Winemaking is an old tradition, dating back to several millennia BC. Archeologists and historians are unsure when and where exactly the first wine was produced, although some evidence suggests it may have happened in Iran’s Zagros Mountains. Today, wine has many representations and can symbolize different aspects of a person’s life, like fine dining and toasting. For many, a trip around wine is ideal. With that in mind, here are the world’s most amazing wine regions to try reds, whites, and roses, as well as to have fun.
Romancing with Red Wine in Burgundy, France
France is the country most associated with wine and the culture of drinking it. You can spot gorgeous vineyards in the countryside, but none stands out more than the Burgundy region. Full of small villages and only three hours away from Paris, many come here to try Red Burgundy made from Pinot Noir grapes and White Burgundy made from Chardonnay.
Besides vineyards, you can explore medieval structures and villages, like Cluny and Irancy. If you can, try to visit as many villages as you can since each has its unique charm. Just keep in mind that this is the most expensive of all wine regions in France, even almost equally famous Bordeaux.
A European Wine Charm in Napa Valley, USA
Napa Valley is the most recognized wine region in the USA that produces some of the finest Merlots, Pinot Noires, and Chardonnays. Connoisseurs say that every vineyard produces its unique Cabernet Sauvignon, special in body and taste. Although perceived as a destination for the rich and famous, Napa Valley is much more than a luxurious weekend getaway.
For decades, artists and art lovers come here to enjoy exhibitions and show regularly organized at the Napa Valley Opera House. Those who love their wine with fine cheese will find an abundance of products by local farmers at the Oxbow Public Market. But if you want to make vineyard touring truly an exciting event, hop on the Napa Valley Wine Train that will take you to wineries for tasting visits.
Celebrating Winemaking in LaRioja, Spain
Spain’s most famous wine region, La Rioja, is the best spot to pair sightseeing with learning more about winemaking. Like most of the country, you will find interesting history stories here by touring cathedrals, castles, and towns. Two of the most famous wines are reds — La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva and Baron de Chiral, made from Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, and Tempranillo grapes.
Besides great wine and interesting sights, La Rioja hosts the Haro Wine Festival. This is a fun and entertaining celebration with the tradition of participants pouring wine over each other. The Camino de Santiago is close by and you can walk some part of this pilgrimage route. Be sure to try Basque cuisine, since it goes well with La Roja’s red wines.
A Relaxing Wine Holiday in Hunter Valley, Australia
Australia may not seem like a wine-making country, but this tradition has been here since the 1800s. Hunter Valley is its first and most famous wine region with Shiraz, Semillon, and Chardonnay leading the way. Estates, cellars, and restaurants are the best way to try some of the local wines paired with exquisite fusion cuisine. Hunter Valley accommodation choices range from modest to luxurious ones, located on the wine estates, making this region a favorite couples’ destination for weddings, anniversaries, and honeymoons.
However, it’s not a location specially reserved for lovebirds! Tasting tours at the chocolate factory or distillery of spirited drinks in Pokolbin attract all types of visitors, from families to corporate excursions. If you want to see the magnificent landscapes of Hunter Valley, go on a hot air balloon ride or hike at the Barrington Tops National Park.
A Wine Tour Among the Clouds in Mendoza, Argentina
If you decide to go to Mendoza, you will drink wine in one of the highest wine regions in the world, the Andes Mountains. Being this high is well worth the signature wines of the region —Malbec, Chardonnay, and Tempranillo. Try to time your visit to Mendoza for March when the Grape Harvest Festival takes place to launch the harvest season.
Those who like extreme sports will love hiking the icy terrains to Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America at 22,837 feet or 6,960 meters. Otherwise, learn more about winemaking in the Museo Nacional del Vino or have lunch in one of the many restaurants overlooking the white tops of the Andes.
Marvelous Wines and Renaissance Art of Tuscany, Italy
Italy is a high-ranking destination among tourists who come here looking for good food and romance. But these two never go without an excellent wine, especially if it comes from Tuscany, like Chianti, Elba Aleatico Passito, and Carmignano. Before you come to the Chianti Classico viticultural area to enjoy Tuscan red wines and pasta, stop by Florence and Siena.
These two are the most important cities in the Tuscan region where you can see some of the greatest masterpieces of art and architecture. Organized tours will take you to the most iconic sights, gardens, museums, and galleries, like Boboli Gardens and Leonardo Interactive Museum. Tuscany gets its romantic appeal from its rich history, lush vineyards, and green hills where you can go for a walk or have a picnic.
Wine Region for Nature Enthusiasts in Stellenbosch, South Africa
Often praised for its beautiful landscape, Stellenbosch Winelands has a Mediterranean climate responsible for one of the best Merlot in the world. However, the more famous wine here is Pinotage, South African take on a mixture of Pinot Noire and Cinsault.
Riding a bike is a favorite among visitors to see vineyards and nature, but you can also hike and trek the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve with organized tours. The town of Stellenbosch is attractive in its own right thanks to Dutch architecture dating back to the 17th century and quaint coffee shops where you can have brunch. It doesn’t matter if you come here in the winter or summer, since both seasons are excellent to explore the wonders of this wine region.
Lastly: Amazing Wine Regions Await You
These world’s most amazing wine regions are for everyone. You don’t have to love wine to come to any of these places, since each offers a lot more through its art, history, cuisine, and culture. Even if you travel alone, these destinations will teach you how to enjoy yourself and embrace the beauty that surrounds you.
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-All photos as credited. Cover photos from Griffin Winery, by Nancy Zaffaro.