10 of the best wine tourism destinations

Posted by Rachel England on 28 March 2014 |

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 Saint-Émilion, France

Listed as a world heritage site by Unesco, Saint-Émilion in the Bordeaux region of France offers unrivalled French authenticity. Explore the area at your own pace, or take a cabriolet coach – it’s the first French appellation to offer tours this way. Further afield you’ll find plenty of gothic churches and 18th century mansions to explore, as well as other must-visit chateaus including Graves and Medoc.


 Finger Lake, New York

We tend to think of bright lights and yellow cabs when we think of New York, but away from the city the state offers more than 100 wineries boasting breathtaking views of rolling hills and lakes, and an abundance of wine tasting opportunities. Try the Cayuga Wine Trail and Seneca Wine Trail to make the most of the region’s finest wineries.


 The Aegean Islands, Greece

Greece may not have made a name for itself in the wine world, but if you’re looking to combine a break in the sun with a new tasting experience, the Aegean Islands is a fantastic choice. The beautiful island of Santorini is almost entirely dominated by vineyards, while Samos and Crete offer a tantalizing range of reds and whites harvested from sun-dappled terraced vines.


 Castello Banfi, Italy

If you’re serious about the science of winemaking, head to Castello Banfi in Italy’s beautiful Tuscany region. Operational since 1978, the family-run vineyard puts a special emphasis on state-of-the-art wine production in a wonderfully scenic setting, which includes an historic castle and a fascinating museum of wine.


 Mendoza, Argentina

The Mendoza Province is one of Argentina’s most important wine regions, producing nearly two-thirds of the country’s wine. Here, grapes are harvested from vineyards at the highest altitudes in the world – up to one kilometre above sea level. There’s no shortage of vineyards and estates to visit in the area, but must-see wineries include Mendel, Kaiken and Andeluna, which offers magnificent views of the Andes.


 Napa Valley, California

With more than four million visitors each year, Napa Valley has long been America’s most popular wine-tasting region. More than 450 wineries are open for tastings, with a variety of wine on offer including Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Right next door is the Sonoma Valley – the States’ second most popular wine destination, which is also well worth a visit.


 Stellenbosch, South Africa

With a Mediterranean climate and superb views, the Stellenbosch area of South Africa is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, one-upping the Napa Valley with its shortage of crowds. The area’s wine route – the oldest in South Africa – is home to more than 200 wine farms and estates. Be sure to stop at the Ken Forrester Vineyards – wine here is frequently subject to international acclaim and has won hundreds of awards throughout its 16-year history.


 Leeuwin Estates, Australia

If you want an off-the-beaten-track enotourism experience, visit this magnificent vineyard, tucked neatly away in Australia’s most south-westerly corner near Perth. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes and ancient forests, a distinct lack of crowds means this is the destination for a truly immersive wine education. Part of the famous Margaret River wine trail, there are a host of other wineries and attractions to visit nearby, too.


 Baden, Germany

German wine means super sweet and sparkling, right? Not always. While Rieslings certainly get their due in this area of Germany, a warm and sunny climate means Pinot varieties are top dog here. Versatile growing conditions mean visitors can sample wines grown from different soils, and there’s plenty to explore away from the wineries including castles, expansive forests and timbered villages, not to mention many restaurants serving Baden’s distinctive cuisine.


 Marlborough, New Zealand

Representing over 60% of New Zealand’s total vineyard area, Marlborough has been credited with kick-starting the county’s wine industry and creating some of the finest Sauvignon blancs (indeed, many critics say it is the best in the world). Scores of vineyards and estates are happy to welcome curious visitors, and boast glorious views not too unlike those we’re accustomed to seeing in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies. Those in need of a palate cleanser will enjoy the area’s numerous microbreweries, too.

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