The taste of a wine is determined by so much more than simply its colour. As any wine lover knows, flavour is influenced by a variety of factors. Chief among them is a wine’s place of origin.
The region in which a wine is produced is central to the experience one has when drinking it, with many vineyards boasting tastes which are distinctly their own.
Oftentimes, a wine’s unique flavour can be lost in bottling and distribution, particularly when extensive transportation is involved. As such, to truly enjoy the wine of any given region, one must visit that region for themselves.
Today, we’re going to be looking at the finest must-visit wine regions across the globe. Each promises a thrilling tasting experience that will delight the sommelier in you. Here are the top 5 destinations for wine lovers in the world!
France is famous for its wine. It only seems right, then, to begin this list of the world’s top wine destinations with a look at Bordeaux.
Boasting a vineyard area of more than 100,000 hectares, Bordeaux is the largest wine-growing region in France by a significant margin. Characterised by its fullness of body, Bordeaux wine typically ranges from tart to sweet, depending on the blend of grapes used.
While bottles of wine have been known to stretch into the hundreds in Bordeaux, it is possible to experience the region’s wine on a budget.
Thrifty travelers will revel in the many low-price tasting tours on offer. A Medoc vineyard bus tour, for example, can be enjoyed for less than €50.
Naturally, the cost of accommodation in Bordeaux varies depending on the time of year. Dedicated wine enthusiasts who want to experience the harvest season in Bordeaux (late August to early October) should be prepared to spend four figures on accommodation.
Not far behind France when it comes to sheer wine synonymy is Italy. Tuscany, located in central Italy, is particularly famed for its wine.
Chianti comes exclusively from Tuscany, which is undoubtedly its greatest allure for wine lovers.
Unlike Bordeaux wine, Chianti is quite flexible in its recipe and format, with light and full bodied variations available. This makes Tuscany a popular destination among more adventurous wine lovers, as it allows them to experiment with a wide array of flavours (and price tags!).
Meanwhile, the region’s Super Tuscans – any Tuscan wine produced using non-indigenous grapes – has made it a favorite location of cult wine enthusiasts.
Wine tasting tours exist in abundance in Tuscany, with private and group tour options available.
Most of these tours tend to focus exclusively on Chianti production. However, more and more Super Tuscan tours are emerging (much to the chagrin of the purists).
Tuscany is also recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance, with countless museums and art galleries exhibiting some of the era’s most glorious works.
With so much world heritage to take in, no history buff will be at a loss for something to do in between wine tasting tours!
Cape Town, South Africa
No discussion of the best wine destinations is complete without a mention of South Africa.
Every year, millions of wine lovers travel to the country to tour its vineyards and sample the countless delicious flavours it has to offer. Many of those wine lovers choose Cape Town as their destination and it isn’t hard to see why.
Cape Town offers what is perhaps the widest variety of wines in the entire country.
On a single tasting tour, you could very well encounter Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and of course, Pinontage. You may even find all three grapes blended together in the delectable Cape Blend.
One of the great advantages of wine tasting in South Africa is how central everything is.
Contradicting the traditional image of vineyards, Cape Town boasts a wine region in the middle of the city. This will allow out-of-town sommeliers to enjoy a plethora of additional activities, such as sightseeing, sunbathing, and historical tours.
With the relatively low cost of Cape Town wine – a good bottle can be found for less than R60 – you’ll have plenty of cash left over to enjoy everything else the city has to offer!
Finger Lakes, NY, United States
Yes, you read that right. New York. So much of America’s wine tasting industry is focused on Napa Valley that it’s easy to ignore the country’s alternative wine regions.
One of these oft-overlooked wine regions is Finger Lakes. Located in the state of New York, Finger Lakes boasts almost 150 wineries as part of its ever-expanding wine scene.
Many of these wineries focus on Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and other white wines. However, those who prefer a glass of red won’t have any trouble tracking down a few cool-climate varieties.
Both white and red wine can be purchased for comparatively low rates at Finger Lakes, largely owing to the region’s lack of popularity.
The same goes for the wine tours on offer there. You’ll need to act fast to take advantage of these low prices, however, as Finger Lakes is attracting more and more tourists every season.
One you have completed your wine tasting tour, you won’t have any trouble finding additional activities at Finger Lakes.
Breweries and distilleries also operate in the region, with many offering their own guided and tasting tours. Meanwhile, the lakes from which the region takes its name provide a scenic backdrop for a day’s relaxation.
If you prefer a bit of hustle and bustle, Finger Lakes is just a couple of hours away from Manhattan, so you can enjoy a day of sightseeing and shopping on the streets of New York.
Casablanca Valley, Chile
Located just a short drive from Santiago is Chile’s Casablanca Valley.
Although its first vineyards were planted less than 50 years ago, Casablanca Valley is today considered one of the world’s premier producers of white wines.
It is particularly renowned for its Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Not far removed from the Pacific Ocean, it is also known for its Pinot Noir and other cool-climate offerings.
Casablanca Valley’s unique climate gives its wine a distinct flavour which simply cannot be mimicked by Chile’s more central wine regions. So unique is the region’s climate, in fact, that Casa Lapostolle’s Cuvée Alexandre Chardonnay is produced using grapes sourced exclusively from its vineyards.
Casablanca Valley wine thrives in mid temperatures. This means there’s no need to visit the region in the summer months, when non-wine-loving tourists line the Chilean streets by the thousands.
Nor will you have to worry about the prices of food, drink, and tours, which rise significantly during peak tourist periods.
We suggest visiting Casablanca Valley sometime between September and May. During this time, you can experience the full flavour and aroma of its many delicious blends. While there is no shortage of accommodation in Casablanca itself, you may want to consider using Santiago as your base instead.
The capital city of Chile, Santiago presents ample opportunity for memory making once your wine tasting adventure has been completed. That is, of course, provided you don’t taste too much wine!
Let us know what you think of our top 5 picks below!