Warm temperatures. Long sunny days. Clear blue skies. Amazing, gourmet food. What could possibly make this holiday better? The answer, as always, is wine.
Wine-tasting holidays take place in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations, but the fun doesn’t stop there. They also usually combine luxurious hotels with amazing food, world-class food, and the chance to really get to know a place, right down to its soil.
Think about it – a holiday where your to-do list literally reads ‘drink wine’. Now doesn’t that sound… grape?
Here are 5 of the world’s best places to go wine-tasting for your next holiday:
- New Zealand
- South Africa
The Land of the Long White Cloud is famous for its wine. The country is particularly renowned for its sauvignon blanc and pinot noir labels, though there are plenty other delicious varieties here too.
There are a lot of excellent vineyards and cellar doors to visit in New Zealand, whether you’re a wine expert or simply a day-drinking enthusiast. As a result, one of the best ways to get a real feel for the country’s viticulture as a whole is on a self-drive tour (you’ll have plenty of time between tasting sessions and driving, don’t worry!).
Looking for a base for your trip? Hawke’s Bay has over 30 top-quality vineyards and also boasts the Insta-friendly Art Deco city of Napier. The Marlborough region accounts for 75% of New Zealand’s wine production, so is clearly a decent stop for a bottle or two. It’s also not too hard on the eyes, thanks to the beautiful Marlborough Sounds and hikes along Queen Charlotte Track.
The Napa Valley in California produces around 90% of the USA’s wine, so it’s no surprise that it’s often recommended as one of the best wine tasing destinations.
You could do Napa by car, or you could hop in a hot air balloon for the aerial view. Or, better yet, why not board the Napa Valley Wine Train – it does just what it says on the tin.
Then there’s Sonoma County, with more than 250 wineries and plenty of excellent restaurants to pair with them. The region has a year-round calendar of events too, so it’s easy to fit right into wine culture even if you don’t know your pinot from your elbow.
Top tip: That swirling thing you always see wine experts do? Not only will it make you look like you know what you’re doing, but it actually helps the wine oxygenate to release its fragrance
The land down under is easily one of the best places to go wine tasting.
A good all-rounder is Hunter Valley. Enjoy a tasting at one of Australia’s oldest vineyards before sitting down for an artisan meal. Or, chase an afternoon of swirling, sipping and spitting (yes, really) with a bit of a pamper at a luxury spa.
In the Yarra Valley, spot koalas at Healesville Sanctuary before going on an expert-led quest to find Victoria’s best chardonnay. Or, enjoy the views at Dandenong Ranges National Park after a morning of sipping Yarra pinot noir.
South Africa is a superb place for a wine-tasting holiday. The country’s Cape Winelands are some of the most beautiful and fertile vineyards in the world. The Winelands are also perfect for a day trip from Cape Town, so your holiday can combine city living with wine wandering.
Spend a few afternoons visiting vineyards and hanging out in tasting rooms, and then set out to explore the local area a bit more. You can combine wine-tasting holidays in South Africa with safaris, history trips and plenty more.
When else can you spit in public? Sipping and spitting is a big part of tasting etiquette – you don’t want to be looking for a lampshade to wear after your first couple of glasses!
Chile is one of the top producers of new world wines, and just so happens to have some really exciting places to visit too.
Cosmopolitan Santiago is the starting point for lots of guided wine tours, and also has a lively nightlife and lots of unusual architecture to explore on long, languid days.
Taste delicate whites in the Casablanca Valley, or sip hearty cabernet sauvignons among the photogenic surrounds of the Colchagua Valley. If you’ve come to Chile for wine, it would be a shame to miss trying the carménère, Chile’s flagship grape.
It would also be a shame not to pair your wine-tasting holiday with a chance to glimpse Chile’s natural beauty. Don’t pass up the chance to see the world-renowned Atacama Salt Flats… nothing goes better with a good glass than an amazing view.
If you’d like a taste of one of these wine destinations, contact us to get some expert advice from our Travel Specialists.
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