by succes, through which from the cool Piemonte till the dry plain landscape of Sicilië they made and still are making many different sorts of wonderful wine. The many sunhours vary from 2500 hours in the North untill 5000 hours in the outmost of the South.

If you cross the Switzerland border to Italy, than you notice directly, the typical unconcerned and light-hearted Italian attitude. The roads become more disorderly, and the houses are standing criss-cross planted through the country. The lorry-traffic takes more time here than for instance in Holland, but the individuale motorist turn into formule 1 drivers. The temperament of the people the relaxing blue air and the varying of the green of the landscape; will be found in the wines. About the quality there was no doubt, because there was wine, everywhere and always, and still there is planty, so why should you wory. A good thing is that they did everything to it the last few years to put quality on the table. Since the wineconstitution of 1963 there is more clearing in this confusion. They made a clasification of three categories, following to the old France principale. So do we now know the Vino di Tavola, this one falls outside the wines regulations of the D.O.C district, a simple origin denomination without quality demands. D.O.C, Denominazione di Origine Cotrollata, is a quality seal that a winefarmer can apply at the legislator. D.O.C.G, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, this is at the moment the highest quality, and will be supplied by the legislation of 1992 with the I.G.T., Indicazione Geografice Tipische.

To make a choice in the greatest winecellar of the world is at least a pleasure, because by area there are excellent quality wines which belong to the top. The value of these wines is also for the Italians not forgotten, because the price of a bottle quality wine is raised strongly. And on top of that, for the export of these wines you must provide your own market. The remnant of top wines and the great part of cheaper, average wines are going abroad. Apart from that all local and regional wines I have tasted where from very good quality.

A few typical Italian wines:

  • Barolo and Barbaresco from Piemonte, both made of the Nebiolo grape. The Barolo is a muscular black ruby red wine, and the Barbaresco has some more flavour and is more stylisher. In the North you can find the brachetto d'Acqui van Ricaldone, a light alcoholic wine (5%) with a fine aromatic taste of sweet fresh fruit. there are also sparkling wines red and white.
  • Terre di Franciacorte from Lombardy. The red made wine is a composition of the Barbera, Merlot Carbernet-frank and Nebiolo grapes. It is a very fruity wine, with the taste of berries and red fruit, and a spicy caracter and tones of pepper. The white and sparkling wines are normaly made of Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay grapes Visit also the website of Antica Cantina Riccifana in Cologne, where they make perfect Franciacorta wines, a family tradition which goes back untill the year 1400. I have tasted all Riccafana wines during my visit to Italy , and I certainly can recommend these wonderful wines.
  • Lambrusco di Sorbara, from the North area of Modena, a light sparkling wine with a dry grape fruity flavour, made of the Sangioves grape.
  • Chianti Classico from Toscane, this wine exists three times of Sangioves and the rest of the Canaiolo grape. It is preferable to drink this wine young, with it´s fresh and dry fruity taste.
  • Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi from Marche, a white made wine of the Verdicchio grape, and it has a flavour of fresh apple, lemon and something of nuts.
  • Salice Salentino from Apulië. Is a ruby heavy wine, which is made of the Primitivo and the Aglianico grape. This a very flavoury wine with a lot of fruit and dark undertones.


Wine Collections, Cellars and Underground Towns

Moldovan cellars and wine collections are one of the country’s main assets, as they conserve and illustrate the nation’s long history of vine growing and wine production. As generations change wines remain a constant, a symbol of the country’s richness, quality products and history. The collections in many wine cellars are a testament to the hard work and traditions of people over the years. Vintage, so-called "collection" wines, and Moldovan "divines" or fortified wines, when stored in ancient cellars, caverns or underground caves and galleries, mature slowly in the dark at constant low temperatures. They develop subtle bouquets and flavours: the golden colours of white wines and the ruby and brick reds, as well as the aromas of freshly wood-baked bread, dried fruits and herbs. A taste of dill in an old Traminer or a dry Muscat, a taste of honeycomb in the dessert wines, like Gratiesti, Nectar, Trifesti, Trandafirul Moldovei, Auriu, and Moldovan Muscat. An old Cahor bears the taste and aroma of chocolate, coffee, dried prunes and black cherry jam.

