Wine lovers know that every glass of wine can teach a different lesson. Two different varieties of wine never taste the same, and each has a different story behind it. It can be about the place, culture, geology, and history. When you get so excited with the zillions of aromas from the wine bottles, why not plan a wine-themed tour? Your options are many, and here we have come up with our top seven choices:
1. Loire Valley, France
Wine is an integral part of French heritage, and French wine is revered all over the world. The climate in France is so diverse that multiple varieties of grapes grow here. Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne are a few of the world’s best wine-brewing regions located in France. But if you would like to combine your love for wine and wanderlust, then the Loire Valley is the best choice. It is a world heritage site and has many Gothic-style Chateaus and gardens. There are wineries with 10 miles of wine cellars, and the producers often arrange tasting tours. And, you will get to know unheard methods of brewing too. For Adventure, you have the Loire River. You can take a kayak, windsurf, or go cruising.
2. Napa Valley, California
Bay area, desert highways, Silicon Valley, and home to the U.S. film industry – Hollywood: All these do come to our mind when we think of California. But did you know that California produces 300, 000 tons of grapes and around 17 gallons of wine annually? Napa Valley is the most famous wine region in California. With plenty of sunshine and cool nights, the area has the perfect climate for growing excellent grapes. Across the rolling hills and picturesque vineyards, you can go cycling or hiking. Hot air balloons and horseback riding trails offer a great view of the valley. The best way to visit the celebrated wineries here is to take the Napa Valley Wine Train. The place also has a galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants.
3. La Rioja, Spain
Spain is a country filled with vineyards. It produces varieties of grapes and wine too. Sherry, red, white, or sparkling wine, name any, you can get in Spain. Even the famous Bacardi rum had its origin here. There are around seven wine-growing regions in Spain. Among them, the La Rioja part is synonymous with wine. The Tondonia winery located here is one of the best spots for wine-tasting tours. The vineyards in the region are spread across 54000 hectares. Here the wine is made in an old-fashioned way in handmade barrels kept in stoned walls. Another must-visit winery here is the Marques de Riscal winery. The place is aptly called the city of wines. It includes a hotel, spa, and convention center
4. Santa Cruz, Chile
The world’s award-winning red wines are made here. The Ruta del Vino Colchagua Valley has eighteen vineyards that offer tours for wine tasting. In these tours, one gets to learn about local culture and food. One can even experiment in the winemaking process. Though the wine tours are available throughout the year, the city celebrates the grape harvest season: Vendimia in March. It is the most exciting time to be in the city. The festival is held in the center of Santa Cruz, and it brings together winemakers from the nearby valleys. One can also get a glimpse of Chilean music, dance, and food.
5. Cape Town, South Africa
The ‘Mother City’ of Africa is known for its colonial past. But did you know that it is also a wine lover’s paradise? It has numerous wine estates producing world-class red and white wines. Among them, Groot Constantia is the oldest of all and has been producing premium quality wines since 1685. One can take the cellar tours, visit the historical museum, and taste some of the award-winning wines. The owners arrange romantic picnics and private dinners too. Other farms are Steenberg (producing the celebrated Sauvignon Blanc), Constantia Uitsig, and Eagle’s Nest.
The Cape Point vineyards offer tutored wine tasting programs, panoramic views of the mountain ranges, and the magnificent sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.
6. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
It is situated along the rugged coast of New Zealand’s Northern Island. It is the oldest wine region in the country and famous for the red chardonnays. One can cycle around the acres of vineyards and get to taste not only the fine wines but also the fresh produce of the region. You have the best restaurants in New Zealand here and hold ‘Wine and dine’ festivals throughout the year. The early risers can watch the sunrise together with beautiful seabirds. You can also take an art deco tour in Napier and Hastings. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, a hiking trip to Te Mata Peak is a perfect choice.
7. Tasmania, Australia
Wild at its core, Tasmania has spectacular mountains, rugged coastline, and the cleanest air. The cool climate here is free of extreme temperatures and is suitable for the production of sparkling wine. Fortified dessert wines produced from the wineries in Tasmania have gained international attention. It also has an intriguing, underground art gallery – MONA (Museum of old and new art) in the middle of the Moorilla winery. Apart from visiting the museum, you can also go for a private tasting and play golf too.
Choosing the right wine for the dinner party is both art and science. A wine tasting tour can help you impress your family and friends. You can pair with it food like a pro. You get to meet new people, learn about their traditions and have a fun trip too. Moreover, wine is mostly produced in beautiful places with rolling hills and warm sunshine and can be quickly added to your bucket list.