Who knew that Jordan produced wine? Not me. What’s even more exciting is that this particular winery is completely organic (and certified organic)! No big deal for people who have access to Whole Foods, but for me here, this is huge!
We went wine tasting today at St. George’s Winery, near the Syrian border (literally steps away), about an hour outside of Amman. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was surprised by a gem in the midst of nowhere.
- We pulled up in front of the estate on the property, a fairly large home (tasting room?) and were welcomed in by friendly staff. The interior of the home was set up for the wine tasting followed by lunch. In the backyard was a beautiful and inviting swimming pool, which we were invited to use after lunch.
The tour of the grounds began next to the pool in front of a large pond (or water containment area) used for irrigating the vines. The tour guide explained that the pond (fed from wells below ground) contains over 55,000 fish (some koi, some carp). The fish produce nitrate in the water, which they use to irrigate the fields. The fish, along with many other biodiversity techniques are used throughout the operation: to keep the birds out of the grapes, they brought in falcons and owls; chickens are used to aerate the ground and to dig up worms; doves are also used to eat worms that attack the grapes; (they brought something else in to keep the foxes from eating the chickens, but I can’t remember what he said).
After our brief introduction to the winery, we walked us through rows and rows of vines, sampling Muscat, Pinot noir, Shiraz, Chardonnay, and lots of other grapes right off the vine. Planted alongside the vines are rosemary, sage, and mint– all natural insect repellents and on the ground of each row is barley to extract salt from the soil.
After the tour, we returned back to the main house and were treated to nine wines: 4 whites, one rose, and 4 reds and a fantastic lunch (As a side note, I was shocked to see the rose had 16% alcohol! ) Unfortunately, there was no gift shop–something they need to get working on.
Here’s a link to a CNN piece on St. George’s Winery.