For most of us, an ideal day during the trip would be having a laid back seat with some out of radar exotic local cuisine, with sun setting down and a glass of fine wine to enjoy all of above. Wine is so inseparable from Travelling, and in recent years wine tourism is catching up pace. Experiences spun around wine tastings in vineyards are purely exquisite. It gives us chance to see how it grows, how it’s processed, how it’s stored, and who grows them. This calls for a trip to a wine region, where you can do all things wine. So here we are with top wine travel destinations.
Bordeaux, France – Its well known for exquisite wine and bottles. This place is home to Bordeaux wine festival which happens in the month of June every year and witnesses the participation of over 80 wine regions. Bordeaux is also popular for its rare red wine Petrus. The grape varieties used in the making of Bordeaux wines are majorly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. When in Bordeaux you should also visit the La Cite Du Vin Museum which is known to house the history of wine making in the region.
Do visit the vineyards of some popular chateaus St-Emilion, Graves, Medoc. Some of the top wineries of Bordeaux region are Château Lafon-Rochet which is existing since 17th century, a seventh generation family run Château de Cranne, and Château Pédesclaux founded in early 19th century.
Bordeaux also has many wine tasting classes avenues for more immersive experience, which consists of menu with some of the best red wines. Apparently Bordeaux is also popular for its sweet white wine which is produced in a small region of Sauternes.
Douro Valley, Portugal – One of the oldest wine making region (back since Romans), and distinguished by vineyards on terraced terrains over river Douro. It is officially the oldest demarcated wine region since the year 1756. Douro Valley is also a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001 because of the distinguished universal value. Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo was the first winery hotel opened in the region way back in 2005 and is a must visit.
Douro Valley is further divided into three main regions that produce wine which are Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo, and Douro Superior. The varieties of grape used for wine making in Douro Valley are Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz amongst others for red wine, Rabigato, Viosinho among others for white wine.
It is popular for Port Wine which is further classified into Ruby Port, Tawny Port, White Port, and Rose Port. You can also hop on popular wine cruise which is popular in Douro Valley. Some of the most popular wineries here are Quinta Da Gaivosa, Quinta De Sequeira, and Quinta De Covela.
Piedmont, Italy – Piedmont is home to world’s one of most popular Barolos and Barbarescos wines. This place also has more of Michelin-starred restaurants, luxurious hotels, and high-end spas with foots of alps in backdrop, making it a fine travel stop. Great place to have wine and food together with cheese. Piedmont region is also a UNSECO World Heritage site since 2014 for its universal value. The place is home to many medieval castles which will suit your itinerary. The name Piedmont in Latin means at the foot of mountains.
The varieties of grapes used to produce red wine in the region are Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo among others. The varieties of grapes used to produce white wines in the region are majorly Arneis, Cortese, Moscato among others. Piedmont is also popular for its sweet wine which is produced using the Moscato grape and is known as Asti Spumante.
Some of the top wineries in the Piedmont region are Azienda Agricola Biodinamica La Raia which is popular for its DOCG wines, and Enrico Crola wine estate which is located in upper Piedmont and is a must visit for seeing wine making process.
Napa Valley, US – Napa Valley is the most popular American destination for Wine tasting with more than 400 wineries of which most are family run & open for tasting. Wine making in Napa Valley has existed since 19th century but it was later in 20th century when it got recognized globally. It is located just an hours drive from San Francisco which makes it an ideal destination to visit which is also accessible. It produces variety of wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.
One of the the most popular wine here is Napa Cab. The grape varieties used in the production of wine in Napa Valley are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, and Chardonnay. Some of the popular regions for vineyards in Napa Valley are North Coast AVA, Napa Valley AVA, Atlas Peak AVA, Calistoga AVA, Los Carneros AVA among others.
Some of the popular and beautiful wineries in Napa Valley are Louis M. Martini Winery which known for its lawn games and al fresco wine services, Far Niente which is known for its historic wine caves, and Pine Ridge Vineyards.
Yarra Valley, Australia – It is an hour’s drive from Melbourne and city’s favorite getaway. Wine making in Yarra Valley started in the early 19th century. With more than 80 wineries, overwhelming cute villages, restaurants, and tours with local food make it a great stop. Yarra Valley is popular for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Yarra Valley is also known for producing different styles of Chardonnay. Another popular wine of this region which also is exclusive is Yarra Valley Shiraz.
Some of the popular wine regions of Yara Valley are Seville, Healesville, Yarra Glen, Coldstream, and Lilydale which consist of more than 80 vineyards. Around 2500 hectares of land is used for vineyaerds in Yarra Valley. Some of the lesser known varieties of Yarra Valley that are gaining popularity are Arneis, Gamay, Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, and Savagnin.
Some of the top wineries in Yarra Valley that you must visit are Hubert Estate which also houses Hubert Gallery of Art, Helen and Joey Estate which also has rooftop seating, and Rob Dolan Wines.
Mendoza, Argentina – Mendoza is Argentina’s most popular and most extensive wine producing region. More than two third of the Argentina’s entire wine produce comes from Mendoza. It is situated on different altitudes of Andes and it produces variety of wines. Most popular is Malbec. Mendoza is also popular for its traditional wine making called Vino Patero or foot-pressed wine. Before visiting Mendoza you must make reservations ahead for wine tasting tours.
Some of the popular regions known for wine making in Mendoza are Maipu, Uco Valley, San Martin, San Rafael, and Lujan De Cuyo. Maipu is a relatively warmer than other regions and the wine here is dominated by Malbec which has flavoirs of red fruits and aroma of tobacco. Some of the most premier wines of Mendoza can be savored in Uco Valley.
