Countries are finally reopening, and all of us with wanderlust have already packed our bags or are planning our next great escape. If you’re searching for inspiration for a trip that encompasses sightseeing, local cuisine, and outdoor experiences, start with one of your passions: wine.
With so many worthy destinations to choose from and so little time, consider these travel ideas to four classic wine tourism regions. All wineries listed are set up to accommodate visitors; just be sure to check out their webpage or give them a call before you go!
4 World Wine Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List
Napa Valley, California: Experience the Wine Country Gem
Why travel to Europe when you can sample some fantastic wines in California? Napa Valley produces world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and offers a huge variety of activities for a great vacation. The active traveler can find excellent hiking, biking, and camping opportunities in Napa’s state parks. For the more leisurely set, a day at the spa, a round of golf, hot air ballooning, or a visit to the Napa Valley farmers’ market may be of more interest. And great dining opportunities abound for every budget and taste.
A visit to neighboring wineries Cakebread Cellars and Sequoia Grove, both located on St. Helena Road in Rutherford, to taste their exceptional red and white wines is a must for wine lovers. Travelers that prefer bubbles must stop at Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, located on the border of Napa and Carneros counties. The winery produces exceptional sparkling wines and Pinot Noir and is a re-creation of the French Taittinger Champagne chateau with a terrace offering a breathtaking view of the vineyards where you can sip in style.
Look for wines by these producers to try or purchase online to taste and fuel your imagination before you go:
Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley: cakebread.com
Sequoia Grove, Napa Valley: sequoiagrove.com
Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley: www.domainecarneros.com
Mendoza, Argentina: Adventure in the Eden of the Andes
A land of sun and good wine and renowned for its Malbec, Mendoza is one of the world wine capitals. This high-altitude destination for wine-loving travelers has long attracted a mixed crowd of outdoor enthusiasts. So, whether skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, horseback riding, or rafting is your pleasure, the Mendoza province of Argentina has it all.
After a day of discovering majestic scenery, travelers can fill evenings with good company, an authentic meal, and a glass of smooth, spicy Malbec. Over the years, Mendoza has been influenced by Spanish and Italian cultures, creating an infusion of colorful and flavorful local fare. Many meals begin with fresh warm bread and a sample of olive oil, another regional specialty. Main courses are consistent with the region’s Creole culture, featuring various cured and grilled meat dishes, such as “patitas aliñadas,” baked veal served with chimichurri sauce that pairs well with a glass of Malbec.
Taste or visit the below wineries and their wines made in the Andean clouds:
Alta Vista, Mendoza: altavistawines.com
Bodega Norton, Mendoza: www.norton.com.ar/en
Burgundy, France: Biking La Vie est Belle
From Chablis in the north to Beaujolais in the south, Burgundy is a mecca for foodies and wine collectors. Many of the world’s iconic vineyards are located in Burgundy, and there are 177 Michelin-starred restaurants to explore in the region.
The city of Beaune makes an excellent base for exploring Burgundy; it has top-notch restaurants, shops, a local produce market, and an adjacent flea market every Saturday morning, and of course, wine, wine, and more wine! It is home to the iconic Hôtel-Dieu or Hospices De Beaune museum. Built in the 1400s, it is a fine example of Flemish architecture. The Hospices de Beaune owns vineyards of almost 60 hectares in Côte de Beaune, Côtes de Nuits, and Pouilly-Fuissé; the wines from these vineyards are auctioned off the third Sunday of November. This public event is a great opportunity to find out more about Burgundian wines and taste.
Pommard, Volnay, Mersault, Puligny-Montrachet, and other fine vineyards are only a bike ride from Beaune, and renting a bike is easy: this is a popular way to discover the region at your own pace and keep the extra wine and cheese calories in check. Many canals and rivers crisscross Burgundy, and if you prefer a more leisurely and luxurious journey through Côte-d’Or I will highly recommend that you explore that option at Frenchwaterways.com. La vie est belle in the rolling hills of Burgundy!
A few wines to try or purchase online before embarking on your voyage:
Maison Louis Jadot, Beaune: www.louisjadot.com/en
Domaine Ferret, Fuissé: www.domaine-ferret.com/en
Chateau des Jacques, Beaujolais: www.chateau-des-jacques.fr/en
Tuscany, Italy: in Pursuit of La Dolce Vita
Ah, Tuscany, the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and one of the most visited Italian regions has an undeniably important contribution to history, literature, art, and the wine world. Travelers flock to Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano, and the Maremma and Chianti regions, drawn by the rich culture, architecture, exceptional wines, and the hope to steal a bit of the la dolce vita for themselves.
The cuisine is superb and straightforward, using fresh produce and local ingredients: legumes, seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, saffron, salami, hams, cheeses, homemade pasta, truffles in the fall, game (mainly wild boar, deer, pheasant), and of course, the unique Chianina beef used for Florentine steak.
The history of viticulture in Tuscany dates back to the eighth century B.C. and the ancient Etruscans. Sangiovese is the most prominent grape of the region today. It is used to produce prestigious and critically acclaimed wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti. Bordeaux varietals such Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot (which have been grown in Tuscany for over 250 years) are contributors to the creation of the Super Tuscan category. These are often blended wines with varying percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, and Merlot, all depending on the winemaker’s style.
Not-to-miss Tuscan producers to taste and visit on your journey:
Tenuta di Nozzole, Greve in Chianti: www.borgodelcabreo.it/en
Tenuta di Biserno, Bibbona: www.biserno.it/en/home