The Most Beautiful Places to Go Wine-Tasting This Year

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, world-class food, and the chance to really get to know a place, right down to its soil.

Grapes in a Vinyard

Think about it – a holiday where your to-do list literally reads ‘drink wine’. Now doesn’t that sound… grape?  

Here are 12 of the world’s best places to go wine-tasting for your next holiday:

  • New Zealand
  • California, USA
  • Oregon, USA
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • South Africa
  • Chile
  • Portugal
  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Greece

New Zealand

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 wineries 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.

he 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 wineries 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.

Marlborough, New Zealand

California, USA

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.

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 tasting 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.

Travel down from Sonoma County and you’ll find the stunning coastal city of Santa Barbara – just two hours north of Los Angeles. Backed by a magnificent mountain range, Santa Barbara is home to the picturesque vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley. 

Sample a glass of the region’s famous Chardonnay for the sublime experience of sipping on a cold, crisp white wine under the hot Californian sun. 

Napa Valley, California, USA
Make your wine tasting experience one to remember and take a hot air balloon over the Napa Valley vineyards.

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

Oregon, USA

Maybe not one of the first destinations that springs to mind when you think about wine producers, Oregon, a state located in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, has made quite a name for itself.

With rows of vines spanning 150 miles, Willamette valley is famed for producing top-notch wine in the form of Pinot noir. Oh, and this is no mean feat by the way, considering that Pinot wine grapes are notoriously difficult to grow, making Willamette valley even more legendary.

Aided by Oregon’s consistently mild climate, the Pinot Noir produce in Willamette boasts a complex mix of favours, from dark cherry to vanilla and even a hint of spice. 

Go by car on a self-drive tour to experience the beautiful landscapes of Oregon and pick up a bottle of wine from one of its revered wineries. 

British Colombia, Canada

Canada is another destination that perhaps doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking about countries for wine holidays, but that would be a big mistake.

Okanagan valley, located in south-central British Colombia, is renowned for producing ultra-premium red and white wines – particularly of the dry variety. Most notably, its production of Chardonnay in the south of the valley is second to none, catching the attention of your seasoned wine expert the world over.

If it’s tours with wine tasting you’re after, then there’s no better way to explore the diverse terrain of British Colombia than by going on a self-drive tour from the major city of Kelowna, through Okanagan valley, taking in Canada’s beautiful natural landscape as you go. 

Vineyards bordering the Okanagan Lake.

Australia

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.

The Barossa Valley is a pint-sized region perfect for foodie holidays in Australia. Take the ‘Butcher, Baker, Winemaker’ trail for a sample platter of the area’s best.

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

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

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.

Wine Tasting, Chile

Portugal

Centred on the Douro river that flows from central Spain into Northern Portugal, Douro Valley is immediately recognisable by its terraced vineyards, which line the riverbank and extend up onto the surrounding hillsides. 

Douro Valley is best-known for its production of the fortified wine, Port, which is thought to be one of world’s first luxury drinks. Port’s exuberant taste profile, which includes notes of ripe, dark berries, caramel, and rich dark chocolate, make it a understandable favourite in the sweet wines category. 

Partake in the historic practice of stomping grapes with winemaker days at the Six Sense Douro Valley hotel – a beautifully renovated 19th century manor house set in the heart of this popular wine region. 

If you’d like a taste of one of these wine destinations, contact us to get some expert advice from our Travel Specialists.

The wine library at Six Sense Douro Valley.

France

Are there two words that sound as good together as ‘French’ and ‘wine’? Probably not. That’s because French wine is not only world-famous, but is an integral part of the country’s culture and national identity. 

For something a bit more special, a bit more luxurious than your average wine-tasting pilgrimage, visit the the beautiful villages and scenic vineyards of Champagne, located in north-eastern France. The decadent tipple that needs no introduction, Champagne has been delighting imbibers since the 17th century.

Stay at the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa – an estate perched amongst elevated vineyards – and go on a sommelier led tour in this amazing wine region.  

 If it’s robust reds you’re after, look no further than Bordeaux. A port city situated in the south-west of France, Bordeaux is famous for its carefully-honed Cabinet Sauvignon and Merlot blends. Go all-out and stay in a fairytale13th-century castle, Domaine des Etangs, just a two hour drive from Bordeaux. 

For your true wine enthusiast, making the trip over to France to visit its iconic vineyards is essential travel. After all, as the French say…”life’s too short to drink bad wine”. 

Spain

Spain has a reputation for remaining faithful to the Old World variety of wines. In contrast to some of the newer, fruitier tipples that have burst onto the scene from the likes of California and New Zealand, Spanish wines are known for their “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” greatness. 

Barcelona is an ideal base from which to sample some of the country’s finest wines, being just a short distance from Montserrat. With its formidable mountains and elevated 11th century monastery, Montserrat is not only breathtaking, but it is also a hub for family-owned vineyards.

Take a full-day trip from Barcelona and go on a winery tour of Montserrat to learn about the fascinating history of this Spanish wine region – an absolute must for wine connoisseurs! Indulge in traditional tapas as you sip on a variety of delicate wines, while taking in the stunning scenery.

It should also be noted that while high-quality red wines like Rioja abound in Spain, one of the country’s most renowned exports comes in the form Cava. You know…that white, sparkling wine that no Christmas day would be complete without? 

Like many Spanish wines, Cava enjoys DO status, indicating the supreme quality of this much celebrated tipple. So no need to tentatively taste test for tannins – just fill your glass!

Italy

As the old Italian proverb goes, “friends and wine improve with age”, and with over 4,000 years of wine making experience under its belt, Italy proves that with age comes refinement.

Located in central Italy, Tuscany has long been the country’s most famous wine region, producing high-quality red wines like Chianti – a medium-bodied, smoky number derived from the Sangiovese grape and historically packaged in a straw-lined bottle. The combination of this dry, earthy red with a slice of authentic Italian prosciutto is about as close to heaven as a wine lover can get.

Just off the ‘toe’ of mainland Italy, the isle of Sicily is the largest producer of wine in the country, with 98,000 hectares of highly fertile valleys dominating its countryside. Enjoying a Mediterranean climate, Sicily is best at producing red Nero d’Avola grapes and white Grillo grapes, also known as Rossese bianco. 

Greece

For a more unique take on the wine holiday experience – one where the place in which you’re drinking the wine is as exquisite as the wine itself – head to the Greek island of Santorini.

This iconic archipelago, situated in the deep blue of the southern Aegean sea, is perhaps best known for its blue-roofed, white-stone buildings set in steep coastal cliffsides. However, locals know that Santorini’s true magic comes from its ancient vines that produce the island’s flagship grape, Assyrtiko, which is excellent for making refreshingly crisp white summer wine.

Those looking for an authentic Greek wine-tasting experience should head over to the Domaine Sigalas winery on the north of the island, where wine director and ex-mathematician, Paris Sigalas, established his amazing vineyard in 1991. 

With a vine acreage spanning 33 hectares, Sigalas has built a name for himself by cultivating exceptional white wines from the island’s fertile, volcanic earth.

If you wish to truly immerse yourself in the age-old winemaking traditions of Santorini, then stay at Vedema: A Luxury Collection Resort, which is built around a 400-year old winery. Go into the resort’s wine cave and select a bottle from its extensive wine collection to enjoy with dinner. Perfection. 

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