What’s the best way to enjoy wine from all over the world?
This is a question many wine enthusiasts ask themselves at some point, simply because there is so much culture and variety that goes into the production of fine wine. With different regions around the world known for different types of wine, there’s simply a great deal to experience.
Perhaps the easiest way to enjoy wine from all over the world is to purchase variety cases from high volume distributors like Marks and Spencer, where you’ll generally find a fairly diverse selection of world wines. But the best way to experience wine from all over the world is to actually travel to the vineyards! There’s nothing quite like sitting on a balcony overlooking the very vineyards where the wine in your hand was produced. So with that in mind here are a few words on 10 of the very best wine tourism destinations around the world.
1. Puglia, Italy
A mainstay in conversations on unique wine destinations, Puglia is a somewhat isolated peninsula that has developed fine flavours in both wine and food through the use of local ingredients. Beautiful “old world” architecture makes for fascinating surroundings, and a variety of interesting wines will keep you busy on your trip. From robust reds to crisp, light whites, Puglia has a bit of everything.
2. Rioja, Spain
Due to the fact that experts have been making wine there for hundreds of years, Rioja is firmly established as one of the world’s top wine producing regions. It is also firmly equipped for tourism due to its reputation, with a number of lovely accommodation options. As far as the wine, Rioja too boasts significant variety, though it is primarily red grapes – Tempranillo, Garnacha, and a few others – that keep the region on the map.
3. Monterey County, California
Napa Valley tends to generate the most fame among California wine regions, but as noted earlier this year by Wine Enthusiast and BK Wine Tours alike, Monterey County makes for a flawless destination. In addition to some of that famed California Chardonnay, the region also features lovely Pinot Noirs. But it’s the vacation of Monterey County that seals the deal – Pacific views, fine dining, and some of the world’s best golf courses make for a dynamic experience.
4. Mendoza, Argentina
A trip to Argentina for wine tasting must revolve around Malbec, and you’ll find plenty of it in the Mendoza region. This particular area of Argentina has well over a thousand vineyards, and is another choice perfect for wine enthusiasts looking for dynamic total vacations. From hiking and cycling to skiing and rafting, there’s plenty to do in Mendoza.
5. Douro Valley, Portugal
If you’re looking for sheer natural beauty, Douro Valley is probably the region for you. Featuring steep vineyards on hills surrounding the winding Douro River, this valley feels like something out of a children’s storybook. Wine tourists will find a variety of rich red wines to enjoy, though the Port from this region is the highlight.
6. Willamette Valley, Oregon
As far as the United States go, California tends to generate the bulk of the attention. Recently, however, a few other states have put themselves on the world wine map, and Oregon is one of them. At Willamette Valley, as in much of California, you’ll find the highest quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, though the region actually produces a wide variety. Try to get around a bit on a trip to Willamette Valley, as there are many towns and wineries to explore.
7. Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stellenbosch is an incredibly unique city surrounded by high mountain peaks. The city seems to show off an individual character and European heritage all at the same time, and is wonderful for party-goers and outdoor enthusiasts alike – but it’s the wine that keeps many of the tourists coming. Enjoy some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon you’ll find anywhere, as well as some delicious dessert wines.
8. Hunter Valley, Australia
No list like this one would be complete without mention of Australia, and Hunter Valley is as good a choice as any for a specific destination. Not far from Sydney, the sprawling expanse of vineyards in Hunter Valley produce some of the world’s most unique-tasting wine varieties. Be sure to sample the Semillon, a crisp acidic wine, as well as the Shiraz.
9. Canterbury, New Zealand
If South Pacific destinations interest you but you’d rather branch out from Australia, Canterbury is a wonderful alternative. The region is very new to wine production, but a combination of world-class Pinot Noir and Riesling, in addition to the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand and close proximity to Christchurch make for fantastic wine tourism.
10. Alsace, France
Finally, though several other regions are a bit trendier these days, no list of wine destinations is complete without mention of France. Specifically, the sprawling Alsace region offers a wine tasting experience like no other. There’s incredible variety of fine wine across 67 separate villages with their own wineries on site.
Ultimately, the world is full of interesting wine tourism destinations, and more seem to pop up every year. South African wineries seem to be generating more enthusiasm each year, and just this year the U.S. has earned recognition for a number of vineyards outside of California (notably in Oregon, as mentioned above, but also in New York on Long Island!). But if you’re looking for some of the very best opportunities to enjoy gorgeous scenery, unique culture and fine wine, the 10 choices above will all serve you well!