Updated: May 19
Are you looking for the perfect summer vacation destination that offers more than just sun, sand, and sea? How about visiting some of the best wine regions in the world? From the rolling hills of Bordeaux to the picturesque vineyards of Montalcino, there are plenty of wine regions that are waiting to be explored. Here are some of our top picks.
Picture yourself standing amidst sprawling vineyards, surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains and lush green hillsides. You take a deep breath of the crisp, clean air, infused with the aroma of ripe grapes and oak barrels. This is New Zealand, one of the world's most incredible wine regions, where the natural beauty is as spectacular as the wines themselves. From the vibrant Sauvignon Blancs of Marlborough to the earthy Pinot Noirs of Central Otago, New Zealand's wines are renowned for their quality and innovation.
Nestled in the heart of New Zealand's famous wine region, Volcanic Hills Winery is a destination for wine enthusiasts seeking a unique and unforgettable experience. The winery boasts a stunning location atop a dormant volcano, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding region. But the beauty doesn't stop there. The winery's unique approach to winemaking is equally impressive, utilizing the natural geothermal energy of the region to create some of the country's most distinctive and award-winning wines.
Bordeaux is one of the most iconic wine regions in the world. Home to some of the most prestigious and renowned vineyards, Bordeaux boasts a rich history of winemaking that dates back centuries. From the famous Chateau Margaux to the impressive Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, wine enthusiasts will find themselves surrounded by vineyards and estates that are steeped in history and tradition. But Bordeaux is not just about the wine – the region also offers a wide range of cultural and gastronomic experiences, from exploring the city's beautiful architecture and museums to indulging in the delicious local cuisine. And with its ideal location along the Garonne River and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux enjoys a unique and temperate climate that is ideal for growing a wide variety of grapes. With its stunning scenery, rich history, and unparalleled wine offerings, Bordeaux is an absolute bucket list destination for any wine lover.
Chateau Margaux has been producing wine for over 500 years, and its reputation precedes it. The vineyard's picturesque location and beautiful gardens are the perfect settings to taste some of the world's finest wines. Getting to Chateau Margaux is relatively easy, with it being located about 30 kilometers from Bordeaux. The best way to book a visit is to make a reservation in advance. Visitors can choose from a variety of tour options, including a tour of the vineyards and cellars, a tasting of different wines, and a guided tour of the estate's gardens.
With its reputation for producing some of the world's coveted wines, including Barolo and Barbaresco, a visit to Piedmont is a must for any wine connoisseur. And what better time to visit than early fall when the grape harvest is in full swing, and the landscape is alive with color and activity? Aside from the world-class wineries, you can also explore the historic city of Turin, with its rich cultural heritage and gastronomic delights, and take a scenic drive to Lake Maggiore, a stunning alpine lake surrounded by mountains and dotted with picturesque islands. A visit to Piedmont promises a sensory journey through some of Italy's most beautiful landscapes, where every sip of wine and every bite of food is an experience to remember.
One winery that truly distinguishes itself in Piedmont is Mario Giribaldi, with a history dating back to the 1800s and a reputation that sets it apart from the rest. Their Barolo and Barbera wines are particularly noteworthy, with bold, complex flavours that are sure to impress even the most discerning wine lovers. Mario and his family are passionate about their craft and are always happy to share their knowledge and expertise with visitors.
Located in the Tuscany region of Italy, Montalcino is best known for producing Brunello di Montalcino, which is made exclusively from Sangiovese grapes grown in the region. Wine lovers can indulge in tastings and tours at the many vineyards and wineries in the area, while also enjoying the stunning countryside views. Visitors can also explore the charming medieval town for its stunning architecture, delicious food, and traditional crafts. Montalcino is conveniently located near other notable Tuscan destinations, such as Siena, Florence, and Pisa, making it an ideal destination for a wine-filled Italian holiday.
If you're looking for an authentic Tuscan wine experience, Il Cocco should definitely be on your itinerary. This family-run winery allows guests to sample their exquisite Brunello and other wines while learning about the history and traditions of winemaking in the region.
Ribera del Duero, Spain
Ribera del Duero is known for its full-bodied red wines made from the Tempranillo grape variety. While the wineries are a big draw, there are plenty of other activities to do in the region. Take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards for a stunning view of the landscape. For a cultural experience, visit the Castillo de Peñafiel, a medieval castle that houses the Provincial Wine Museum. Foodies will also love the opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine, such as roast lamb and chorizo. And, of course, no trip to Ribera del Duero is complete without sampling some of the region's glorious wines.
Producing nothing short of excellence since 1984 is Bodegas Valduero. The highlight of their winery is the underground cellar where the wines are made and aged in a constant temperature and humidity environment year-round, without any energy expenditure. Valduero's wines are truly exceptional and not to be missed. Their signature wine, the Valduero Una Cepa, is a 100% Tempranillo wine that is matured for 15 months in oak barrels, followed by at least 6 months in the bottle. The result is a wine that is full-bodied with intense aromas of black fruit and spices, and a long, lingering finish. Visiting Valduero is a chance to taste and experience some of the finest wines that Ribera del Duero has to offer.
Vinho Verde, Portugal
A charming wine region waiting to be explored. Vinho Verde is a hidden gem that offers an authentic taste of Portuguese culture, from sipping on crisp, refreshing wines made from local grape varieties like Alvarinho and Trajadura, to indulging in traditional dishes like codfish and roasted meats. Take a stroll through the quaint, cobblestone streets of historic towns like Guimarães or Braga, or relax by the sparkling waters of the Douro River. Whatever your interests may be, Vinho Verde promises an exciting journey filled with new experiences and lasting memories.
Take a trip among the sun-kissed slopes of Celorico de Basto, Portugal for a taste of Quinta da Raza. Here, visitors can indulge in traditional winemaking techniques that produce remarkable wines that embody the character of the local grape varieties. The winery's dedication to quality is evident in every sip of Azal, Arinto, Avesso, Vinhão, Padeiro, Trajadura, and Alvarinho wine that is produced. With a variety of wine tourism programs available, guests can explore the vineyards, tour the winery, and savour the wines at the on-site gift shop.
There's no better way to spend your summer vacation than by exploring the world's most spectacular wine regions. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sunlit slopes of Ribera del Duero, each region has its unique character and charm, offering visitors an unforgettable wine experience. Whether you're a seasoned wine enthusiast or a casual wine drinker, these regions have something for everyone. So, gather your friends and family, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on a journey filled with exquisite wines, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. Cheers to a memorable summer vacation!