10 Destinations For Every Wine-Lover’s Bucket List

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Flight Network Foodie   Hot off the Press  

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Shopping the wine section at Whole Foods can feel like a cultural experience. But what if you were actually tasting that Merlot in Bordeaux or that Malbec in Mendoza? Wine tourism has been a growing part of the travel industry for the past several years, and these ten breathtaking wine destinations won’t leave you wondering why.

The Aegean Islands, Greece

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The Aegean Islands of Santorini, Samos and Crete are most notably recognized for their unforgettable scenery, but sampling fine wines that have been carefully crafted for thousands of years while overlooking the steep cliffs and pristine Aegean Sea makes the experience even more unforgettable.

What to drink: Assyrtiko, Aidani, Voudomato, Mavrotragano, Vidiano

Where to taste: Santo Wines, Boutari, Malagari Winery, Samos Wine Musuem

Mendoza, Argentina

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While the views of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza make take your mind off of wine tasting for a moment, the picturesque vineyards underneath them will remind you of the world-renowned Malbecs you’re about to taste.

What to drink: Malbec, Malbec blends, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bonarda, Syrah

Where to taste: Atamisque, Pulenta Estate, Vines of Mendoza, Bodega Norton

Bordeaux, France

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As one of the most famous wine regions in the world, Bordeaux is home to some of the most prestigious wines in the industry. But don’t be discouraged by the high price tags on some Bordeaux bottles, this region produces plenty of affordable table wines too.

What to drink: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Semillon, Sauvignon

Where to taste: Château Prieuré-Lichine, Château Lynch-Bages, Château Reverdi

Sonoma, United States

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You can feast your eyes on Sonoma County’s gorgeous scenery and sink your teeth into the area’s five-star cuisine, but there’s simply nothing better than tasting Sonoma’s world-famous wines.

What to drink: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir

Where to taste: Arista, Thomas George Estates, Porter Creek, Red Car, Freeman Winery, Dry Creek Vineyard, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery

Cape Town, South Africa

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While Cape Town is an ideal destination for tourists seeking unforgettable sites, shopping and South African culture, nearby Cape Winelands is where wine-lovers from around the world tend to gather when they visit.

What to drink: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir,  Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon

Where to taste: Boschendal Estate, Fairview, Bilton Winery, Stellenbosch Hills, Viljoensdrift

Okanagan Valley, Canada

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More than 60 grape varieties are grown in the scenic Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, and with over 100 vineyards and wineries in the region too, you’ll find that you can visit the area over and over again without ever tasting the same glass of wine.

What to drink: Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and fruit wines

Where to taste: Gray Monk Estate Winery, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Summerhill Pyramid Winery

Umbria, Italy

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Escape the Tuscany crowds with a visit to nearby Umbria — the “Green Heart of Italy.” Umbria offers a more laid-back setting for your wine-tasting vacation with gorgeous rolling hills and seemingly untouched Medieval towns, both of which appear as though they’ve been frozen in time.

What to drink: Sagrantino di Montefalco, Rosso di Montefalco, Orvieto, Grechetto

Where to taste: Arnaldo Caprai Estate, Tenuta Castelbuono Estate, Decugnano dei Barbi, Palazzone

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

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Forget about Tequila on your next trip to Mexico; it’s time to taste some wine. The Guadalupe Valley, located in the northern section of the Baja California peninsula, is known for its rustically chic wineries that will change your view on Mexico forever.

What to drink: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah, Tempranillo, Grenache and Carignan

Where to taste: Alximia, Vinas de Garza, Hacienda La Lomita

Barossa Valley, Australia

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Get a taste of South Australia’s unique culture with a visit to the Barossa Valley vineyards where you’ll find exceptional wines, great eats, gorgeous scenery and the occasional kangaroo siting.

What to drink: Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro, Riesling, some Cabernet Sauvignons

Where to taste: Rockford, Henschke, Seppeltsfield, Two Hands, Yalumba

Marlborough, New Zealand

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The Marlborough wine region is home to nearly half of the country’s crop.  The area’s supreme location in the northern portion of New Zealand’s South Island makes for exceptional growing conditions and even more exceptional views.

What to drink: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier and Syrah

Where to taste: Highfield Estate, Herzog, Hunter’s Wines

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

Comments:

  • I totally agree that the Okanagan Valley in Canada is one of the top wine destinations in the world….I live there! But don’t go out of your way to visit only the wineries mentioned…there are so many more that make excellent wines! Do a wine tour on the a Westside Trail, or the Fab Five small wineries in Kelowna. Go to the Naramata Bench in Penticton, or Bottleneck drive in Summerland. They will all give you great wine and very different but thoroughly enjoyable experiences!

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