Wine tasting is one of the best ways to spend a day or a weekend, and it has become a vacation itself. In the past years, wine tourism has become popular, and today, there are lots of wineries around the world that provide exquisite tasting rooms and as well as scenic vineyard views. When you go wine tasting, you’d be able to enjoy wine tasting dinners and get a chance to tour vineyards and cellars, too.
Wine has become a part of our diet and culture for many years. It first emerged in Europe, then expanded throughout the Mediterranean with the Roman Empire, which established the wine-making regions that are still functioning today. It then spread out to the Americas, Australasia and beyond, and more than 70 countries today are producing wine all over the world.
With a lot of wine-producing nations globally, it’s challenging to choose where your next wine-fueled vacation will be. But no worries, because we are here to help you. Today, we are giving you a list of the top wine destinations in the world that you can visit.
The wine region in Bordeaux, France, lies along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. This region has soils that are perfect for growing grapes, making Bordeaux one of the world’s finest wine-producing regions. More than 85% of the wine produced in this region is red. But it is also popular for a white dessert called Sauternes, together with an expensive and rare red wine called Petrus.
Bordeaux also has a lot to offer to wine-lovers besides its vineyards and wine tastings. It is also home to a museum that is dedicated to the living heritage of wine called La Cite du Vin. It is shaped like wine swirling into a glass, which is an architectural masterpiece. Aside from that, the Bordeaux Wine Festival is also held here every other year.
The capital of Moldova, which is Chisinau, is just a two-hour flight if you are coming from Vienna, Milan, or London. It used to be one of the world’s least-visited tourist destinations, but now, that is slowly changing because of wine tourism. You can find wine everywhere in Moldova. All of its four main regions are within a one to two hours drive from the capital, and about 25 percent of the people here are working in the wine trade.
In fact, the international airport in Moldova is named after fermented grape juice. It is home to the world’s largest wine cellar, which is 150 miles long and contains more than 2 million bottles. This cellar hosts a yearly 10-kilometer or 6.2-mile wine run, as well.
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
From the Canada/US border, Highway 97 winds its way north of Osoyoos, which is a summer vacation hotspot, going through the region’s viticulture center in Penticton, going past the mountain-framed shores of Okanagan Lake to Vernon. You’ll be able to find over 60 grape varieties here, including Pinot Noir, Riesling, Merlon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and a variety of fruit wines, as well. The wines in Okanagan are truly exceptional. If you plan to visit this place, Penticton is a great place to start a tasting tour of over 100 wineries the region has to offer.
The Douro Valley, Portugal
A lot of traditional landholders have been producing wine in the Douro Valley for more than 2,000 years. This long history has resulted in a stunning cultural landscape. You will find here vineyards blanketing the hillsides along the Douro River. The Douro Valley is very popular because of its port wine, which is the region’s main product since the 18th century. It means that when you visit here, it is a must-try that you shouldn’t miss.
You can spend your day in the Douro Valley either on a wine tour or exploring the charming villages in the region. Aside from that, you can also try riding a traditional Rabelo boat to be able to see the valley’s scenic beauty more from the river.
The island regions of Santorini and Crete are popular when it comes to wine destinations. But Greek Macedonia, which is located in the north of the country in the mainland, is also a great Greek wine destination that you might want to visit.
Wine grapes like the local native variety Xinomavro have been grown for thousands of years near the ancient port city of Thessaloniki. It is highly tannic, with bracing acidity, making it Greece’s answer to Nebbiolo. There are also multiple established wine routes to explore in Greek Macedonia. It is also easy to visit the place because it has an international airport with affordable connecting flights arriving via Istanbul.
Finger Lakes, New York
Finger Lakes is New York’s largest producing wine region, having more than 100 wineries that are located at the panoramic hills around the lakes. Here, you’ll be able to visit tasting rooms and sample different types of wines, including Vidal Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. While on tour, you can stop by at the New York Wine and Culinary Center, where you can also do wine tastings and get information as well on the region. You can also try two famous wine route, which are the Cayuga Wine Trail and the Seneca Wine Trail. Both of these routes showcase the region’s finest wineries.
Santorini in Greece is popular for its white-washed houses and brilliant blue waters. But did you know that is also has a long history of wine-making? In ancient times, Santorini’s wine was famous across the Mediterranean, and today, it is exported around the world.
