We are back today with the second of our 12 Secrets of Tahiti. As you all now know, there is an island in French Polynesia with no mosquitoes. And today, you’re going to learn about another island that has…a winery. Yes, you read that correctly.
The island of Rangiroa is the largest island in the Tuamotu Archipelago, and the second largest coral atoll in the world. Although highly renowned for its world-class diving, snorkeling, and deep sea fishing, not many thought of it as the ideal place to grow grapes – until Dominique Auroy. Now, a quick glance at the history books will remind you that Tahiti is still a French territory, with many of their citizens born in France. So it seems only natural that at some point a French winemaker would make his or her way down to Tahiti.
Which is exactly what happened in the 1990’s. However, it took extensive research and trial and error to find a region that would support the growth of the grapes that had been imported in from France and Italy. Over 100 different grape varietals were planted on five of the islands before ultimately selecting their current location on a coral islet in Rangiroa, making it the only vineyard that is located on a coral atoll in the world. In order to properly produce the wines, over 200 tons of soil had to be imported so that the vines could be planted. Growing in a region where there is no cold season creates a unique problem as well. The team has to control the growth cycle through pruning which leads to two harvests per year, one in May and one in November.
The actual vineyard is located on a small islet accessible only by boat. In fact, this is the only winery in the world where the grapes have to be transported via canoe when they are harvested! Vin de Tahiti began production with 800 bottles of wine per year and has grown to an impressive annual production of 40,000 bottles per year. They produce 4 different types of wine – two whites, a rosé, and a dessert wine. Their most popular white, the Blanc de Corail, has even won the silver medal twice at the Vinalies Internationales in Paris.
Although the vineyard is not open to the public, there is a winery in the village of Avatoru on Rangiroa where travelers can go to taste and sample Vin de Tahiti. The wine is also served at many of the local hotels either at the restaurants or in your room upon arrival. So if you’re looking for a unique girls’ trip, or want to experience a side of Tahiti unlike Bora Bora or the more popular island destinations, we suggest you check out Rangiroa. Nothing ends a day spent snorkeling and diving in the sun better than the taste of a crisp white wine.
Learn more about Rangiroa here. And if you have been fortunate enough to try this unique wine, let us know what you thought in the comments below!