Tourists and visitors can choose to visit any of 15 collections of vintage wines and "divines". Among the most famous and valuable are: Cricova, Milestii Mici, Cojusna, Stauceni (The National Winegrowing and Wine-making College), Chisinau (The National Institute of Wine and Vineyards, "VISMOS", "Aroma"), Ialoveni, Balti, Peresecina, Hincesti, Taraclia, Comrat, Borceag, Ciumai and Tiraspol.

The quantities stored in these cellars vary from 10-50 thousand to 1 million bottles of selected vintage wines and "divines".
In Cricova’s old wine collection, for example, you will be able to discover a Jewish kosher wine, dating from 1902. Also at Cricova visitors will see a part of Ghering’s collection, dating from before the Second World War, and also many wines from the 50’s. Collectors are able to buy many other rare wines as souvenirs.

At Cricova and Milestii Mici visitors walk down real streets in an underground town, situated at a depth of between 30 and 150 meters. The total length of the cavern streets is 100 km (Cricova) and 50 km (Milestii Mici). These underground streets have names just like towns at ground level, appropriately taken from wines – Cabernet, Aligote, Feteasca and so on.

Links to Moldovan wine:

  • Viticulture and Wine-making in Moldova Today
  • Vermouths. Balsamic Wines and Sherries (Heres)
  • Traditions and Legends
  • The Poetry of Sparkling Wine
  • "Divine" (cognac) production
  • Cricova Acorex
  • Selection of Moldovan wine
  • USA:

    Washington Wine Country

    Quality, diversity, value, innovation, spirit, homegrown and community describe the Washington state wine industry, the nation's second largest producer of premium wines. The wine industry, a $2.4 billion industry, is made up of more than 240 wineries, 300 wine grape growers and 29,000 vineyard acres. Production of Washington wines has more than doubled over the past decade making wine grapes the state's fourth largest fruit crop. Washington wines can be found worldwide in all 50 states and more than 40 countries. An example of the high quality Washington wines are the perfect balanced wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle from Columbia Valley.

    Washington State's northerly latitude averages more daily sunlight - 17.4 hours (two hours more than California's prime growing region) - allowing wine grapes to fully ripen. Warm temperatures throughout the day and cool nights allow the fruits' natural acids to remain high, creating richly flavored and well-balanced wines. An perfect example of the high quality Washington wines are these of - Chateau Ste. Michelle - (founded in 1934) from Columbia Valley which I have tasted during a wine tasting in the city of Amsterdam.

    Washington State Appellations

    The region is made of five major American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) - Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Columbia Valley, Puget Sound and Red Mountain -

    YAKIMA VALLEY - established 1983

    • Washington State's first appellation includes more that 40 wineries.
    • 10,000 vineyard acres (4,047 hectares), over one third of Washington's vineyards.
    • Most widely planted grape is Chardonnay, followed by Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
    • Riesling and Syrah represent significant acreage, with Syrah in particular on the rise.
    • Silt-loam soils predominate.
    • 190 day growing season with annual precipitation of approximately 8 inches (20 cm).

    WALLA WALLA VALLEY - established 1984

    • Walla Walla has more than 40 wineries and more than 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of vineyards.
    • Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading varietal with Merlot, Chardonnay and Syrah the other predominant varieties.
    • Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese are also represented.
    • Loess derived soils which are essentially unconsolidated, unstratified calcareous silt.
    • Growing season of 190 to 220 days with annual rainfall averaging 12.5 inches (32 cm) per year.

    COLUMBIA VALLEY - established 1984

    • Washington's largest viticultural region, covering almost 11 million acres (4,451,700 hectares) representing a full third of Washington State's land mass.
    • More than 17,000 vineyard acres (6,880 hectares) of wine grapes planted and approximately 15 wineries.
    • Columbia Valley's vast size allows for a number of meso and micro-climates.
    • Vineyards planted on predominately south-facing slopes, increasing solar radiation in summer and promoting air drainage in winter.
    • Merlot is the most widely planted varietal, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
    • Riesling and Syrah are also planted in significant quantities.
    • Growing season of 180-200 days with annual rainfall averaging 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm).
    • Columbia Valley contains Red Mountain and both the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys within its borders.