Some of the top wineries of Mendoza that you should visit are Bodega Familia Cassone which is located in the oldest wine making region of Mendoza, Bodega Salentein which is known for its high quality wines, and Mevi winery that offers beautiful terrace views.
Santorini, Greece – We all know that town with white washed houses and blue sea front. Due to volcanic soil and micro climate, its wine has unique taste. Few local varieties are Nychteri, Vinsanto and Mezzo. The most popular wine variety produced here in Santorini is crisp, sweet Vinsanto which is produced by using the grape variety of Assyrtico, exclusive to Santorini wine region. Here you can also indulge in some organized wine tours, with the famous Santorini sunset to contemplate it.
The specialty of Santorini wine is crisp and aromatic. The popular dry white of Santorini is Nychteri which is produced using over ripe grapes. The main grape variety used for red wines of Santorini is Mandilaria. Another sweet wine of Santorini is Mezzo which is gaining popularity. Mavrotragano is another popular red wine from Santorini.
Some of the top wineries of Santorini that you must visit are Venetsanou Winery which is known for its gastronomic scene, Vassaltis Winery which is known for its architecture, Sigalas Winery known for up keeping the rich traditions of Santorini.
Franschhoek, South Africa – South Africa is blessed with vast vineyard terrain while Franschhoek is one of the oldest. It is also popular for its Franschhoek wine tram. It is a double Decker tram that passes through some of the most spectacular wine estates in the region where you can hop off to take a quick tour and it also includes a three course lunch. The journey is also accompanied with narration about the history of wine making in the region. There are 10 different lines of the tram service that are spread across different wine estates.
It is believed that this region is into wine making since 17th century. The nearby districts of Franschhoek are Stellenbosch in the south west of the region and Overberg in the eastern side. The Franschhoek region produces Pinot Noir and Shiraz (reds) and, Chardonnay and Semillon (white). One of the popular wines produced here is Cap Classique which is a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Some of the top wineries in Franschhoek that you must visit are Holden Manz Wine Estate which is known for its fortified wines, La Bri winery which is known for its gravity fed wine making process, and Rickety Bridge Winery known for its artisan wines.
Moselle Valley, Germany – Moselle Valley has one of best wines, medieval castles, rolling hills, and a sparkling river. It produces best Rieslings in the world. This region has been into wine making since 2nd century, which makes it one of the oldest players. The region is popular for its red wine which is produced from Spatburgunder. The one thing peculiar about the wines from Moselle Valley is that they are packed in Hock style wine bottles.
Moselle Wine region is divided into six sub regions, which are named as Bernkastel, Obermosel, Moseltor, Ruwertal, Saar, and Burg Cochem. The specialty of Moselle Valley wines is that they have a more floral aroma than that of fruit. The most popular variety of grapes used in wine making in Moselle Valley is Muller Thurgau. Production of sweet wine Eiswein is also popular here.
Calmont Klettersteig the World’s steepest vineyard is must visit along with Mosel Wein museum due to history of wine, and 160 samples to taste. Some of the must visit wineries of Moselle Valley are Winery of the Dotsch Haupt, and F J Regnery winery.
Marlborough, New Zealand – This is an all immersive dreamy destinations for wine lovers. It has fantastic backdrops of southern island which is mostly located in glacial Wairau Valley. It produces the popular Sauvignon Blanc. Wine making has been in practice here since late 19th century. The vineyards here are spread across 23,000 hectares. The wines of Marlborough are best served along with sea food by chef’s all across the world. Take a tour on bike, and dining-wining in vineyard restaurants is must.
Marlborough wine region is further divided into 3 sub regions named as Southern Valleys, Awatere Valley, and Wairau Valley. Further Southern Valley is famous for its Pinot Noir, while Wairau Valley is known for its Fruity aromas, and Awatere Valley is known for its Sauvignon Blanc. Some of the other populars here are Syrah, Pinot Gris, and Riesling.
Some of the top wineries in Marlborough region that you must visit are N.1 Family Estate winery which is known for its sparkling wines, Vicarage Lane winery which is known for its Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay.
La Rioja, Spain – This Spanish region has more than 500 wineries that produce full bodied reds. Their local culture has been woven around it since ages. Region also has castles and cathedrals, & famous Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture for all things wine. The medieval countryside of La Rioja is just perfect for a wine holiday. The vineyards of La Rioja are spread across 54000 hectares of land. It is estimated that La Rioja is home to more than 500 wineries.
The wine region of La Rioja is further divided into 3 sub regions that are named as Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. The region is popular for its red wine produced from Tempranillo. It is also popular for its desert wines and the traditional Supurados wine. Some of the grape varieties that are used in wine making here are Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo.
Some of the top wineries that you must visit in La Rioja are Bodegas Corral which is known for its historical wine making process, Bodegas Luis Alegre which is known for its high quality wines, and Bodegas Alvia known for its gastronomic scene.
Tokaj, Hungary – Europe’s oldest classified wine region Tokaj is popular for producing sweet dessert wines. This region attracts for its nectar like Tokaji and dry wines from local grapes like Furmint and Hárslevelű. It is located around ancient volcano, it gives chance to visitors for one on one tour with winemakers. The region is comprised of 30 small villages and towns. The region is so popular in Hungary that it also has a mention of it in the national anthem of the country.
The main regions that are popular for the production of wine in Tokaj region are towns of Tarcal, Mad and the itself the town of Tokaj. The most popular varieties of grapes that are used in the win making process in Tokaj are Harslevelu, Sarga Muskotaly, and Furmint. The region is also popular for its Eszencia wine which is one of the rarest and most expensive wines.
Some of the most popular wineries in the region of Tokaj that you must visit are Himesudvar which was once a hunting lodge back to 500 years, Disznoko which is known for its unique sweet wines, and Demetervin known for its traditional wine making.