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Whether you enjoy a casual glass of wine or are a connoisseur who writes about wine for a living, there’s always something new to learn on a wine tour. To savor the unique and intense flavors of a region is to fully experience the local culture. There are so many regions around the globe that specialize in winemaking that you can often incorporate a wine tour into your upcoming travel itinerary. Or for a more wine-centric travel experience, consider these top wine tour vacation ideas!
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Tuscany has always drawn wine enthusiasts in droves, and for good reason. This romantic region of Italy features rolling hills, lush vineyards, and elegant castles turned into wineries. The 2003 movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, epitomizes this unique and unparalleled vibe, making Tuscany a perfect place for weddings, anniversaries, and special celebrations. You can book a bus tour to safely see the countryside and sample the crafted vintages. Spend a week in this area if you can and see if you can sign up for a local cooking class!
Another region made famous for its wine is California’s Napa Valley. Over 50 kinds of grapes grow in this area, which is only about 70 miles from San Francisco. If you’re planning to taste in moderation, consider booking a cycling tour of Napa Valley to bike to family-owned vineyards in the Calistoga upper valley area. Napa Valley bike tours take you to several of Napa Valley’s renowned vineyards along a three to five-mile ride. There’s also a Napa Valley Wine Train you can board to learn about tasting, eat a meal paired with local wine, and hop off to tour several wineries.
Those who enjoy full-bodied red wines will absolutely adore tasting locally grown wines along the sea in Santorini. One of the most recommended wineries to visit is the Boutari Winery in Perissa. This is a wonderful place to lounge along the colorful beaches and explore architectural wonders too. If you can, try to visit during the fall season for warm weather and fewer crowds.
There are two wine regions in Rhône spread across the banks of the Rhône River in southeastern France. This is a land and a culture that lives and breathes wine, and there are lots of options for wine enthusiasts. A handful of well-established routes, or wine roads, have been planned to help tourists navigate the French countryside. Check out some of the smaller villages and take advantage of reasonable lodging rates in farmhouses turned into quaint B&Bs.
Located near both Austin and San Antonio, Texas Hill Country spans about 15,000 miles. Because there are dozens of wineries in the Texas Hill Country, it has become one of the most visited wine regions in the United States after Napa Valley and Sonoma, California. You can find everything from cabernet sauvignon, to chenin blanc, Riesling, and sauvignon blanc at these wineries, as well as rustic and historic restored houses for accommodations.
The Willamette Valley region of Oregon, which extends south from Portland, is best known for its pinot noir.Take a drive along Oregon’s Route 99W highway to stop by many of the area’s notable wineries. There are several wine tour companies that will show you around the area by bus, limo, bike, or even a hot air balloon. Enjoy views of the nearby Cascade Mountains while you learn about tasty food and wine pairings.
Another wine tour vacation destination in the northwestern United States is Walla Walla, Washington. This is a relatively new wine location that was established in the 1970s, but it is already producing a very impressive amount of wine. New wineries are popping up all the time in this area, which is known for its quaint B&Bs, historic attractions, and gourmet dining. Some highly rated wineries include Woodward Canyon, Cougar Crest, Dunham Cellars, and Reynvaan.
If you’re interested in learning to make wine yourself, then head to Chilean Patagonia to experience the wine-making destination of a lifetime. The wine producers in this area specialize in chardonnays and syrahs. You can visit wineries along the Pacific coast of Chile on the days you’re not booked with adventure sports and thrilling photography excursions. There are some local tour guides that offer packages up to a week-long and take visitors to the region’s top vineyards and national parks along the way.
Another top adventure destination that also has something for wine lovers is New Zealand. Head to Queenstown to visit this fertile land of sprawling vineyards and meet up with the Queenstown Wine Trail. There are over 75 wineries producing a wide variety of wines in the Queensland area, many of which have cellar door tastings and onsite restaurants. Take a break from the whitewater rafting, the bungee jumping, and the mountain biking to see these rolling hills in a whole new light.
There are nearly 100 wineries in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of Virginia. These wineries are well known for their merlot, petit verdot, viognier wines, and sparkling wines. Here you’ll find family-owned and operated vineyards and romantic little villages with beautiful scenery backdrops. This is a wonderful weekend getaway that’s most accessible and affordable. The Shenandoah Valley and Monticello areas of Virginia are also excellent wine destinations worth a visit.
To explore the vineyards of the northeastern United States, hop on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail near the Finger Lakes in New York. There’s a wine trolley that you can ride on around Seneca Lake to see at least a couple dozen vineyards in the area. Make sure to try some of the region’s award-winning Riesling and pinot noir and spend the whole weekend on your tour. To take your wine journey a little further, head to the North Fork on Long Island to visit several dozen more wineries run by high profile wine experts and celebrities.
Although many wineries in the United States are situated along the coasts, there are plenty of vineyards in the Midwest as well. Traverse City, Michigan is a top wine vacation destination that is also well known for its cherries, art scene, and gastronomy. This region produces excellent pinot gris, Riesling, and ice wines. You can visit the lovely beaches along Lake Michigan during your visit as well.