As tensions heighten in the Falklands, Argentinian vineyard sends grapes to English winemakers to produce unique cross-border vintage.
Amid the diplomatic sabre-rattling overshadowing the anniversary of the Falkland’s war, there is one area of Anglo-Argentinian relations we can all raise a glass to.
British and Argentinean vineyards have responded to the crisis by forming a unique collaboration to ‘make wine not war.’
In what even the producers admitted was a ‘madcap’ idea, two tonnes of grapes were transported 7,000 miles from a red wine vineyard on the foothills of the Argentinian Andes to a sparkling white wine producer in the Home Counties.
Chapel Down winery in Tenterden, Kent has now created 1,300 bottles the world’s first cross-border wine created from foreign grapes imported to the UK which will be available later this month.
Andrew Maidment, European head of wines of Argentina, said: ‘The wine industry is all about collaboration but nothing like this has ever been done before.
‘When I approached the British wine makers, they said ‘It sounds completely crazy but we’ll give it a go.’
It’s something unique which makes it very exciting.
‘It was also a big risk though – we didn’t know what was going to happen with it whether it would be a fantastic bottle or whether it would be undrinkable.’
Staff from Chapel Down visited the vineyard in Mendoza, which lies 3,500 ft above sea level, last April and chose the grapes they wanted harvested which had to be flown to the UK within five days to keep them fresh.
Mr Maidment said: ‘It was very important was that, while the grapes came from Argentina, this wine wasn’t made by Argentina.
‘It was produced completely by the British vineyard, with no one telling them what to do.
It’s a bit of a madcap idea, but it worked as a celebration of the two industries working together.
‘It wasn’t conceived with anything political in mind, but in the current climate I think everyone would be happier to have people making wine than making war.’
After a year of production, the Chapel Down Malbec red is now complete and Mr Maidment described it ‘elegant and not too in your face.’
‘It’s got an Argentinian influence but is unmistakably restrained English style. I’m really happy with it.
‘It’s a fusion of the two countries but is truly English, very elegant, young and fresh.
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