From the idyllic Southern Burgenland and proud Vas County, both in Western-Pannonia, to the most northern European wine pioneers in Groesbeek and the historically rich Saale-Unstrut river landscape, trekking and tasting around in green Vipava valley, biking alongside the sweet slopes and Danube strands of Ilok-Srijem, until finding endless sun, funny people and full bodied wines in the mountains of Bullas.
The area protected by the "Bullas" Denominación de Origen is situated in the Northwest of the Murcia region and includes the towns of Bullas, Cehegín, Mula, Ricote, the high areas of Lorca and parts of the municipalities of Moratalla, Caravaca and Calasparra. Compared to other wine growing areas the vines in Bullas grow at an extremely high altitude and most of the vineyards are situated at over 600 metres above sea level. As a result this area has a unique Mediterranean climate (the average temperature is 15.6º C), where the winters are cold but short and the summers are long and hot, and even if the yearly rainfall is low (450 mm) it is still higher than the surrounding areas.
Groesbeek is a small wine village situated in the South-East of the Netherlands, near the German border. The hilly landscape of Groesbeek originated in the Ice age. The Groesbeek moraine soil has a (for Dutch standards) rare loess structure: 30 cm black soil as a top layer with an underlying layer of loess. This soil however is ideal for viticulture. Until recently, viticulture in the Netherlands wasn´t possible on a great scale. Since the mid-nineties, several new hybrid grape varieties appeared: Regent, Colonjes Cabernet, Cabernet Cortis, Pinotin, Johanniter, Riesèl, Cabernet Blanc and Helios. These varieties not only have a high degree of resistance to mildew, they also ripen very well in a temperate climate. The pioneers of viticulture in Groesbeek have been chosen for organic vineyards and thus environmentally-friendly, flavorful wines. On the basis of soil research green manures were planted in preparation for the planting of the vines. An example of this is the "Evangelische Mischung", a seed mixture which includes buckwheat, crimson clover, Alexander clover, sunflowers and Phacelia. This blend of herbs and plants not only provides a wonderful, colorful spectacle, but it also ensures fertilization of the soil and protects against diseases. The vines are planted on gently sloping south facing slopes. The new hybrid varieties, which are particularly suited for the Dutch climate, combined with the moraine soil and the passion of the winemakers, offer Groesbeek and its region the opportunity to develop this village into an exciting wine village everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.
Ilok and Srijem, the easternmost town and winegrowing region in Croatia are situated on the right bank of the river Danube where the west slopes of Fruska Gora hill falling gently to the coast. The Srijem winegrowing region is one of the largest wine-growing regions in Croatia, with a long viticulture tradition. Climatic characteristics, determined by cold winters, cool springs, hot summers and moderate autumnal seasons, make this lovely region an ideal place for the cultivation of various varieties. Constant gentle breezes and a position at the appropriate height above sea level, such as in the case of the Ilok vineyards, make this region healthy and ideal for major viticulture achievements.
The production zone covers an area of almost two hundred hectares distributed over some small valleys and a series of hills facing towards the sea. To meet the Malvasia di Bosa D.O.C. requirements vines must be cultivated no higher than 325 metres above sea level. Within these restrictions the vineyards vary greatly, although most of them are located at altitudes between 70 and 170 metres. The production area is also marked by a coastal climate which is particularly mild in winter, with mean annual temperatures ranging from a maximum of 17-18°C to a minimum of 12-13°C . In terms of terroir, the best vines are to be found in well-drained, limestone-clay soils with a significant potassium content. What really makes Malvasia di Bosa such a special wine though is the unique geography and microclimate of the Planargia region, the orientation of its valleys and their nearness to the sea. These factors not only provide the vines with ideal ventilation, they also play an important part in improving the quality and quantity of the grapes, which differ according to exposure, the layout of the vineyards and the intensity and frequency of rainfall and the predominant winds, which include the ‘mistral', levanter and, although more rarely, the north wind.
Saale-Unstrut-Gebiet is the northernmost wine-producing region in Europe and one of the smallest in Germany. Its picturesque terraced vineyards are largely centred around the Saale and Unstrut river valleys, but the region also covers mountainous areas such as Höhnstedt. This means the area has a wide variety of soils and vine types. The climate is ideal for vine growing as there is a good balance of sun and rain and the average temperature is surprisingly mild. For the majority of growers in this area wine-making is more a question of passion and pride than a simple occupation.
The Vinest Network brings together three small wine growing regions from the Vas County in Western Hungary: Kőszeg, Vaskeresztes and Oszkó. The first two fall under the wine district of Sopron that runs along the Austro Hungarian border, whereas the second lies further south in the Balaton wine area. The town of Kőszeg, situated at the foot of the Alps, has a typical sub-Alpine microclimate and a hard and clayey terroir. These two elements combine to produce full-bodied wines that are rich in acids and tannins. The village of Vaskeresztes, on the other hand, is located in the Pinka river plain at the western tip of the Vas (Iron) hill that straddles the border between Hungary and Southern Burgenland in Austria. Here the climate is milder (average temperature: 9° C) and slightly humid (annual rainfall: 700- 750 mm). Compared to these regions, the village of Oszkó is a relatively unknown wine-producing area, but, nevertheless, viticulture is an essential element of local life and every family has its own vineyard and typical thatched, oak log wine press. The climate is drier here too and the soil is more suitable for white wines.
The Vipava valley wine region lies midway between Trieste and Ljubljana. This delightful corner of South-West Slovenia is a highly varied geographical areaNot surprisingly its climate mirrors its varied terrain with a unique blend of mild Mediterranean and continental Alpine temperaturesthat produce some very special grapes indeed. Viticulture is, in fact, the main agricultural sector in this fertile valley (60%) and vines cover over 3000 acres of its total area (350 km²). The small, family-based vineyards are mainly concentrated on terraces in the higher areas where the excellent soil allows both white and red varieties to be cultivated as well as a number of rarities to tempt any connoisseur.
The mild climate and rich soil in Southern Burgenland make it an ideal wine-producing area. The growers have always jealously guarded the distinctive regional characteristics of their wines, and recently they have even produced a series of guidelines to define their uniqueness. In Southern Burgenland, producing fine wine is a matter of local pride and wine connoisseurs the world over agree on the superb results their commitment achieves.