7 Incredible Places to Visit If You Love Wine
Love wine? You’re not alone. Instead of wasting your PTO poolside with a forgettable margarita, why not spend a leisure-filled weekend in one of the world’s best wine regions? We all know about Napa, but where else should you go? There are dozens of top-notch wine regions to explore the world over—scroll below for seven incredible spots to visit.
When one hears the words “travel” and “Switzerland,” the mind tends to think of winter getaway spent skiing the Alps, a summer adventure climbing the Matterhorn, or perhaps a June exploration of Art Basel. Rarely is wine-country getaway top of mind, but as it turns out, wine culture is actually quite pervasive in Switzerland. If you’re new to the country, one of the best wine regions to explore is Vaud, a French-speaking area in the southwest. Encompassing much of Lake Geneva, it’s home to the Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site stretching 30 kilometers long with rows of green vines on the south-facing northern shores of the lake. The vine terraces can be traced backed to the 11th century, and the region produces highly valued whites like Chasselas, one of the best-known Swiss grapes.
In the southwestern corner of Germany, bordering France and Luxembourg, is the nation’s best-known wine region: Moselle Valley. With storybook castles, quaint cobblestone towns, and sloping hills, the area is as picture perfect as it is rich with wine. Best known for their rieslings, local wineries in Moselle have been producing top-notch whites since the 17th century and are well worth the trip. Looking to round out your trip? Take a walking tour of ancient Roman grounds Trier or pop into the birth home of philosopher Karl Marx.
Legendary for its wine production—growing and producing some of the world’s oldest wines—the Rhône Valley in France is celebrated for its syrahs, an official regional product, as well as other much-loved varietals like grenache. The area, a hilly region full of steep slopes, also has delicious local cuisine, thanks to influences from the Mediterranean and continental Europe. It’s a must-visit spot if you consider yourself a wine buff.
Canada may not come to mind when you think of the world’s must-visit wine regions, but Ontario’s Prince Edward County has developed into one of the nation’s most exciting spots to imbibe, thanks to a cool climate and limestone-rich soil. With more than 40 wineries offering pinot noirs, cuvées, chardonnays, and aromatic whites, it has something for everyone. Travel + Leisure called it a cross between vino destination Napa Valley and Hamptons surfer/preppy haven Montauk, New York, and we like the sound of that. Just four hours from Montréal and Toronto, it’s a lovely weekend escape if you’re planning a city jaunt.
Located on the east coast of the north island, Hawke’s Bay is the oldest and second-largest wine-growing region in New Zealand. A leading producer of full-bodied red wines, the area produces more than 80% of the country’s merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah grapes. Better yet, its landscape, with hilly coastal land, floodplains, five major rivers, and of course the bay itself, is seriously breathtaking.
Wine writers have crowned burgeoning wine region Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, “the next Napa,” and we couldn’t be more thrilled for its arrival. With little more than a few paved roads, the desert area is rustic, hip, and innovative, a fresh newcomer in comparison to old-world wine towns. Eco-friendly luxury resort Endémico alone, with its stunning valley views and ultra-modern hotel rooms that look like storage containers, is reason enough to visit.
The oldest wine-growing region in South Africa, Constantia Valley stretches from the southeastern slopes of the famed Table Mountain to Cape Town’s city center. Known for its wines as much as its culture, the area boasts award-winning restaurants, luxe boutique hotels, posh shops, outdoor activities, and more. It’s historically celebrated for its famous dessert wines, but you’ll find numerous other white and red varietals in the area.
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