Imagine sipping a glass of wine in a sun-soaked courtyard as you take in blissful views of verdant vineyards all around you. Doesn’t it sound like the perfect activity to be doing on a vacation? If you are nodding along vehemently, here’s our handpicked list of the world’s most alluring wine destinations. Think beyond Napa Valley, and venture to the scenic valleys of Argentina or the sweeping vineyards of South Africa in search of the finest wines. Oenophile or not, we are sure you’ll have a great time exploring wineries and soaking up splendid views on these immersive wine vacations…
1Douro Valley, Portugal
This steeply-terraced valley is considered the oldest demarcated wine region in the world (its port was declared in 1756). Interestingly, though, this stunning region in Portugal has only been on the wine tourism radar for about two decades. This UNESCO-listed site grows more than 80 varieties of grapes including Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Cao.
Can’t Miss Pour: To honor the region’s history, try wine from the 300-year-old Quinta do Vallado vineyard. The 16-month oak barrel-aged Vallado Tinta Roriz is ultra-concentrated on the nose and powerfully full-bodied with red fruit flavors.
Offbeat Option: Alentejo, Portugal
Alentejo is where Portugal’s climate steers clear of the Atlantic influence. The scenery changes from steep terraces to gently rolling plains that get scorching hot summers and cold winters, paving the way for a more ‘new world’ style of wine. Check out Malhadinha Nova and their intense yet spectacularly smooth Malhadinha Tinto 2003.
2Barossa Valley, Australia
The bucolic Barossa Valley, just 50 minutes northeast of Adelaide, is synonymous with fine wine. Here, you can bask in a glorious sunset over gently rolling Shiraz vineyards with kangaroos casually hopping by. While the focus is on Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre and Malbec also shine here.
Can’t Miss Pour: E&E Black Pepper Shiraz has received 90+ points from Wine Spectator, a leading wine culture magazine, ten years in a row, cementing its status as one of Australia’s Top 25 benchmark wines.
Offbeat Option: Margaret River
Nestled in Western Australia, the charming town of Margaret River is surrounded by surreal waterfalls, incredible wineries, great beaches and karri trees that rise up to 200 feet. Will Berliner of Cloudburst Winery turned this otherwise traditional winemaking region on its head. With just an online winemaking certificate under his belt, he swan-dived into the local scene with his creation of cult wines that continue to receive near perfect scores from every major international wine critic!
3Stellenbosch, South Africa
Those gorgeous photos you see of South African vineyards sprawled beneath imposing granite mountains? Chances are they’re from Stellenbosch, the country’s second oldest town and its most famous wine-producing region. Cabernet Sauvignon is a standout here and is often combined with Merlot to create Bordeaux Blend wines. It’s like South Africa’s Napa Valley, just with soil three times as old.
Can’t Miss Pour: It may not be the most budget-friendly wine, but the Sadie Family Die Ouwingerdreeks ‘Mev. Kirsten’ Chenin Blanc, with notes of honey and citrus, is sheer magic.
Offbeat Option: Paarl Wine Route
Just north of Stellenbosch but less touristy (even though it’s the second oldest wine route in the country), this region is made for slowly meandering down less-traversed gravel roads between the Drakenstein and Paarlberg mountains. Go on a quest to find the perfect picnic spot and pop a Shiraz or Chenin Blanc.
4Valle de Uco, Argentina
Situated at the foot of the towering Andes, Valle de Uco has an often snow-capped, picture-postcard backdrop for its rows of vines – on a clear day you can even see the Tupungato Volcano. Argentina’s wonderland of world-famous Malbec, Uco Valley has blue, sunny skies almost 300 days a year, making for some big reds including Bonarda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot and Tempranillo.
Can’t Miss Pour: Take a sip of anything by Matervini, the fully organic, solar-powered Malbec playground of Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso.
Offbeat Option: Cafayate, Argentina
A couple of hours from the adventure tourism destination of Salta in northwest Argentina, getting to Cafayate is an experience in itself. Wind through a surreal, sculpted desert landscape and reward your arrival to this lesser-known wine region with a Laborum Single Vineyard Torrontes from Porvenir.
If you are a wine connoisseur, you’ll know that there’s no greater joy than sampling some of the world’s best wines in the most scenic vineyards. Reach out to us and let us know which of these wine destinations appeal to you the most. We would love to take care of all of the details of your next wine tasting vacation, so you can focus on what’s important – drinking the wine!