5 Emerging Fine Wine Regions

It’s an exciting time to be alive. Entrepreneurship is on the rise, there are more millionaires (and billionaires) than ever, and technology is moving forward faster than ever imagined possible. What seemed improbable, even impossible, just five years ago is now par for the course. Take our wine investment app as a case in point – thanks to the changing face of investment, we have been able to build a stress-free journey that will take you from being a wine newbie to being an investor in just a few clicks.

And how have we managed to do this? Thanks to the emergence of three things: One, high-level opportunities, two, talent and three, thinking outside of the box. Which got us thinking. If we have built a successful app through the emergence of hard work and opportunity, what other areas has this affected? Or, to put it another way, in a saturated market, how can we find innovation? Do changing times also mean that we need to consider established industries in the same way?

Why Are New Wine Regions Emerging?

We have all heard about Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone Valley as being the main wine regions in France. Then of course we have Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy, Northern Calfornia over the pond and to some extent Spain, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. However, terroir in these regions is phenomenally expensive, making it very hard for any new innovation to take place. This stranglehold that producers have held on the market has long been a problem, for both the existing producer and the emerging one. Estates that already own terroir cannot really expand (unless they have huge injections of cash) and it is nigh impossible to start a new label for younger, less connected winemakers.  

But, there is a but. Global warming. A 2019 report published by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) confirmed by NASA that 2010 to 2019 was the hottest decade since record-keeping began 140 years ago. The analysis also revealed that 2019 was the second hottest year ever recorded and that ocean temperatures were the highest they’ve ever been. While this spells disaster for the planet with the seemingly neverending slew of wildfires, floods and hurricanes, it could mean good news for the fine wine industry. 

As the planet heats up, Northern Hemisphere countries such as Denmark, Norway and Sweden have started to catch the interests of the industry. The warmer weather has not only brought new potential to the market but also means that established producers can experiment with longer growing seasons.

Let’s do the maths. The world’s most popular vine Vitis vinifera needs very specific growing conditions to thrive. Rather like Goldilocks and her porridge, conditions must not be too hot or too cold, and unless they are “just right”, the vine will shut down and won’t bear any fruit. These conditions include a temperature range between -1 and 10 degrees Celsius (or 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit) and must not be exposed to extreme conditions. Once the vine is established, then it develops certain hardiness to deal with hotter/colder temperatures although too far in either direction will damage even an already existing vine. 

The effects of climate change have thus opened the eyes of the industry to countries that are in the same latitude as the traditional wine-making regions but have been hitherto too hot or too cold to be considered. This thinking also extends to countries that are already entrenched in winemaking – Provence on France’s South Coast is slowly beginning to move away from the cheap and cheerful rose wines that adorn everyone’s summer picnics, toward more a complex product, worthy of being kept on the watch list if you are an investor.

One such producer who has invested in a non-traditional wine region is Klaus Peter Keller of German Reisling and Pinot Noir fame. Along with his wife and former apprentice, Keller planted a vineyard in Kristiansand, Norway, in 2008. Keller explained, ‘We started this project and thought it was for the next generation and 10 years later we had two vintages where it was possible to harvest ripe Riesling grapes.’ Although yields were tiny – picking and destemming was done by hand, and grapes were pressed in an apple press – the results were surprising. ‘The juice tasted good, he said in an interview with Decanter magazine in 2018, ‘Like Grünhaus in the ’70s. I directly fell in love with it.’ Upon greater research of the area, he discovered that, should current climate trends continue, it would be possible to plant Riesling from 2050 onwards in Norway and perhaps even further north. A sobering thought that, according to Keller, is both ‘beautiful and frightening at the same time.’

Keller’s experiment is perhaps the only success story so far – for the most part, other results have not been good. However, it has proved that, rather like our app, through hard work and opportunity come new possibilities.

We look at the top five emerging wine countries that were previously thought unsuitable for fine wine that are making it on our watch list.


Sales of still wine have risen 60% in Poland in the last decade, making the country the fifth-largest consumer. This increasing wine drinking population is caused by greater disposable income and an opening to outside influences from the rest of Europe. In fact, the country consumed 117 million litres in 2019, a very similar volume to other European markets such as Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium. 

But what of the industry on the other side of the glass? Poland once had a thriving fine wine culture, and this renewed interest in wine drinking has led to a renaissance in wine-growing. During the much warmer Middle Ages, the country’s climate was ideal for wine growing. The weather was warm and sunny, allowing grapes to ripen easily. Temperatures were sufficiently cool to produce delicious dry, crisp wine. However, over time, as the country became cooler and the political situation became more challenging, wine production was no longer possible. Tastes and the country’s economy meant that beer and spirits took over. Any wine that was drunk was exclusively imported.

Poland is today seeing a return to its former glory. The rise of global temperatures has allowed Polish wine producers to replant their long-forgotten terroir, which is still rife with minerals. Temperatures may have risen – this is still Poland after all, and while the harsh winters might not be as harsh as they once were, they are by no means balmy. Grapes planted here are thus primarily hardy hybrids such as Solaris and Rondo but also Regent, which ages very well in French oak. These grapes are ideal as they ripen early, thus escaping the freezing temperatures of winter. Plantings of Pinot Noir are becoming more popular too. Most of the plantings are in the south of the country, although there is one notable exception on the north coast. The country has 200 hectares under vine, but experts predict that this could rise to 1,000 in the near future, should the current trend continue. 