Santorini has volcanic soil and micro-climate, which results in their wines having a unique taste. Some of the local varieties of wine you can taste here are Vinsanto, Mezzo, and Nychteri. The majority of their wineries are located in the southern and central parts of the island. It is indeed relaxing to admire the famous sunsets in Santorini while having a glass or two of their delicious wine.
If you want to taste the best Pinot Noirs, then a Swiss vacation is perfect for you. Valais is located on the Alpine upper stretches of the Rhone River. It has a large portion of Switzerland’s wineries and is also responsible for about half of total production. The surrounding mountains in this region shelter its best vineyards, including Domaine des Muses, and Domaine Jean-Rene Germanier. Aside from that, there are also lots of resorts here, and as well as accommodations where you can stay when you visit.
Argentina has also established itself as one of the top wine-producing regions in the world. It is known for exceptional wines like Malbec, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are lots of wineries in Mendoza, Argentina that offer tastings, tasting dinners, and as well as tours. But almost all the wineries here require a reservation. Therefore, if you plan to visit the place, make sure that you book in advance.
If you are going on a trip to Tuscany, it will not be complete if you’ll not be able to taste one of the region’s world-famous local wines. In Tuscany, the Chianti region is one of the most beautiful and the most well-known as well. It has rolling hills, endless vineyards, and scenic landscapes that you will surely love.
The wine tasting venues in Tuscany range from rustic farmhouses to medieval castles. Aside from wine tasting, there are also tours that involve demonstrating how wine tasting is done correctly, and the best foods they are paired with.
Uruguay is also a great place for meat and wine lovers. However, it is not as popular as its neighboring Argentina. But Uruguay is South America’s 4th largest wine producer. One of the best wines you can taste here is their full-bodied Tannat, which is equivalent to Argentina’s Malbec, and Chile’s Carmenere.
Aside from tannic reds, Uruguay also offers other wine varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. They also offer world-class food pairings, and as well as picturesque coastal towns and beaches.
Willamette Valley, Oregon
There are more than 200 large and small wineries in the fertile region of Willamette Valley in Oregon. It is south from Portland along Highway 99. Unlike its California neighbor, this region grows cooler-climate varietals, just like those produced in Burgundy and Alsace. This wine region is popular for its Pinot Noir. But you’ll be able to taste other varieties as well, like Pinot Gris, Riesling, and Gewurztraminer. Their wineries also offer picnic tables. This means that you can pack a picnic basket when you visit. Simply pick up a bottle of wine and enjoy the Cascade Mountain views.
Yarra Valley, Australia
Yarra Valley is just an hour’s drive northeast of Melbourne. It has 80 wineries, lots of restaurant offerings, and as well as accommodation options, making it a favorite weekend getaway. Aside from that, this region is also home to breathtaking scenery and the most iconic wildlife in Australia. It has garnered a global reputation for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Some of the top wineries here are Yering Station and Domaine Chandon, which has been in operation since 1838. The Yarra Valley is also popular for its local breweries and artisan cider.
Cape Town, South Africa
If you will be spending your vacation in Cape Town, one of the best activities you should try is wine-tasting. The finest and oldest wineries in the region are found right in the city’s backyard. This makes the region recognized internationally for its fine wines, together with its stunning natural landscapes and delicious food.
Some of the best wine routes you can try here are the Franschoek, Paarl, ad Stellendbosch. The latter is home to about 148 wine farms, and lots of them are historical. It also features fine-dining restaurants, gardens, and manor houses.
Napa and Sonoma, California
Napa Valley is one of the most popular wine tasting regions in the United States. It draws more than 4 million visitors every year. This place offers world-class wines that garner international praise. It has about 450 wineries that are open for wine tastings. Some of the wine varieties you can try here include Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Aside from wine tasting, you will also find here charming towns, hotels, spas, restaurants, and lots of outdoor activities. You can also check our post on How To Plan a Visit to Napa Valley for more information.
Sonoma, on the other hand, is the second most popular region in the United States. It produces a lot of similar grapes that are grown in Napa. There are also many wineries here that are open for tastings. It also offers towns with wine bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels.
These are the top wine destinations in the world. The next time you will be craving for the best wines in the world, you can have a trip to these places and see what they have in store for you.