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Can You Call It Paradise Without Wine?


When most people think of a winery, they think of endless farmland, twisted vines, and clustered fruit. Not Boeing-777s. Not reminders of the slave trade. And certainly not the Caribbean.

But on Curacao’s largest former plantation, with the Hato International Airport’s runways less than a mile away, sits the Curacao Winery. Three-foot, slave-built walls delineate its old corrals. It’s the first winery on the island and one of the first in the Caribbean. One winery in the Dominican Republic has just popped its corks, and another is set to open on St. John.

The Curacao Winery completed its first harvest this past November and prepares to release its inaugural bottles this April. What was once thought impossible—growing quality wine grapes in the Caribbean—is being attempted. Rare microclimates scattered across the vast archipelago, with just the right combination of heat, breeze, and sunshine, are now thought to have the right recipe for yielding drinkable tempernillos, cabernet sauvignon, and a few other varietals.

Read the full story, originally published on January 13, 2016, on Roads & Kingdoms.