by Jill Barth for USA TODAY 10Best

How some of the best wine is made on European islands

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From the shores of Sicily to the coasts of Corsica, you'll find gorgeous seaside vineyards producing unique, top-shelf wines. Get to know five of these tempting island wine regions.


On this Greek island, growers cultivate assyrtiko grape vines into low-to-the-ground basket shapes called koulara, a method designed to shelter the fruit from strong island wind and sun.

Volcanic eruptions are the source of the vineyard terroir. And grapes are moistened from sea fog which rolls in at night, while a revitalizing wind called meltemia keeps the plants fresh and limits disease.


With an eye toward authenticity, many growers are reaching back in time, populating vineyards with ancient grapes in addition to the flagship grillo and nero d’avola.

They’re cultivating grapes such as catarratto, inzolia and frappato rather than international varieties that had previously watered down the fidelity of Sicilian wine.


This French island is full of diverse earth, comprised of various soils including limestone, clay, volcanic, sandstone and granite.

Similar to the hillside flora found in the south of mainland France, Corsica’s terroir is peppered with maquis, an herbal mashup that delivers aromatics to the wine. 


Bogdanusa, which translates to 'gift from God,' is a grape native to the island, and plavac mali, a Dalmatian relative of zinfandel, thrives here.

The ancient Greeks led the winemaking way, and now Hvar is stitched with low stone walls and terraces delineating various growing regions.


After a devastating volcanic eruption in the 1700s caused inhabitants to rethink farming methods, they turned to wine grapes which thrive in the ashy soil.

The malvasía volcánica grape is the hometown variety in Lanzarote, and black soil vineyards are a series of hollowed-out nooks which are horseshoed by a shelter of stone bricks.

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