With numerous countries slowly opening up their borders to tourists, there are so many destinations to choose from. For some travelers, the destination is not all that matters. As travel is meant to be an enriching experience, the best experiences are sometimes met with a glass of wine in hand. Here are the top ten destinations to enjoy that glass of wine.
1. Vienna, Austria
Austria’s capital is home to some of the most extraordinary baroque architecture and in it lies the center of music, the arts, and coffee culture. However, Vienna is the only capital in the world that produces significant amounts of wine. It has over 1700 acres of vineyards located within the city limits. About 85 percent of these vineyards are dedicated to the production of white wine varieties such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Grüner Veltliner, to name a few.
Autumn is the best time of the year to come and experience Vienna’s vineyards, as the city plays host to the annual Wine Hiking Day during this season. Visitors can stroll any of the three routes that span a total of 15 miles while sampling the delicious food and wine on the go.
2. Languedoc-Roussillon, France
For those who love to pair their wine with music, the Jazz à l’Hospitalet is an annual festival organized by the world-famous winemaker, Gérard Bertrand. The festival takes place over the summer and is hosted by Bertrand himself at his 38-bedroom wine estate, and is located just outside the town of Narbonne. It contains five wine routes that showcase the dozens of wineries in the area and is itself just a ten-minute drive from the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Campania, Italy
Campania is located on the “shin” of Italy’s boot and is also home to the world-famous Neapolitan pizza (that hails from Naples), Mount Vesuvius, the Amalfi coast, and the ruins of Pompei. The region itself specializes in wines made using indigenous local variations, like the Aglianico (made from red grapes), and the Greco, Fiana, and Falanghina (all made from white grapes). The production of all these world-class wines is located 50 miles east of Naples itself. The best times to visit are during late spring or early autumn so as to avoid the summer crowds while taking in the cooler temperatures the season brings.
4. Porto, Portugal
It is important to note that Porto is not only known as a wine-producing nation but is also a world leader in cork production. Porto has its own museum that focuses on the history of wine drinking vessels and is home to hundreds of cups and chalices on display that date back thousands of years. Its proximity to the Douro valley makes trips to the local vineyards a reality while staying in the city.
5. Cape Winelands, South Africa
South Africa’s Cape Winelands is home to the country’s most prestigious wineries. A drive from Cape Town to the local wine country takes less than an hour and there are dedicated shuttle services that are incorporated into day tours for visitors and tourists alike. There are samples of Pinotage, South Africa’s signature red variant, and a range of Chenin Blancs. For those connoisseurs that prefer the sparkling kind, there is the Méthode Cap Classique, a special type of wine produced by using champagne varieties.
6. Tenerife, Spain
Spain is experiencing a winemaking renaissance and it is on the island territory of Tenerife where all the action is taking place. Tenerife is divided into north and south territories by the Teide volcano and is the largest of the seven Canary Islands. The southern part is hotter, drier, and sunnier, and is a popular destination for European tourists. The northern part is cooler and more humid, making it ideal for cultivating wine. There are numerous wineries in the northeast of the island, and visitors can enjoy a huge selection of wines, where bottles from Listan Prieto are enjoying a resurgence around the world.
7. Uco Valley, Argentina
Located at a high altitude within Argentina’s Mendoza province, the Uco Valley produces some of South America’s finest wines. The Argentine Malbec has made a name for itself and is now recognized worldwide as do most wines from this region. A visit to the home of these wines offers one the unique opportunity to taste firsthand the single-vineyard bottles that are not sold to the international market.
8. Piedmont, Virginia
Virginia’s hilly Piedmont region has made a name for itself as a destination for American wine tourism. This region was once home to Thomas Jefferson and is centered around the city of Charlottesville, a few hour’s drive southwest of Washington D.C. It is home to the Monticello Wine Trail and was named after the former estate of Thomas Jefferson. It consists of multiple wineries, each located within 25 miles of Charlottesville. Each of the properties offers a unique experience, complete with vineyard tours, tasting rooms, and award-winning restaurants. There are also annual events, like the Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Festival to keep the connoisseur busy.
9. Valle de Guadalupe, México
This is located closer to Los Angeles than Napa Valley and is just 75 miles south of the U.S. border. Mexico’s premier wine region is now garnering international acclaim for the world-class bottles produced by its wineries. Producers such as Decantos, Monte Xanic, and Vena Cava focus on a range of grapes that are more suited to the warm climates of southern Europe. The high-quality winemaking is only matched with exquisite farm-to-table dining and multi-course tasting menus, from local renowned chefs such as Drew Deckman, Diego Hernandez, and Javier Plascencia.
10. Paso Robles, California
Located on California’s central coast, the region might be familiar to locals of the area but has managed to keep a low profile on the international stage. Paso is home to award-winning wineries and there are numerous dining establishments that serve local, organic produce and meats. The 40,000-acre area houses more than 200 wineries. Tin City is an industrial complex that has wine producers, breweries, and cider makers working together.
Please note that this article is written for inspiration and a better future travel experience only. This does not mean we encourage our readers to travel during the pandemic. To someone who wishes to travel this time, we would recommend to our audience to please check and follow the Travel Advisories for your intended destination and choose the method that works best for you. Also, the details above may vary to change at any time.