    PUGET SOUND - established 1995

    • More than 80 vineyard acres (32 hectares) of vinifera grapes planted.
    • There are nearly 35 wineries located within the greater Puget Sound region.
    • The temperate climate rarely suffers from prolonged freezes in winter and enjoys long mild & dry summers.
    • The core area of this appellation has a growing season that is drier and sunnier than many classic wine grape growing regions in Europe.
    • Semi-permeable cemented subsoil allows the deep-rooted vinifera vines to survive the late summer soil water deficit.
    • Precipitation averages 15 inches (38cm) to 30 inches per year, mostly falling in the winter dormant season, with a growing season of over 180 days.
    • Madeleine Angevine, Siegerebbe and Muller-Thurgau are the predominant varietals.
    • Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir also show promise in this appellation.

    RED MOUNTAIN - established in 2001

    • Washington's newest appellation currently has fewer that 10 wineries.
    • 4,040 acres (1,635 hectares) situated between Benton City and Richland.
    • Over 710 vineyard acres (287 hectares) currently planted.
    • Best known for producing red varietals, Red Mountain is widely planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sangiovese.
    • Good air, drainage and light soils encourage the vines to seek nutrients via deep roots.
    • Irrigated vineyards allow growers to control vine vigor and ease vines into dormancy before winter.
    • Growing season averages 180 days with rainfall from 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) annually.
    • Red Mountain is located within the larger Yakima Valley, at its easternmost tip.


    The basic condition of China wine industry

    From: China Wine Online

    1. Wine industry is developing fast.

    As the improvement of GDP and the further communication with international culture, wine consumption in China is increasing fast and the proportion of wine to total alcoholic drinks is rising. From 1996 to 2004, wine production is from 0.17 million ton to 0.40 million ton. The development has speeded in recent two years. In 2003 production increased 13.3% and in 2004 production increased 14.7%. Now wine consumption only accounts for 1% of annual wine consumption volume, which means everyone drinks 750ML in one year and this volume is 6% of world per capital consumption. Wine industry in China has a great space to develop. According to the statistic data, now per capital consumption volume in Shanghai is 1.25kg. In Shanghai alcoholic drinks market, wine consumption is merely lower than beer consumption.

    According to the latest data released by National Statistic Bureau, in 2004 the total alcoholic drinks production is about 34.6 billion L. Spirits production is 3,1billionL, increasing 2% year-on-year; beer consumption is 29.1billion litre, increasing 15.2% year-on-year; wine consumption is 367 million litre, increasing 14.7% year-on year.

    In 2004 the sales of scale companies is about 147.87 billion RMB, profiting 10.2 billion RMB and paying taxes 22.78 billion RMB. The sales of wine is 7.43 billion, increasing 17.06% over the last year; profiting 845 million RMB, increasing 12.07%; paying taxes 930 million RMB, increasing 4.3%.

    2. Wine industry becomes more concentrated.

    In July 2004, administration banned half-juice wine and the real wine gets more market space. This action makes wine industry avoid low-price competence and paid more attention to quality. New National Standard of China wine industry will be published in this year, which will regulate raw material, region, vintage and variety strictly. The new Standard will intensify the competention. Powerful companies will get better regions and raw materials relying on its strength, while the condition of small wineries will be hard. Finally most of the raw material, market share and resources will concentrate on several big companies and oligarchiis market will be formed.
    Changyu, Greatwall and Dynasty represent first class group in domestic companies while Suntime, Tonghua and Mogao represent second-class companies. No matter in brand and market share, first class companies greatly exceed second-class groups. First class companies such as Changyu are well worth investing.

    China wine product is concentrated in several regions. There are the top ten provinces in wine production

    Total production of the top ten provinces is 326300 ton, accounting for 95% of total production.

    The wine-country's of the world


    Worldmap of winegrowing regions
    Click on the map to enlarge