In my years of travelling, I have been on holidays designed around a cruise, a location or a specific occasion. Nowadays, there seems to be an increase in vacations designed around themes, such as food, adventure, and wine. Wine destinations have become very popular in the past ten years due to the increase in cooking and travel shows. Not only are the vineyards in beautiful locales, the wine selections are unsurpassed. There are a number of wine tour companies in Europe and in the United States, such as Grape Escapes and Wildwood Adventures, that cater to this travel niche. Those who go on these trips can be divided into three groups: wine lovers, sommeliers, and winemakers. They combined their love of wine and travel to create customized trips. Many of the vineyards are family-owned and offer tastings, vineyard tours, and fine dining. Below are the top four wine destinations that are known for their wines and accommodations.
Tuscany, Italy — Italy certainly knows its wines, being the largest wine producer in the world. Tuscany is known for its Chianti and beautiful vineyards in addition to its beaches and mountains. You’ll enjoy the wine, food, and scenery while learning about winemaking, foods to pair them with and the history of the region. While in Tuscany, don’t miss out on experiencing its renaissance art, architecture, and museums.
Bordeaux, France — France has earned its reputation as one of the largest wine producers in the world with eight billion bottles per year. This region is one of the three largest grape-growing regions, which has access to the sea. This enables it to be the most exported wine from France. It’s interesting to note that the region became the main supplier of wine to England when King Henry II of England married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Along with the wine venues, there is the Bordeaux Wine Festival and a museum dedicated to wine.
Napa Valley, USA — In the United States, California produces the majority of wine and is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll find many wine country hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts that offer wine tastings and local vineyard tours. They are many to choose from, whether you are looking for luxury or rustic. Also, it is an hour drive to San Francisco, which makes for a great day trip.
Douro Valley, Portugal — Known for its terraced vineyards, Douro Valley is famous for its port and green wine. Stay at one of the country estates to take advantage of wine tastings, tours, and harvests. According to The Vine Route, Douro Valley has the distinction of being the first demarcated wine appellation in the 18th century — a full century before Bordeaux’s 1855 classification. You can also take the train to Porto, where the port wine from Douro is cellared. There are also cruises to Porto that provide stunning views of wineries from the Douro River.
Whether you choose to travel to Europe or the United States, there are several wine destinations to match your taste and budget. This niche vacation has become very popular and will continue to flourish as long as there are wine enthusiasts. Even if you don’t drink wine, the experience is still worth the trip!