The beauty of wine is that there are so many different kinds to enjoy. One of the best ways to discover your favorite wine selections is to go on a wine tasting vacation. Not only will you get to appreciate all sorts of new flavors, but you will also learn a lot about how different wines are carefully crafted. The following 10 suggested destinations are suitable for the wine Connoisseur looking to broaden their horizons, a beginner who wants to learn more and gather experience, the happy couple looking to have a romantic getaway or even the tourist seeking natural beauty along with some new wine tasting experiences.
Southern Tuscany, Italy
This area of Italy will impress you with its wide selection of wineries and the inherent beauty that surrounds the region. Much like in the United States, most wineries in this area are open to the public on certain days without an appointment. However, some places may require reservations in order to have a tour, so be sure to check the website or call in advance. Some of the notable wineries in this area include, but are not limited to: Poliziano, Tenuta Valdipiatta and Avignonesi.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Stellenbosch area of South Africa has many interesting things to see and do that revolve around wine. The Franschhoek Wine Tram takes visitors past beautiful vineyards and amazing scenery with several stops along the way. The journey allows you to sample wines at various wineries, have a delicious lunch, sample many different cheeses and learn the history of the area. If taking the tram is not your thing, you can still travel the area on your own and make your own schedule.
Sonoma County, California
Sonoma County is home to approximately 200 wineries so there is no shortage of options here. The grape crops account for 61% of the county’s agricultural revenue. A lot of the wineries here are open to the public, some by appointment only. Make sure to call ahead or search online for information before you start your trip. In Sonoma you can see the oldest winery in the state of California, visit a wine castle or enjoy on-site restaurants.
The state of Virginia has wineries spread throughout, but one more notable spot that has many wineries to choose from is Charlottesville. It is probably best to sign up for a wine tour that will take you to a handful of the best wineries in the area, as this way you will not have to worry about driving and the local experts can take you right to the top spots. You might also consider visiting the area in May during the Monticello Wine Festival where you can sample from countless winery representatives.
Province of Mendoza, Argentina
This part of Argentina is internationally recognized as a superb place to visit if you want to go wine tasting. There are more than 1,200 vineyards and the region is known to have superb Malbec, a wine that is made from an assortment of purple grapes that usually are very dark. The wineries here are noted for their ambiance, unique architecture and gardens. Some of the top places to go to are: Kaiken, Domaine St. Diego, Pulenta Estate, Andeluna and Tempus Alba.
Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley is home to several hundred wineries for you to choose from. No matter what your wine preferences are, you will find multiple wineries to suit your tastes. There are small, family owned wineries with private tours all the way up to huge commercialized wineries, and everything in between. Some of the top wineries in Napa Valley are: Bravante Vinyards, Artesa Vineyards & Winery, Quintessa, Jarvis Winery and Spring Mountain Vineyard.
Hunter Valley, Australia
Hunter Valley is a fairly small area of vineyards and wineries that is well known worldwide for the wine produced there. It is located in New South Wales and has been in existence since the early 19th century. There are both large and small operations that you can tour in the area as well as many fancy restaurants to enjoy a nice meal in. The Hunter Valley Semillon wine is commonly considered to be the most notable wine produced here; so be sure to sample some, along with the many other varieties that come from Hunter Valley.
La Rioja, Spain
La Rioja is frequently described as Spain’s most spectacular wine region. Vineyards cover the rolling hills and quaint old towns dot the area that has the Cantabrian Mountains as the background. While tasting wine here you can try some unique newer creations or vintage aged wine that had been stored in medieval caves. The wineries themselves vary greatly in architecture and aura from avant-garde to Chateaux style, visitors will find something distinctive at every venue. Some of the most famous red wines in the world come from La Rioja.
The wine history of this French region dates very far back, but it was during the time of Charlemagne when monks truly started to establish Burgundy as a wine producing area. The main famous types of wine produced in Burgundy are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay. Burgundy is also home to some of the priciest wine in existence; however, there are plenty of delicious, less expensive wines for one to sample as well. If you want to try the most expensive wines available, head over to the Côte d’Or region of Burgundy.
This island in the Aegean Sea is the result of volcanic activity, making its soil’s mineral content unique. This greatly influences the resulting flavor that is derived from the grapes grown here. The most notable wine produced here is called “Vinsanto,” which translates to “holy wine.” It is a dessert wine created from sundried Aidani, Athiri and Assrtiko grapes. Visitors can book private tours at most wineries, but to fully experience all that the island has to offer you should probably book a tour that will take you to several destinations during the day.