The grapes are grown at nearly 11,700 feet above sea level.

By Mike Pomranz
October 03, 2018
Prasad Kholkute/Getty Images

Wine aficionados love to talk about the importance of terroir. Now, if you’re searching for the highest terroir, the world has a new king. For the first time ever, Guinness World Records has awarded the title of “world’s highest vineyard,” and the designation has gone to a vineyard in a country you probably haven’t tasted many wines from… Tibet.

At 11,690 feet above sea level (officially 3,563.31 meters or over 2.2 miles high), the “Pure Land & Super-High Altitude Vineyard” in Cai Na Xiang, Qushui County of Lhasa, Tibet, has been certified as operating at the highest altitude. The vineyard, which was planted in 2012, reportedly occupies about a quarter-square-mile of land on the Tibet Plateau and features 11 different grape varieties from the well-known Muscat to the far more unique Bei Bing Hong, an indigenous variety used in ice wine.

As expected, growing grapes in such a high-altitude location wasn’t easy. According to Decanter, Rong Shun Biotechnology Development Ltd., the owner of the vineyard, tried a number of locations before landing the Cai Na area, which, interestingly enough, apparently means “source of vegetables.” “We soon realized that viticultural know-how from lower-altitude vineyards was useless when it came to planting vines on the high altitude areas of the Tibet Plateau,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Despite their struggles, however, the company also said it’s hoping to expand the size of the vineyard tenfold over the next four years, as well as adding production and wine tourism facilities. It’s certainly a stop that would look pretty impressive on your list of wine travels.

However, if altitude is all you’re after, you don’t necessarily have to head all the way to Tibet to drink a wine with a similar two-mile-high pedigree. As The Drinks Business points out, Argentinian winery Bodegas Colomé has a vineyard in the Salta region that is about 3,111 meters (or 1.93 miles) above sea level… and you can find their Malbec at Total Wine & More for 20 bucks.

Advertisement