World’s best places for wine tasting holidays

Friday, 27 April 2014 1:54 PM

Imagine cycling from vineyard to vineyard through the rolling green hills, sipping your favourite Pinto Grigio, Merlot or Chardonnay, paired with world class gourmet cuisine and beautiful scenery - this is a relaxing holiday at its most luxurious. We’ve come up with a list for you of the world’s best places for wine tasting holidays.

Mendoza, Argentina - One of South America’s largest wine producers is Argentina and its most famous wine region is that of Mendoza in the west of the country, on the border with Chile. Mendoza, like most of Argentina has striking and dramatic scenery where golden vineyards backed by steep snow-capped peaks. One of the most popular ways to do wine tours here is to hire a bicycle for the day and cycle between the wineries. The two main types of wines made here are the deep red Malbec and the light and fruity white Torrontes.

 

Napa Valley, California, USA - The Napa Valley is probably America’s most famous wine region and has become well known throughout the world for its excellent wines. Situated just north of San Francisco in California, the Napa Valley is home to more than 200 wineries set in between the rolling green and auburn hills. A great way to see the beautiful scenery and visit the different wineries here is to hire a bicycle or walk, although it’s also advisable to take your own hire car too. Most vineyards here charge a small fee for their tastings and will organise tours for you. Other activities worth doing in the area include visiting Old Faithful Geyser, bathing in hot springs, riding the Napa Valley Wine Train and floating over the vineyards in a hot air balloon flight.

 

Cape Winelands, South Africa - South African wines have been steadily growing in popularity over recent years and today produce some the world’s best wines along with excellent gourmet cuisine. The Cape Winelands provide travellers with some of the most stunning vineyard scenery in the world, where emerald green vines sit alongside majestic mountain ranges, surrounded by at least four nature reserves. Visitors should base themselves in Franschoek Valley, home to gourmet restaurants, over 40 wine cellars, boutiques and art galleries as well as spectacular scenery and charming Dutch architecture. As well as wine tours, travellers can go whale watching in nearby Hermanus; drive the stunning Garden Route, one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives in the world; and visit the sites of the Mother City - Cape Town.  

 

Tuscany, Italy - Italy has recently overtaken France as the biggest wine producing country in the world and many areas in the country are famous for their wine growing regions, but perhaps the most picturesque is the rolling hills of Tuscany with its charming farm houses and quaint villages. Vineyards and wineries are dotted all over the area and there are many different wine tours aournd the region. In addition to the wine, visitors can enjoy sumptuous Italian cuisine and beautiful chic hotels. 

 

Bordeaux, France - France is perhaps traditionally seen as being home to the world’s best wines and many areas of the country are famous for their fine makes, including Burgundy, Champagne and the Loir Valley, but one of the best and most interesting, scattered with many elegant chateaux, is Bordeaux, located in the south west of the country. Wine growing, tasting and selling is a serious business here and people come from all over the world to taste its produce and even to study for their wine Masters degrees. There are a staggering 7,000 wineries around Bordeaux that range from the very big and famous to the small private ones and many are available for tours and tastings.

 

La Rioja, Spain - Spain is another country well known for its excellent wines and while small vineyards grow all over the country, the best and most famous region for wine tasting holidays and tours is La Rioja, situated in the north of the country, just south of Bilbao. Framed by the peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains, the area consists of small hamlets and over 500 bodegas or wineries. Special Vinobus’ and Gastro Bus’ take visitors around the various wineries, for wine tastings and gourmet tours. Visitors can also enjoy touring the area’s wine museums, studying the wine architecture of the bodegas and shopping for handmade wine crafts such as jugs and jars. 

 

Hunter Valley, Australia - Australia is now in the top ten wine producing countries in the world and winning many awards for its fine wines. The country’s two most famous wine regions are the Yarra Valley in Victoria and The Hunter Valley, which lies to the north of Sydney and just west of the city of Newcastle. The Hunter Valley is one of the country’s most popular wine regions, full of small boutiques and gourmet restaurants. It’s a favourite spot for local Australians, tourists and celebrities, who have been known to visit the area. Wineries here are close enough together for cycling tours, and visitors can also enjoy beautiful walks around the famous Hunter Valley Gardens. 

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