The Italians say that ‘a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.’ Indeed, for many cultures, wine is an essential part of a meal. While more and more wine destinations seem to sprout up every year, there are some regions that will always remain the standard adda for wine lovers. The Lifestyle Journalist Gaurav Goswami takes you on a guided tour of the most popular and loved wine destinations in the world.
Imagine sipping wine at the place of its origin! As you are walking through the vineyards, meeting winemakers face-to-face, you get a deeper understanding of the origin and offcourse the grapes! This experience of tasting your favorite wine in the lap of nature is one to be treasured. So pack your back and explore these famous wine destinations around the world.
Franschhoek, South Africa
Franschhoek is situated amidst the towering mountain in the heart of Cape Winelands. Founded by French Huguenots in 1688, the picturesque village is draped with vineyards where you can enjoy a range of exquisite wines. Notable vineyards include- Chamonix, Allee Bleue, La Motte and Solms Delta. The best time to visit the place is from September to February.
Burgundy; where some of the world’s best and most expensive pinot noirs and chardonnays are made, is one of France’s two most famous winemaking regions, the other being Bordeaux. Unlike other wine regions around the world, getting in the cellar door is no easy feat. There are a host of options for ‘gaining entrée’, including overnight tours that barge along scenic rivers and canals, passing the area’s Romanesque churches and rolling green hills or day trips departing from the pretty medieval city of Dijon.
Piedmont is one of the three classic wine regions of Italy. Its magnificent vineyards produce two of the world’s finest red wines: Barolo and Barbaresco. Winemakers to visit there include – Azienda Agricola Taliano Michele, Paolo Manzone, Cantina Mascarello, Bartolo and Cantina del Glicine. The best time to visit these vineyards is either April to mid July or late August to October.
La Rioja, Spain
Sleepy Spanish villages, centuries of grapes-growing history, and more than 500 wineries producing a wide variety of fuel bodied reds make La Rioja an intriguing destination for wine lovers! Ancient Romans introduced wine to the Spanish region. The tradition of wine making has been intrinsically woven into the cultural fabric of La Rioja ever since. You can sip exquisite wines at traditional vineyards like Bodegas Muga and Bodegas Lopez de Heredia or visit Avant Grade like Bodegas Marques de Riscal and Bodega Ysios. The renowned ‘Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture’ in Briones in South of Haro covers everything from the history of making and serving wine to flavor profiling.
Greece remain an affordable destination for world tarvellers, so when in Greece head to Crete. The port city of Heraklion, on the northern coast of Crete, anchors the main wine growing area of the island, where locals place new emphasis on ancient grape varieties. Many of the grapes found in Crete are unknown to any other region in the world. Tongue twisting names like Thrapsathiri, Kotsifali and Mantilari may seem intimidating, but the wines are worth exploring.
Virginia, United States
Virginia stands out for its deep rooted wine history dating back to Thomas Jefferson and the variety and quality of its wines like Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Nebbiolo for reds, along with world class chardonnay and some amazing Viognier. The Virginia Wine Board is a great resource to organize a few days of winery hopping.