With some of the world’s best vineyards located in sunny and scenic environments, a wine-tasting tour can make a perfect addition to an overseas trip. What better way to spend an afternoon than soaking up the sunshine on a walk around the vineyards, and immersing yourself in culture by sampling a tipple or two of the local produce?!
We explore some of the world’s best wine regions, that just happen to be in some great destinations to travel through.
With 10 major wine regions dotted throughout the country, you may well find yourself in the vicinity of a decent vineyard on any trip to France. Alsace in the East is popular with white wine drinkers, or visit the picturesque region of Bordeaux to indulge in some hearty reds. If bubbles are more your style, pop to the infamous region of Champagne.
2016 will be remembered amongst wine connoisseurs as the year Italy overtook France to become the largest wine producer in the world! There are 20 wine regions spread across Italy and the differing geography and weather results in distinctive tasting wines, with Piedmont being home to two of the world’s best red wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.
With over one million acres of land dedicated to growing grapes, Spain has the most land dedicated to vineyards and is the third largest producer of wine in the world. With fruity, earthy flavours and a smooth taste, Rioja is by far the most well-known of Spanish wines, and the Valencia region is the oldest in Spain, where grapes have been grown since the Stone Age.
The USA is the fourth largest wine producer in the world and one region in particular contributes to 90% of the country’s wine production. Yep, you guessed it; the sunny climes of California are home to some world-class vineyards such as Napa and Sonoma.
There are two things you need to know about Argentinean wine: Malbec and Mendoza. Whilst there are many excellent red and white wines to come out of the “New World’s fastest growing exporter of wine”, Malbec is the leading grape in terms of reputation and quantity, and just happens to pair perfectly with a sumptuous slab of Argentinean steak. The stunning region of Mendoza, nestled in the foothills of the breathtaking Andes, is a fantastic place to explore by bike, cycling between vineyards to sample the best the region has to offer.
Hop over to the other side of the Andes and you will find the Maipo Valley, a sub-region of the larger Valle Central wine-producing region of Chile. Cabernet is the local star here, fed by the Maipo river flowing straight from the mountains, helping Chile become the fifth largest wine exporter in the world.
Less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town brings you to the beautiful wine region of Stellenbosch where the historical town of the same name features fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture and boasts a winemaking tradition that stretches back to the end of the 17th Century. South Africa’s ‘own’ variety, Pinotage, is a striking and earthy red and the honeyed Chenin Blancs are perfect to sip on the vineyard terraces on a warm spring-time afternoon, overlooking the rows of vines and surrounding mountains.