Wine-Tasting Travel: 14 of Our Favorite Spots to Sip and Swirl

Last week on BootsnAll, we traveled around the world through beer and wine, sampling the local libations in Portugal, checking out great wine and beer festivals around the world, discovering the cheapest destinations for wine tasting (including Portugal), and looking back at how beer can give us a sense of place and bring back travel memories.

For many travelers, beer and wine plays prominently in their travel plans. From those of us who like a casual drink now and then to travelers who tailor their trips around beer and wine tasting, some tourists make it a priority to experience a place through the local drink. If that’s you, check out these ideas for wine tasting trips around the world.

  • Italy and France are two of the most popular destinations for wine tasting in Western Europe.  Italian vineyards continue to produce some of the top wines in the world and many of them are just a short drive from Florence and accessible on a day trip (though who can resist a weekend in Tuscany?).  There are several major wine regions of France, including the most famous of all, the Champagne region, the only place where you can sample the drink at its source.
  • Following closely on the heels of France and Italy, Spain is a strong contender for most prolific wine-making country in Western Europe.  Head to the  Rioja region for wine-tasting in the labyrinthine cellars of Laguardia, or check out the Basque country near San Sebastian to visit a cider house.
  • The wine regions of Greece shouldn’t be overlooked.  Greece has been producing wine for over 6000 years  and there are over 300 grape varietals cultivated here, on both the mainland and on islands like Santorini and Crete, making it easy to sample some of the local wine no matter where you go. Of course, don’t forget to try some Greek beer too.
  • On the flipside of the Northern Hemisphere, Australia shines as a wine producer, creating some of the best Shiraz in the world. Most of the major wine regions in Australia are located in the southeast, close to Sydney.
  • For another affordable option, try wine tasting in South America. Argentina and Chile are the powerhouses there, with award-winning wineries set against the stunning backdrop of the Andes mountains. But they aren’t the only South American option. There are wineries in Brazil, Peru, and even Colombia.
  • Wine tasting in South Africa is one more option that may surprise you. Between swimming with Great White sharks and visiting the tip of Africa at the Cape of Good Hope, you can sip and swirl some of the region’s signature wine, the pinotage, at a very reasonable price.

Don’t forget to bring some wine or beer home from your travels; pick up  a VinniBag Inflatable Wine Bag or some wine skins to keep your bottles safe in transit.

Where are your favorite spots for to taste beer and wine on your travels?

Photo by robtrent

Comments on Wine-Tasting Travel: 14 of Our Favorite Spots to Sip and Swirl

31 March 2011

Canada’s Okanagan is great, especially Quails’ Gate and Cedar Creek, both of which also have amazing restaurants. Don’t forget the Niagara Peninsula – home to some of the world’s best ice wine and some fantastic Pinot Noirs (Iniskillin in particular).

Also, I’m totally obsessed with New Zealand wines, specifically Marlborough Sauvingon Blancs and Pinot Noirs… They’re really, really fantastic.

Glad to see Croatia on the list – discovered their wine last year while there and loved it. Neighbouring Slovenia produces some fab stuff too – Riezlings and Traminecs (try Dveri Pax). Lovely stuff and super well priced.

As for beer, well, sampling local pub ales in England was one of my favourite parts of living there. Also, Prague, of course, is a haven for beer – especially on a hot summer day up on top of the Letna there’s a super cheap beer garden.

Brussels, of course, is fantastic, and you totally should hit up Le Bier Tempel for a staggering selection of stuff to buy. The best bar we found was Chez Moeder Lambic, which had the heaviest beer list I’ve ever seen…Biere du Miel (honey beer) was so delicious I brought some home with me.

Canadian beer, yes, totally deserves the props you’ve given it! Vancouver has some great microbreweries, especially Granville Island (their IPA and Hefeweizen are fab), and Toronto’s Steamwhistle Pilsner is even better than the brewery tour, which is super cool (although not as cool as the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam).

I could go on for ages! I’ll stop there :) Great article, Katie.

05 April 2011

Chile’s wine tourism is growing by leaps and bounds. We’ve got to get you down here sometime to give it a taste! Sweet piece, pretty extensive! Oh, the wines we should all taste. Where will we find the time?

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