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Winemakers from different countries were recently asked to share where in the world they’d love to work. Not surprisingly, celebrated spots like Tuscany and Barolo in Italy and Burgundy and Bordeaux in France were ranked high on the list compiled by

Survey responses centred largely on European regions. Hawkes Bay and Central Otago in New Zealand and California were the few viticultural areas selected outside of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Canadian winemaker Ann Sperling, who makes wine at her family estate in the Okanagan and at Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara as well as overseeing an old vine malbec project in Mendoza, Argentina, set her sights on Tuscany.

“Not because it’s wildly famous and celebrities talk of their villas there,” says Sperling. The talented winemaker says she’s drawn to the region’s mix of small vineyard plots, spread across rolling hillsides that offer different slopes and aspects, interspersed with olives and other crops.

The region’s widescale embrace of organic grape growing and the challenges of making top-quality sangiovese were also drawing cards for Sperling, who is one of this country’s leading experts in biodynamic winemaking.

Italy was also on the radar of Dan Petroski, winemaker at Massican, a Napa winery that produces only white wines and grows Mediterranean varieties, such as tocai friulano and ribolla gialla. “I have often said that my winemaking career would never be complete if I died without making nebbiolo in Barolo,” Petroski says.

The Californian winemaker also expressed a desired to live and work in Bordeaux, which he calls one of the world’s greatest wine capitals. “The day that one of my wines makes me feel like I do when I drink Haut Brion, I will decide to leave Napa because I will have achieved everything I could here,” he says.

While it’s not surprising to hear Canadian and American winemakers single out some of the world’s finest wine regions as a dream opportunity, it’s interesting to note how many European winemakers continue to come to North America for the opportunity to work without any restrictions to which grape varieties they can farm or other regional winemaking constraints.

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