For the most part, there is nothing really adventurous about wine travel.  You pick a wine region, choose a few wineries, and then spend the days and nights sampling the wines (and foods of the region).

The only real danger, I always thought, was the possibility of becoming a little too fond of the vino.

But that was before I read Africa Uncorked (travel in extreme wine territory), a first-hand account of wine journalists John and Erica Platter’s journey around the ‘extreme’ wine regions of Africa.

From Algeria to Zimbabwe, the Platter’s went in search of passionate and determined winemakers who, despite facing climatic, political, and religious obstacles, were determined to make wine, even if it resulted in having a price tag on your head.

It was not exactly a gentle, relaxing journey. Border crossings, armed escorts, religious zealots, leeches, mosquitos, and even herds of elephants add to the adventure. And then there was the wine – some of which the Platter’s would politely label ‘rustic’ (code for obnoxious brew) and thank the heavens that they could spit it out.  Not that this worried the Platters. They weren’t on a mission to find great wines. They were more interested in the great people and stories behind the wines.

Part African wine journey, part travelogue, part history and geography lesson, Africa Uncorked offers some fascinating insights into a region of the world that most of us will never get a chance to visit.

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.

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