Planning a holiday can sometimes be exhausting. From choosing the perfect destination to what to do there, a lot of people find themselves in a situation when they simply go for the easiest choice. But new trends have brought a completely different way to observe the reasons why you want to travel.
So, now people go on a trip to hike wild nature, do volunteer work in affected regions and satisfy their interests. If oenophilia is your passion, then it’s time to see some of the most stunning wine regions in the world. Not only will you enjoy excellent wines, but also find a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature in an eco-friendly setting and far away from the city rush.
1. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
New Zealand is not only famous for being a filming location for the Lord of the Rings, but also for marvelous wines. Hawk’s Bay is the country’s most prominent wine region with more than 100 vineyards nicely nestled in the undiluted nature and picturesque landscapes. Reds like Merlot and Syrah are the stars here, especially in award-winning wineries like Craggy Range and Mission Estate with the latter being the oldest ones in the country.
Some of the loveliest vineyards are by the Tutaekuri and Ngaruroro where you can fish for rainbow and sea-run brown trout. Visit local farms for cheeses and honey, and make sure to come when one of the food and wine events takes place to try the best organic products of this region. The city of Napier is full of Art Deco architecture and there are available tours to see all the landmarks and find out more about its history. If you are interested to hear more about the winemaking, Wine Museum at Church Road Winery will give you an insight into this over century-long tradition in New Zealand.
2. Bordeaux, France
Even non-oenophiles have heard of the Bordeaux region in France famous for numerous chateaus and best reds in the world. The region is full of centuries-old estates and history that earned it a title of the World Heritage Site. Saint Émilion is the first town wine lovers visit for its deep-colored reds and rustic wineries like Les Cordeliers near the ruins of a Franciscan monastery. Crémant de Bordeaux is the star wine here and the best time to visit is in April and May.
The city of Bordeaux offers numerous sightseeing options like Place de la Bourse and La Cité du Vin which is a high-tech museum about the history of wine. And since Saint Émilion is believed to be the creator of the first macaron cookie, try their original version at local Fabrique de Macarons. Once you place your feet in the Bordeaux region, it will be as though you have traveled back in time of gorgeous architecture, cathedrals, and chateaus. So don’t miss 12th-century Monolithic church in Saint Émilion – the largest one in Europe made from stone.
3. British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia in Canada may be famous for salmon and maple syrup, but it also has one of the most prolific wine regions in the world. While the popular belief that Canada is too cold for wine growing, British Columbia has an ideal climate that helps produce the finest Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. The vineyards are usually around rivers, under mountains and by the glacial lakes giving them an amazing setting for wine tourism.
Okanagan Lake is only four hours away from Vancouver and top destination to visit during summer for fresh salmon dishes and reds. Once in British Columbia, don’t hesitate to explore its many attractions like the Enchanted Forest in Malakwa with more than 350 fairy folk figurines hidden among the trees. Once railway routes, Othello Tunnels are now the favorite hiking trail surrounded by lush greenery and the sound of birds.
4. Hunter Valley, Australia
Famous for exquisite Semillon and Shiraz, private wine tours in Hunter Valley will show you all the magnificent tastes of this Australian region. This includes trying vodka, liqueurs and other spirits in the organic distillery in Pokolbin and chocolate tasting at one of the many local factories. This is the Australian major wine region present since the early 1800s and full of family-run boutiques.
Like in the majority of Australia, nature here is breathtaking and hard not to explore. Riding a hot air balloon while sipping some of the local wines is very popular here, especially among the couples and newlyweds. Barrington Tops National Park has many hiking trails that will take you into the forests and wetlands like the Aeroplane Hill Walking Track and Antarctic Beech Forest Walking Track. If you want to take a swim or just take inhale the ocean scents, take a stroll on the Bathers Way and keep an eye for whales.
5. Douro Valley, Portugal
A UNESCO World Heritage site of Douro Valley is a scenic region in Portugal not overly far away from the city of Porto. The area is full of wine estates dating back to the 18th century and accompanied by the stone-terraced vineyards. Although Douro Valley is most famous for Port, it also offers very popular white Vinho Verde and Alfrocheiro made from indigenous grape varieties.
Boat tours down the Douro River are the most sought out way to explore the vineyards and wine cellars of the area while admiring the lavish landscapes at the same time. During harvest, it’s tradition to participate in grape stomping so try to plan your trip for September so you can join in. Olive harvesting and tasting is another activity that Douro Valley is proud of and something tourists like to try, as well. Climb 600 steps in Lamego to the sanctuary of ‘Our Lady of Remedies’ to marvel Baroque architecture And take a view of the whole area.
6. Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stellenbosch in South Africa is the sight to behold. The region is located underneath the Stellenbosch Mountain and has more than 200 wine cellars thanks to its Mediterranean climate. While merlot, sauvignon blanc, and Syrah are leading wines here, Pinotage is the one this region prides the most. Stellenbosch wine routes are the best way to discover the vineyards and taste exquisite cuisine in the restaurants along the way.
Just like the rest of South Africa, Stellenbosch is full of beautiful nature and landscapes which are best explored on foot and perfect for glamping. Hiking in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve will take you over mossy hills straight to one of the waterfalls to dip in and take a break from walking. If you want to try fresh produce, stop by De Warenmarkt to buy high-quality baked goods, craft beer, coffee, and fresh flowers. Once here, don’t hesitate to take a seat at the Oyster Bar for delicious seafood and a glass of bubbly.
7. Mendoza, Argentina
With over 300 sunny days every year, the Mendoza region in Argentina is a perfect place to grow grapes and make wine. So, it’s no wonder that this is the largest wine-producing region in the country and one of the biggest in the world. Most of the vineyards are located on high altitudes which many believe is the reason for their gorgeous Malbec, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay.
Since the wine estates are on the backdrops of Andes mountains, visitors will be surrounded by snowy landscapes and an abundance of fresh air. The ideal time to come here is for the Grape Harvest Festival in March to see the whole area come to life, meet wine producers and try locally made cheeses. A lot of vineyards also offer accommodations like Posada Finca Garciarena and Cavas Wine Lodge combining luxury in an eco-friendly style. And if you want to see the mountains, go Horseback riding in the Andes and see condors and other wildlife calling Mendoza their home.
Reds and whites may not be everyone’s choice of drink, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the stunning wine regions around the world. Most of them are located far away from the polluted cities and using old traditions to produce wine and care for the grapes. That makes any wine region a perfect place to relax and enjoy nature in its full undisturbed glory.