Joanna Lowy is content manager at trip-planning platform, Tripening If you’re something of a wine enthusiast and thinking about planning your next vacation, we think you’re going to love what’s on offer globally. So, get comfortable, pour yourself a large glass and soak up these fantastic options:
- Hunter Valley. One of the world’s hottest wine regions, with temperatures soaring as high as 40℃ in summer, the production here dates back to the 19th century. With more than 150 wineries in the region, there’s something for every taste.
The best way to experience this is by joining a tour, as despite being the closest wine area to Sydney, it’s still a significant journey. And – with all the humor and liveliness that you’d expect from an Aussie guide – you won’t regret it!
- Yarra Valley. The cooler climate here – less than an hour from Melbourne – makes this area fertile for producing world-famous wines such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Boasting more than 80 wineries, luxury accommodation, delicious restaurants, jaw-dropping scenery and some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular tourist spot.
With more than 400 wineries in Napa Valley – plus another 200 or so in next-door Sonoma – expect full-bodied, fruity wines, such as the prized Cabernet Sauvignon. Tours are well-organized, informative and entertaining – as might be expected from one of the world’s best wine tasting destinations – and are easily accessible from San Francisco and Sacramento. Muir Woods – just north of San Francisco – is another tranquil option while you’re here. Heading to California with the family? Get your Disneyland tickets here
You could do a lot worse than choosing Portugal as your next vacation spot, especially if you love your vacation with a large glass of red! Here’s everything you need to know:
- Douro Valley. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest, most beautiful wine regions in the world, and a float down the river – glass of port in hand for which it is most famous – while you soak up the majestic landscape is a must-do activity while you’re here. Of course, a tour of the vineyards must also be on the itinerary, particularly in the Fall, owing not only to the vibrant colors but the unique experiences on offer, such as grape-stomping!
- Lisbon. With an abundance of port, brandy and vino, Portugal’s capital sure knows how to deliver a gourmet experience in style, pairing firm faves such as sausage, cheese and tapas with the region’s best wines.
4) Cape Winelands, South Africa
Just one hour from the sensational Cape Town lie the much-loved and fertile wine trails of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch (the latter regularly featuring in the country’s top tourist destinations), with production dating back as far as the 17th century. The region – filled with hundreds of vineyards – is recognized internationally for its fine wines and – coupled with its sensational views, affordable wine tasting, fine-dining and iconic wildlife – it’s no wonder so many choose to travel here for a vacation.
5) Santorini, Greece
The Grecian gem of Santorini may be better known for its breathtaking vistas, made up of white-washed houses, breathtakingly blue waters and steep cliffs, but the incredibly popular island is also home to nine indigenous varieties of grape and has been a Mediterranean staple since ancient times. You can choose to tour the vineyards and wineries either as part of a tour or alone, but no matter what you decide to do on the island, you can rest assured that you’ll be doing it with a glass of two of its finest, most unique-tasting wines. Our top pick is a Red Sunset Cruise, where you’ll float past the Hot Springs and beautiful beaches while savoring a delicious BBQ alongside the region’s finest white wine.
6) Maipo, Chile
The birthplace of the Chilean wine industry, expect to taste well-known reds such as Cabernet and Pinot Noir. A must-visit here is to the Matetic Vineyards – combining an unrivaled tourist experience with some of the highest-quality wines.
7) Snoqualmie Falls, Seattle
Just outside of Seattle lies a 268-foot waterfall, two wineries and a Swiss Chocolate Factory. And if those aren’t the ingredients for a perfect vacation, we don’t know what is!
8) Okanagan, Canada
The unusual climate of Canada, which features every extremity, has enabled it to produce an incredible variety of grapes, translating into a range of red and white wines such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Chardonnay.
- Tuscany. Whether you fancy yourself a connoisseur or not, you can’t come to Tuscany and not taste some of its impeccable wine amid the rolling countryside. Chianti – with its sweeping hills and never-ending vineyards – is arguably the best known, and any tour worth its salt will come with a side of historical information, not to mention a taste of the local delicacies, such as cheese, salami and bruschetta.
- Emilia Romagna. If you like an underdog, head to Emilia Romagna to taste some new wines that you might not know on a more intimate, personalized tour than you may get elsewhere in the country.
10) New Zealand
- Waiheke Island. Unique for being home to some of New Zealand’s most prominent wine producers as well as more boutique ones – not to mention the picturesque beaches surrounding it – there’s something for everyone just an hour’s ferry ride from Auckland. The majority of vineyards are open for casual tastings without needing to book in advance and include picnic-style antipasto platters while you soak up the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.
- Marlborough. Becoming a major player in the production of Sauvignon Blanc since the 80s, it’s been a worthy contender on the international wine stage ever since.
11) Loire Valley, France
Travel just two hours from Paris and step into a dream-like land of fairytale castles and beautiful vineyards. Need we say anymore?
12) Mendoza, Argentina
A dry climate, coupled with an almost pest-free environment and controlled irrigation from the snowmelt of the Andes mountains, goes some way to explaining how this region – producing around 70% of the country’s wine each year – has repeatedly been named one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World. You can choose to tour the vineyards either as part of a group or by renting a bike, thanks to the mostly flat terrain.
The top wine here is Malbec, which interestingly means ‘poor taste’ in France. This is because the grape originally came from France but didn’t do well there, needing the perfect environmental conditions of Mendoza to flourish, which it continues to do.
March is probably the best time to visit, thanks to the National Grape Harvest Festival, which features parades along with an abundance of wine-tasting experiences. No matter when you come, however, you’ll be met with breathtaking architecture, charming hotels and delicious food.
11) Rioja, Spain
The name itself is a bit of a giveaway, right? Unbeknown to many, however, Rioja is not just a grape that always produces red wine; it is the leading wine region of Spain. There’s no shortage of tours on offer here – just make sure you pick one that includes some tapas! We don’t know about you, but we’ll raise a glass to that!