Sunday, October 16, 2011

The world's highest vineyards

We are probably about 2500 meters (8200 feet) above sea level in the above photograph. We're not far from the border with Tibet. That is the muddy Lantang River cutting through those sheer rock walls. The thin white line on the middle right–about 100 meters above the rushing river–is the main highway. It's a gravel track about one and one-half car-widths wide. Rock avalanches are frequent. But it's the only road. Yes, you can see it continue up the mountain in the background. All the while we're driving on that highway, I'm hoping our driver doesn't sneeze to distract his concentration.

And those are Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the foreground.

This is harvest in Yunnan Province of China.
This is how you get from one terrace to another. Yes, it's steep here.
Our next vineyard was at about 3000 meters (about 9800 feet). Many outsiders have troubles adjusting to the altitude.

I don't know of any vineyards in the world at a higher altitude than these in the Yunnan Province. And they're growing warm climate varietals: Cab Sauvignon and a little Merlot for a winery appropriately named ShangriLa.

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