The Land of the Rising Sun may be traditionally associated with whiskey, but we have long considered Japan a country worth knowing about when it comes to fine wine. The culture of winemaking goes back to at least the 16th century, with the arrival of Jesuit missionaries from Portugal. A report written by the Secretary to the British Legation in Yedo in 1869 depicts “a number of vines, trained on horizontal trellis frames, which rested on poles at a height of 7 or 8 feet from the ground”, confirming that production was indeed being cultivated. However, the drink was not well received by local palettes, and wine’s unpopularity, coupled with a deadly bout of phylloxera in 1884 all but wiped out the fledgling industry. 

Japanese terroir is not traditionally thought of as good for wine growing. The country does not benefit from the hours of sunshine that some places do, plus the soil is very rich and contains a lot of water. This makes growing Vitis vinifera vines (used for Merlot and Chardonnay) very challenging. Hokkaido, in the north of the country, has started experimenting with moderate success with Pinot Noir, and we believe that the future looks promising. Today Japan’s winemaking industry’s greatest success story is undoubtedly Koshu – a French-Asian hybrid pink-skinned grape that produces tart, light and refreshing white wines.

The Netherlands

Holland is another example of a country that once had a thriving wine industry that is in need of resurrection. Vines have been cultivated in The Netherlands since Roman times, mostly around the area of Maastricht – in fact, the first official record of vines in Holland dates from 968. However, because of the unfavourable Dutch weather coupled with limited knowledge, little skill and subpar equipment (not to mention the many wars the country endured), viticulture has all but disappeared by the 1940s.  

Until recently, Dutch wine was a rare oddity. While still light years behind neighbouring France’s  745,044 hectares under vine, the country has increased its holdings from 80 to 240 hectares. In case you need to put that into perspective, Holland’s international airport Schipol covers 2,700 hectares, making it the second biggest in Europe. Dutch viticulturists are learning from chilly wine regions such as Alsace and Champagne, and are trying to recreate the same success. Results are moderate for now, but they are certainly gaining a certain amount of traction. British wine guru Jancis Robinson has even given her blessing by saying that Dutch wines are now better than their British counterparts, so the country must be doing something right. Expect cold-hardy grapes such as Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Kerner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sylvaner for white wine, and Cabernet Franc, Famay, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and St. Laurent for reds. Hybrid grapes such as Rondo and Solaris are also flourishing.  


Never has a country been more maligned and mocked than England for its wine. While there is no doubt that the Brits are fully committed to consuming wine (the Brits drank an impressive 13.3 million hectolitres in 2019, making the country sixth in line to the top place), the homegrown trade was, if even mentioned in serious wine drinking circle, often met with a rather scathing comment. I remember my father, a noted hobby sommelier, telling a producer that his wine “didn’t travel well” when it had been brought over for him to sample from the neighbouring village. 

English wines however have long been a thing, and, rather like the plucky Brits themselves, they are a force to be reckoned with. This is the country that gave us The Queen for God’s sake, so what else can we expect from them? The Doomsday book refers to over 42 vineyards in Southern England at the end of the 11th Century proving that while English wine might not have enjoyed the success of its Fench and Italian counterparts, it has stood firm and proud for 10 centuries. 

Investors take note. English wine, notably its sparkling wine, is earning a well-deserved reputation for excellence across the globe. Champagne powerhouse Taittinger proved the country’s excellence when they purchased land in Kent on the south coast with a view to planting Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Taittinger is the first Champagne producer to jump on the English sparkling boom and invest in the country’s burgeoning wine industry, but we are sure they will not be the last. Expect sparkling wines that are lean, crisp and focused, similar to Champagnes of the late 90s-early 2000s. 


Belgium is traditionally the country of beer but don’t let that fool you. The quality of Belgian wine has increased phenomenally, while production levels have quadrupled in the past 20 years. Both Flanders and Wallonia have terroir under vine, but with incredibly low production almost exclusively for the local market, chances are that even the most enthusiastic wine buff won’t have had a chance to try a Belgian wine out of the country. There are just 185 hectares of vineyards in the country, making Belgium the world’s smallest wine producer.

Wine from Belgium is traditionally light and white, but increased temperatures have allowed producers to experiment with a more complex style of winemaking. The country is excelling in creating Burgundy-style Chardonnays (both unoaked Chablis-inspired and oaked Côte de Beaune-style wines), although these are still very seldom exported. 

While it may be some time before wines from these emerging markets make the cut for investors of fine wine, it would be foolish to dismiss them entirely. Many of these countries are experiencing a renaissance, so it would be realistic to think that quality will start to improve in the next few years. As producers start to experiment with new varietals and styles, they will also be using their great winemaking knowledge to make sure their product matches their reputation. Personally, we can’t wait. As we said – it’s a great time to be alive.

Continue reading to learn about more of the significant wine regions!

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