There are few things in the world that are more luxurious and lavish than a wine tour. Sipping one of the most exquisite beverages out there while overlooking the expansive vineyards and rolling hills with your loved one can hardly be topped with any other holiday. If you too are a romantic soul dreaming of such a scene, perhaps exploring some of the best wine regions in the world would be a good idea.
Wines and winemaking have a long history spanning across many countries and cultures, so it’s no wonder they possess such a prominent presence today still. From powerhouses such as Bordeaux and Tuscany all the way to up-and-coming, less-known regions, the entire world is doing their part when it comes to wine production. Wanting to go on a vacation imbued with delicious wines, you might be in a tight spot when it comes to choosing just where to go. Worry not, as here are some of the best wine regions in the world that will, without a doubt, provide you with the most exquisite experience you can imagine.
Starting with a classic, Santorini is an ancient wine region that boasts vines that are hundreds of years old thanks to the special composition of the soil in the region. Located on an archipelago southeast of the mainland, you can probably imagine the natural beauty of the region: blue waters meeting with steep slopes adorned by traditional houses and narrow pathways. The scenery is like out of a book, but as if that was not enough, some of the local wines will leave a lasting impression on your palate as well. Wines made from the indigenous Assyrtiko grapes have a unique taste, unlike other dry whites you’ve tried before.
Douro Valley, Portugal
Portugal might not have the most wineries in the world but it boasts Douro Valley which in itself is a worthy contender on your travel bucket list. This World Heritage-listed region is the only producer of Port, which is a “sweet, red, fortified wine.” But besides the delicious wines, this valley is simply so beautiful that it’s worth visiting for the sights alone. The steep, rocky slopes are both majestic and have a special soil that makes the grapes extremely tasty, so it’s no wonder this region is one of the most treasured wine regions in the world. Besides, it makes a perfect getaway as it boasts wellness retreats and you might be able to take a boat tour on the river too.
Hunter Valley, Australia
On the other hand, Australia certainly has its fair share of wine regions, out of which the first that we must highlight is Hunter Valley. A popular destination not only thanks to its close proximity to Sydney but also thanks to the many things you can do and see here, Hunter Valley wine tours include everything you might want in a relaxing holiday. Besides the usual – impeccable wines, you also get a chance to visit an organic distillery, while you can go hot air ballooning or exploring the Hunter Valley Gardens in your free time. If you time your visit well, you might catch one of the many food and music festivals that are organized in the region every year, too.
Of course, we cannot leave out one of the most famous wine regions today from this list, which is Bordeaux. France is a top wine producer in the world, and for a good reason; with seven wine regions and thousands and thousands of wineries, France is a real playground when it comes to wine tourism. A must-visit place in the Bordeaux region is certainly Saint Émilion, which is a historic little town that is also UNESCO World Heritage-listed. It will take you back in time to centuries before – so both history and wine lovers will have a magical experience here. The deep red wines of this region fit the atmosphere well, and you’ll certainly want to take home a bottle or two!
Most of us dream of visiting Italy at least once in our lives, so why not take your wine tour to this legendary wine country – the leading wine producer in the world? Tuscany is as close to a fairytale-like scenery as it gets, with deep green hills and valleys and picturesque slopes. The best way to explore this region would be to drive through it at your own pace, stopping at whichever historic, charming village catches your eye and grabbing lunch at gourmet little restaurants where you will be served some truly exquisite wine with your meal. In fact, Tuscany has everything you might want from a vacation, so besides the vineyard tours and wine tastings, make sure you put some time aside for some island hopping, food festival hunting and having some of that Italian gelato, especially if you’re visiting in the summer!
Hungary is an up-and-coming tourist destination but most of the attention is usually focused on the capital, Budapest, for its beautiful architecture. It would, however, be a mistake to ignore the countryside, as it boasts a renowned wine region called Tokaj. While it mostly produces dry whites, there are, of course, varieties that are unique to this region. Often referred to as the world’s oldest sweet wine, Tokaji Aszú is a unique variety made from botrytized grapes – the story of which you can learn about first-hand if you decide to visit this wine region and discover some traditional Hungarian wines and dishes you probably won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Napa Valley, California
Taking a leap to the other side of the planet, Napa Valley is a well-known region that is the perfect choice if you are somewhat new to the art of wine tasting. There are so many wineries here that you will have a hard time picking just one, so do your research about the different tours each of them offers to make sure you find the best ones. Visiting Napa Valley will certainly be a memorable experience, especially if you opt to go to Auction Napa Valley, a much-celebrated charity event that raised almost $12 million this year – which is a good indicator of what a huge event it is.
Margaret River, Australia
Taking a turn back to the Land Down Under, another notable wine region tourists love is Margaret River. Located in Western Australia, it’s a little isolated from the rest of the world, but that is what makes this wine region even more enticing. Its wines are sometimes compared to those of Burgundy, so you might experience a French vibe as you sip the exquisite wines. Still, there is a lot to do in Margaret River so in between the wine tastings, you can stroll around the farmers’ markets, go walking on some of the forest trails or explore the Mammoth Cave.
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Finally, a picturesque wine region in New Zealand is Hawke’s Bay, which boasts 72 vineyards and some outstanding full-bodied reds. The sceneries will sweep you off your feet – make sure you check out Cape Kidnappers and Te Mata Peak, move your muscles by biking around the region and, for a good laugh, take a picture with the road sign of the place that has the longest name in the world. All in all, as you can see, Hawke’s Bay is a place where there is plenty to do, and the delicious wines and food are just a bonus – a really good one.
If you are a gourmet at all, making your next trip a winery tour is perhaps the best decision out there. Merge relaxation with food and wine tastings and stroll the idyllic landscapes as the sun sets, and you will experience a whole different world – one filled with decadence. From Italy through France all the way to Australia, there is simply no way to make a “wrong” decision as each of the regions has its own unique qualities and nuances of wines. However, you still have to choose if you are to visit any of them, and hopefully, this list will make that decision somewhat easier.