Wine tourism, or enotourism, first appeared in the late 1900s and has captured many hearts (and pallets) since then. Many places across the globe, from Napa Valley to South Africa, offer local wine tours, which include visiting vineyards, learning about the winemaking process, wine tasting, and sometimes even taking part in the harvest. But how to decide where to go?
Choosing a tour destination is never easy, and everything depends on your preferences and ability to travel. Are you looking for new experiences or a path well-traveled? Want to stay close to home or visit an exotic country? What wine do you love the most, and what budget do you have? Of course, everything nowadays depends on where travel restrictions allow you to travel at the moment. In the list below, you will find the best destinations according to your preferences.
And don’t worry about the coronavirus! The industry adjusted to the current situation — for example, Florence’s wine portals have opened once again – for the first time since the 17th century. They are “wine windows” where wine and food was sold during the plague.
If there are no wineries near you, and you want to abstain from traveling — you can always go to a local or online wine shop, and the seller will help you choose the perfect wine for you.
Here is our list or the greatest wine destinations that are worth a visit when you’re in the area – or maybe even worth organizing wine-oriented trip just to see them:
Chile is one of the world’s top wine producers, as its geography makes it an ideal ground for the vineyards. Autumn months are the grape harvest season in Chile and, therefore — the best time for the wine tour. The wine tastings are accompanied by picturesque landscapes, cheerful celebrations, and light-hearted people. One of the most famous Chilean wine destinations is Vik Vineyard – it’s a whole experience of wine tasting, dining experience and lodging in one – a perfect holistic experience for people who want to discover the country.
2. Uco Valley, Argentina
This valley will strike you with its breathtaking beauty: dry land, punctuated by green crops, situated at the foot of the Andes. The air is thin and cool, and the wine produced here doesn’t often hit the international market, so the tour allows you to have some unique tasting experience. The best way to go is mid-April when the harvest has already started, and the Andes are still snow-capped. This region is famous for its Malbec and Semillon varietals.
3. Napa Valley, California
Napa Valley has hundreds of wineries to explore, each with its own character and history, offering experiences for every budget range. Due to their topography, wineries produce different types of wine, and, because most of them are family-owned, every trip will feel like home. And if you don’t want to travel — you can always explore Napa Valley online.This region is most famous for its Cabarnets. Some of the world’s most famous wineries can be find here: Robert Mondavi, Castello di Amorosa, Opus One, Stag’s Leap – most of them remain undamaged by the recent Glass Fire that ravaged the area.
4. Paso Robles, California
Home to award-winning wines, Paso Robles is situated in a unique geographical region, optimal for growing the best varieties of wine grapes. The harvest in Paso Robles takes part in late autumn, which is the most interesting time for the visit. The area’s heritage is the Zinfandel variety, so make sure to try it.
5. Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is the leading destination among wine lovers, as it is home to the most known wine varieties. For the most incredible experience, visit Haut-Médoc, Saint-Émilion, or Pomerol appellations, where the best wine in the world is produced. But what not everybody knows is that you can actually find wine for every budget range – local wines can be kind on your wallet. There are a lot of wineries you can choose from, both urban and outside of the city.
6. Languedoc-Roussillon, France
France’ (and the world’s!) largest wine-producing region, Languedoc-Roussillon, is wildly popular among wine lovers on a budget and tourists who flock to the Mediterrenean coast of France. Instead of focusing on single varietal wines, most producers here blend different varieties, bringing them to perfection.
7. Langhe, Italy
Situated in Italy’s most popular wine region, Piedmont, Langhe is famous for its red wine. Red wine from this region is considered the world’s best. You can visit one of the family-run wineries or go to a wine bar to taste a full spectrum of local wines. And of course, you will taste wine with every meal you have in this region — don’t worry, the wine lists are long.
8. Cape Winelands, South Africa
Combining breathtaking landscapes with wine tasting is one of the best ways to spend a vacation in Cape Town. South Africa is far away but very accessible – so if you want to enjoy its beautiful views, see the exotic animals and taste South Africa’s famous Pinotage, this is your ideal destination.
9. Kakheti, Georgia
Having the oldest winemaking tradition in the world, Georgia is a must-visit destination for any wine lover, and Kakheti is its largest and most famous wine region. The wine shops are on every corner here, and a large number of wineries to be small and family-run. However, one of the best ways to explore Kakheti and learn more about Georgian wine is with the help of a guide. Wine in Georgia is considerably cheaper compared to other of the world’s most premiere regions, so even if you’re on a budget you’ll get a rich experience both wine and local culture wise.
People have never stopped loving wine, and the winemaking tradition stretches over millennia. If you are tired of beach vacations, why not try something new, and combine the beautiful views of vineyard valleys with relaxed wine tasting, see new countries and learn more about different traditions of winemaking. Whether you’re a lover of white, red, or rosé — you’ll find something that fits your palette.