Anyone who knows me knows that I love wine tourism, and I’ve been fortunate enough to taste in nearly all of the best wine regions on the planet. From the valleys of Franschhoek (South Africa) to the plains of Otago (New Zealand), there is something about sipping a nice glass of wine on the very same Earth where it was grown. Given my love of international wine tours, I was happy to publish this post written by Charlotte Evans about four of the world’s best wine regions (especially since I’ve tasted in all of them). If you’re just beginning to get into wine and are looking to drink on vacation, the following post is a brief primer on four of the world’s best wine regions.
From Malbec and Merlot to Cabernet and Chardonnay, it’s easy — and dare I say, nice (!) — to get lost in the world of wine. For most people, the occasional bottle of plonk or glass of vino will suffice. A full-bodied red is the usual accompaniment to an evening meal, while sparking white wine is essential for any celebratory occasion.
However, wine tourism has grown in popularity over the past 10 years. In fact, it’s grown so much that wineries are now opening up their doors for vineyard tours and wine-tasting sessions. With so much interest surrounding the fine wine industry, how about we take a look at some of world’s greatest viniculture regions? These are places where they love producing fine wine, and where wine lovers the world over should visit.
The world’s largest producer of wine is arguably the most fascinating too. France has been responsible for some of the industry’s major developments and milestones, but perhaps the most well-respected region is Bordeaux. Even though the province of Champagne is tempting for obvious reasons, Bordeaux’s rolling green vineyards and estates impress the most. While the town’s gothic 18th century architecture provides plenty of appeal, escaping to the country to chateaus such as Graves, St-Émilion and Médoc is well worth it.
Napa Valley, California, USA
More than four million tourists visit Napa Valley each year. They can’t all be wrong! Clearly, there’s some kind of magic about the place — that and the fact that there over 450 wineries to choose from for a tasting. Unlike other regions that tend to specialize in one or two particular wines, Napa Valley is especially versatile when it comes to wines. You’ll find merlot, pinot noir, zinfandel, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon all in its portfolio.
Responsible for 90% of Argentina’s wine, the region of Mendoza, comprising Luján de Cuyo, Valle de Uco and Maipú, is home to over 1,500 vineyards.
Famous for its Malbec offerings, Mendoza also produces a number of top quality cabernet sauvignon and syrah wines. A popular way — not to mention, a fun one! — of discovering these blends is to hire a bike and pedal around the numerous viñedos while sampling the various wines on offer. Are there any particular vineyards that you should visit? Well, Mendel, Renacer, and Club Tapiz are all required visiting if you’re a wine tourist.
Against a backdrop of medieval castles, farmhouses and lush terrain, the vineyards of Tuscany are a slice of heaven for any wine aficionado. You can’t beat a chianti with meat or pasta, but Caparzo is another noteworthy Tuscan wine. Highlights include the organic vineyard of Val delle Corti, free tastings at Fontodi and the typically Tuscan Villa Pomona estate.
Above you have four destinations that really know their wines, and if you head out there to sample the wines, you won’t be disappointed. Wine is a lifestyle, and you might find yourself wanting to stay longer, all for the love of a good grape. You’ll have to come home some time, though!