It’s not too hard to figure out why wine regions often make the best vacation spots. Blending rolling hills, gorgeous countryside, farm-to-table food and divine grapes really is the dream, isn’t it? For truly spectacular trips, there are few wine regions that are as exceptional as their greatest vintages. Just be sure to plan for a driver or guide to take you around – to make the most (sipping) of your day.
In the north western corner of Italy – this region is most famous for truly fabulous Barolo and Barbaresco wines, derived from the Nebbiolo “king of grapes” varietal. The rugged countryside sets the perfect back drop for any picture – and the local restaurants, serving master class Italian food make just about any day a dream. This is rustic perfection.
Franschhoek, South Africa
Just an hours drive from Cape Town and set between soaring mountains, this is undoubtedly one of the most stunning wine valleys in the world. Spectacular red and white wines such as Pinotage, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are complimented to perfection with lovely boutique retreats and restaurants. Franschhoek is small, but Stellenbosch is only 30 minutes away, if you run out of idyllic vineyards in Franschhoek. For a truly memorable stay, check out La Residence, voted the #1 resort in Africa.
Picking just one wine region in France is not easy. There are so many exceptional choices, each offering a different speciality and regional cuisine. But if we had to pick just one (fortunately, we don’t) Burgundy makes the cut for their beautifully perfumed and elegant wines, excellent Pinot Noir’s and gorgeous scenery. Being such a popular place, make sure to book wine tours and tastings in advance – you don’t want to miss out on some of the best and rarest vintages.
Mendoza has an unfair advantage. The Andes Mountains make a backdrop so exceptional, it’s hard to even focus on the ripe and plentiful wines of the shockingly beautiful area. Mendoza is fortunate to have diversity in its terroir and microclimates, which shows in the variety of wines it produces. Head to Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo for many of the very best vineyards, top notch food and stunning (albeit pricey) places to stay.
About an hour northeast of Adelaide, Barossa Valley’s breathless scenery, charming villages and friendliness to visitors makes it one of the best places to visit in the world – before we even get into mentioning the wine. Most famous for its Shiraz and Riesling, the area boasts over 150 lovely wineries. Be sure to stop by the Barossa Valley Cellar Door, for a chance to sample Penfold’s fabled “Grange” wine. If you Google it, you’ll quickly figure out why!
La Rioja is the most famous Spanish wine region (which is definitely worth a trip also), but Priorat stands out for its amazingly steep terraces on the mountain sides, which force vines to dig extra deep for their nutrients and thus create extra depth and character. The small but stunning wine region is a couple hours south of Barcelona and produces some of the world’s best full-bodied reds – what’s not to love about Barcelona, Spain and great wine?
Set along the Okanagan Lake, this is a place with such spectacular beauty, it’s legitimately tough to describe in just one or two superlatives. The region is rapidly increasing in popularity, thanks to the active lifestyle, unique wines and incredible regional food offerings, such as the finest Salmon you’ll find anywhere. Expect luscious ice wine, excellent red blends, Cabernet Francs and friendly folks. It’s a celebrated summer destination for locals, and is only a picturesque four hour drive from Vancouver. Get there before pop culture does.
Next to the not so under the radar area known as the Napa Valley – Sonoma is a dream vacation spot. It’s gone through a tragically tough year with wildfires, but is already battling back, thanks to its beautiful scenery, knock out wines and location close to San Francisco. You’ll find some of the finest Pinot Noir, delicious Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and even some Napa competitive Cabernet and Syrah. For a great guide, we recommend Honey Tour Company, who ensure you can taste every last ounce of delicious wine without worry. Oh, and be sure to stop at Petroni Vineyards– a hidden gem.
Surrounded by towering snow capped mountains, eclipsed only by the iconic glacial lakes and deep river gauges weaving through them, Central Otago is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations, let alone wine regions – producing knock out wines. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are the most dominant grapes and with great reason- they’re velvety, rich and in perfect form in these parts. Otago is just a short trip from Queenstown, which is always a perennial travel favorite, so this is a trip any wine lover would be very remiss to miss.
A lovely spot for all those bubbly lovers out there, this world famous wine region is a celebration long before popping any corks. The sparkling white wine that uses the regions name, is legally the only place that can. Nope, it’s not true Champagne unless it’s from Champagne. Visits to the old world, beautiful wineries and charming towns offer history and charm you’ll struggle to find in any other region on earth. Where else can you visit Krug, Dom Perignon, Taittinger, Billecart Salmon and Roederer, in a day? Cheers to that.
Have you been to any of these stunning regions?
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