Spaniards rightly say, “tasting wine is like talking with God.” Over time, this beverage has evolved to be an essential part of life in several cultures. Its production and consumption have spread from the Mediterranean region to every continent. The link between travel and wine has grown tremendously in the past few years. Despite being a relatively new industry, it is worth billions of dollars today. Picturesque landscapes, spectacular wineries, and exquisite wine tasting have led to an increasing number of travelers to pack their bags and explore them.
All about wine tourism:
Wine tourism also known as vinitourism or enotourism, offers a unique opportunity to enjoy several unique activities. It includes touring factories to see the production process, tasting different quality wines like Totts champagne, and walking through the beautiful vineyards. What’s more, you get a chance to meet people from around the world and learn about the traditions, culture, and history of this beverage. As it is experience-based, it allows tourists to be fully involved in the visit.
Several wineries have been swift to hop on the trend, and offer a completely authentic experience to the tourists. If you’re traveling with your loved ones, there are family-friendly wineries as well! Whether you are a seasoned wine taster or simply want to try new flavors, this experience would amaze you. While the list of travel destinations for wine lovers and connoisseurs may seem ever-growing, only a few are worth visiting. Read on to learn more about them.
Breathtaking travel destinations for wine lovers:
1) Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand:
Hawke’s Bay is the second-largest wine region of New Zealand. Its warm, temperate climate and fertile soil are ideal for the production of wines, particularly red such as Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. It was the Marist missionaries who first established the vineyards in Hawke’s Bay. You can gain knowledge about the Maori culture and history here.
Today, there are more than 200 wineries and about 30 cellar doors. Askern, Moane Park, Abbey Estate, and Ash Ridge are among the few that you must visit. You can directly purchase local wines from here.
This region is well-known for its vibrant wine festivals and events that recognize and promote Viticulture. Here, you can meet like-minded people and share the appreciation of excellent Hawke’s Bay wines. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure you stay at least three days to get a thoroughly authentic experience.
2) Barossa Valley, Australia:
Tucked away from the city’s mayhem, lies a paradise for red wine lovers- Barossa Valley. Located northeast to Adelaide, it is amongst the oldest wine regions of South Australia. This breathtaking landscape boasts some of the finest Rieslings and Shiraz wines. Some of its famous vineyards include Yalumba, Penfolds, Seppeltsfield, Peter Lahmann, and Orlando. This Valley is home to quaint little villages and an array of high-profile wineries, out of which approximately sixty are open for tourists. They offer cellar-door tastings and tours.
Known for their remarkable hospitality, the Barrossans leave no stone unturned in impressing the visitors. From wine shows to cycle tours, you can experience this place and its culture the same way locals do. The ideal time to witness this place in its pure form would be in March and April. If you’re a red wine enthusiast, don’t miss out on visiting Barossa Valley on your next Australian vacation.
3) Franschhoek Valley, South Africa:
Located amidst the towering mountains in the south-east corner of Paarl, Franschhoek Valley is a dream destination for wine lovers. This Valley has a unique history dating back to the late 16th century when French Huguenot refugees settled here, bringing their traditional wine and cuisine. Apart from this rich cultural heritage, this place has a lot more to offer.
Renowned for its Chocolate Block Wine, Franschhoek is known as the Wine and Gourmet capital of the country. You can find some of the country’s most excellent restaurants and even meet the talented chefs with international culinary honors.
This destination has something to offer for everyone- whether you want to visit small boutique wineries or large cellars with organized tours. You can even take a vintage style wine-tram here and enjoy a winery tour with unparalleled views.
4) Maipo Valley, Chile:
In the Santiago Metropolitan region, Maipo Valley is a feast to the eyes with the Andean mountains in the backdrop. It was on account of the warm and temperate climate that the Spanish conquerors decided to establish the first vineyards in Chile here. Often referred to as the ‘Bordeaux of South America’, this region is at the heart of the Chilean wine industry. It produces the country’s most prestigious wines– mostly reds, like Pinot Noir, Carmenere, and Cabernet.
Each of the wineries here has a distinctness, thus making them worth visiting. Sightseers can get a chance to visit the original ‘devil’s locker,’ which gives its name to Casillero del Diablo- the most famous Chilean wine brand. This destination would be perfect for adventure enthusiasts who enjoy picturesque hikes, rock climbing, and horseback riding in Cajon del Maipo- a beautiful forge in Santiago.
5) Douro River Valley, Portugal:
Douro River Valley is amongst the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world. Stretching along the river with the same name, the terraced regions here produce the famous traditional port wine. Made from a range of grape varieties, it is well-known for its signature sweetness and higher alcohol content. The vintner halts the fermentation process to preserve the sugar from the grapes.
