Row upon row of grapes, stunning landscapes and exquisite wines, vineyards are magical places. Whether you like your vino red or white, rosé or sparkling, there’s no denying there’s nothing quite like tasting wine at the vineyard it was produced. From South Africa to California and everywhere in between, the world’s wine regions provide the backdrop for must-visit vacations for wine lovers.
Some are destinations unto themselves where you can spend a leisurely week or weekend tasting wine and enjoying nature’s bounty. Others add to the allure of a bustling arts scene, where you can scope out a new while learning about an upcoming region. No matter what you’re looking for, if you’re a wine lover, these are the nine regions you’re going to want to visit.
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Tucked in the picturesque countryside of Pennsylvania you’ll find a hidden gem. Bucks County is home to nearly 10 world-class wineries. Surrounded by rolling hills, sample everything from sparkling wines to French-style reds and then head to one of the charming small towns that make up the area, where you can window-shop the many galleries and antique boutiques and have dinner at Inn at Barley Sheaf Farm, recently ranked among the most romantic restaurants in the state, while you think about which wine you want to bring home.
Cape Town, South Africa
Most people head to South Africa for the chance to see a lion or elephant in the wild, but you can also combine a safari with a visit to the vineyards. The Winelands of Cape Town are known for producing a diverse range of wines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. Some of them have been producing wine for more than 300 years.
France may not be the birthplace of wine, but no other country has done as much for the drink. And while all of France’s wine regions are worth a visit, Champagne is the one not to miss if you have to pick only one. The historic province in Northeast France gave us the ultimate celebratory drink. Start in charming Reims, “the city of kings,” and learn the history of the famous bubbly before taking your pick of the many champagne houses in the region, each producing a unique version of the sparkling wine.
Long Island, New York
Sometime between strolling through the vines, sitting in the garden shaded from the dazzling sun by leafy trees and stepping into a tasting room, all with a glass of wine in hand, you realize that Long Island wineries have grown up. The still relatively young wine region is now home to nearly 60 wineries producing a diverse range of wine from 2,500 acres of vines, many of them award-winning. The best varieties tend to be Chardonnays and Cabernet Francs, but you’ll also find Rosé and sparkling wines here.
Mendoza is probably the most famous of South America’s wine regions, and for good reason. Nearly 1,500 wineries surround the small city, and they produce about two-thirds of Argentina’s wine. Here, red wine lovers will want to sample Malbec and Tempranillo, while white wine fans should try Chardonnay, Torrontés. And while many of the vineyards close on the weekends, consider that your chance to explore the charming city of Mendoza.
Napa Valley, California
Arguably the most famous of US wine regions, Napa Valley is home to not just award-wining wines, but incredible spas, art galleries and restaurants. At the vineyards, you’ll find tasting rooms that evoke the nature that surrounds—grapevines, barrels and rustic space. Sign up for one of the many tours, such as Platypus Wine Tours, for plenty of tasting options and a picnic lunch among the vines. Then head into one of the towns that make up the region for a complete luxury getaway.
Whitewashed villages, stunning cliffs, deep blue waters – Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. For years, Greek wine wasn’t well known outside of Greece, and what was known wasn’t that great. A new generation of winemakers honoring the tradition of the past while using modern technology is slowly making Greek wine something to pay attention to. The Santorini region is home to heritage grapes: Assyrtiko, Roditis and Savatiano. Try the sweet Vin Santo or the Rosé blends.
Tamar Valley, Tasmania
Tasmania is wild, rugged and mysterious. In its heart is Tamar Valley, one of the world’s older emerging wine regions. Vintners have been making wine here since the 1800s, but it’s only recently that the rest of the world has started to notice. At the small vineyards tucked into the rolling hills you’ll find makers happy to talk your ear off about the history of their farms. The cool climate produces Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer.
Visit: Winter Brook Vineyard, Tamar Ridge, Providence Vineyards