The Valley has hundreds of historic wineries- known as ‘Quintas’. You could simply rent a car and visit as many of them as you wish. While some of them are private, most are open and welcoming to the public. What’s more, you can even experience the traditional winemaking process without machines. The farmers hand-pick the grapes and crush them with their feet to achieve high-quality results. Visiting the family-run estates and interacting with the members can give you an insight into their traditions, lifestyle, and craft that they are so passionate about.
6) Moselle Valley, Germany:
The Moselle is the most eye-pleasing tributary of the Rhine that flows below the steep hillside vineyards. The warm climate and nutrient-rich soil of this spectacular Valley are ideal for grape cultivation. Pinot Gris, Riesling, Elbling, Kerner, and Pinot Blanc, are few of the famous varieties of grape and its inexpensive white table wines are a favorite among tourists.
Among the few vineyards worth a visit are Weingut Schloss Saarstein, Weingut Selbach-Oster, and Weingut Vollenweider. Apart from that, the region is home to several quaint villages, some of the popular ones being Hatzenport, Bernkastel-Kues, Cochem, and Traben-Trarbach. The medieval architecture of some houses is as old as 400 years.
What’s more, this place has beautiful castles on hilltops- Burg Eltz being the best one. This destination would feel nothing short of a fairytale. So, don’t miss out on visiting Moselle Valley on your next trip to Europe!
7) Valle De Guadalupe, México:
Valle De Guadalupe produces 90% of the wine in the country. This region has been producing wines for hundreds of years. However, it was only the last decade that saw immense growth on account of wine tourism. It is now the focal point for luxury restaurants and exotic wineries.
The tours offer you an opportunity to try exotic cheese of Baja with a glass of rich wine. Moreover, you can visit the local museums on the way. The best time to travel to this destination would be in summer. It is from May to September that seasonal restaurants open their doors. Here you can enjoy the local cuisine with a gorgeous view of vineyards.
One of the highlights of visiting Valle De Guadalupe is the Vendimia Wine Harvest Festival that happens every year in August. If you’re someone who likes crowded places bustling with people, you must not miss out on it.
8) Route des Vins- Alsace, France:
Route des Vins is a breathtaking scenic region with a beautiful blend of German and French culture. This 105-mile-long path, founded in 1953, is the oldest wine route in France. It starts from Strasbourg in the north and ends at Colmar in the south. Mittelbergheim, Strasbourg, Andlau, Bergheim, and Riquewihr are a few famous villages worth paying a visit. The colorful half-timbered houses and flowered alleyways in these towns look like they’ve come straight out of a fairytale.
Unlike other places, the wineries of Alsace are in the villages itself rather than the vineyards. Its sparkling wines are a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity. Tasting these local aromatic reputable wines is one of a kind experience. You can even enjoy the festive community occasions that take place at the end of the grape harvest. There is something about the charm of Alsace that will undoubtedly give you an unforgettable experience.
9) Piedmont, Italy:
Piedmont is often called the ‘Burgundy of Italy’ due to its fine wines and truffles. Barbaresco and Barolo are two of the top wines from this region. Freisa, Brachetto, Vespolina, Grignolino, and Moscato Bianco are a few others that you can taste. They are quite popular as they are made from unique varieties of grapes such as Nebbiolo and Cortese.
Piedmont competes with Tuscany for the best wine region in Italy. Its magnificent vineyards and cellars should undoubtedly be in your bucket list! Here you can enjoy friendly encounters while simultaneously learning the secrets of making this beverage. Don’t miss out on enjoying lunch picnics and sampling different cheeses!
10) La Rioja, Spain:
Situated in northern Spain, this region splits into three primary areas: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Oriental. It enjoys an unrivaled seat among the world’s most beautiful wine regions. Its annual festival in Haro attracts a lot of tourists from around the globe.
Rioja is the most famous Spanish wine that is cherry red and has a delicious taste. Made from a combination of exotic grape varieties, it has a caramel-like aftertaste. This beverage would be best-suited with tangy flavors like that of meat that can contend with this wine’s strength. With a perfect blend of medieval and modern architecture, this place is no less than a dream. Autumn would be the ideal time to travel to this destination.
“A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” We can safely say that this has come to be true in modern times. Today, many people are open to actively participating in various activities and want to experience wine in unique ways. With innovation in wine flavors and premiumization of its products, tourism has witnessed tremendous growth. If you’re searching for a similar getaway, choose any destination from the ones mentioned above and book your tickets!