Wine tasting offers an exclusive window into the world of wine. Not all wines taste the same. Connoisseurs will tell you that wines differ in tang and texture. They would also agree that it's more than just the flavor—it's also about understanding the history and culture behind it.
If you're a newbie and want to go to a tasting event for the first time, read below to discover the best destinations to arrange an exclusive wine tour.
It wouldn't be a wine-based list without including the world's wine capital. Bordeaux is a popular destination for wine lovers everywhere, boasting over 6,000 wine-producing chateaus and nearly 9,000 wines available, 85 percent of which are sumptuous red.
The city's wine-growing area covers around 120,000 hectares of rich soil perfect for growing grapes, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This is where tourists will find some of the most expensive wines worldwide.
If you plan to visit the country for a luxurious tasting experience, the best places to start are Chateau Pape Clement, Chateau La Dominique, Chateau Haut-Bailly, and Chateau Mouton.
Aside from its premium liquor, Bordeaux is also an established UNESCO World Heritage Site for its numerous protected historic buildings. Touring the city after your tasting adventure is an excellent activity for visitors.
Tuscany is another popular tourist destination and vino region in Europe. It's best known for its Sangiovese-dominant dry red wines, producing fine products like Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and the most famous wine in Tuscany, Chianti. Some of the best vineyards tourists can visit here include Montalcino, Bolgheri, Greve, and Castello del Trebbio.
Aside from its world-renowned vino, tourists can enjoy Tuscany's lush countryside. The area offers scenic rolling hills, medieval architecture, and rich vineyards. Tourists can spend a day exploring these places on foot. The city also hosts beautiful artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Dante Alighieri, and Michelangelo.
The Napa Valley is one of the most famous wine destinations in the country, with millions of visitors annually. This region is known for its prized Cabernet Sauvignon and nearly 400 winery options.
Aside from its elegant liquor, Napa Valley offers many picturesque views, from caverns to vineyards. There's also an option for visitors to take a hot air balloon ride over the area’s rolling hills or a journey on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The best part is that most of Napa Valley's wineries are family-run. That means tourists can have a cozy tasting experience on their visits.
The Constantia Valley, located in Cape Town, South Africa, is the oldest wine-producing land in the Southern Hemisphere. This valley offers a unique mix of delicate liquor, stunning natural landscapes, and delicious food. It also provides a scenic view of the famous Table Mountain.
What makes Cape Town a unique destination for oenophiles is how their terroir varies per district. Terroir is a natural environment that impacts how wine is produced, combining factors like soil and climate. Because terroir differs per area, Cape Town offers multiple tastes from regions relatively close to each other.
Aside from the Constantia Valley, some of Cape Town's best include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Durbanville. Because they're near each other, tourists can create a wine route for their visit.
One of the most iconic Greek islands worldwide, Santorini is best known for its unique architectural aesthetics and cozy blue waters. However, many tourists often overlook that Santorini is also a hotspot for tasty wine.
Surprisingly, Santorini has a long history of winemaking, becoming a famous choice across the Mediterranean in ancient times. Today, it widens its reach by exporting delicious wine across the world.
Santorini’s drink is shaped by its unique environment, producing a distinctive tang that tourists might have difficulty finding elsewhere. Some of the local varieties you can try include Nychteri, Vinsanto, and Mezzo.
The best part about a wine-tasting tour in Santorini is the combination of taste and the majestic view of the surrounding nature. Many tourists enjoy sunset tasting tours, while others indulge in a bottle on an overlooking balcony.
The Douro Valley is known worldwide as the oldest wine-growing land ever, with traditional landholders found to have been making wine in the ground as early as the 1700s. Aside from its age, the region's port wine made the valley famous among tourists and enthusiasts. It's been their main product since the 18th century and is among the best options for oenophiles today.
The valley's sub-regions comprise the Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo, and Douro Superior. These lands offer different wines with various histories, characteristics, and flavors. Visiting all three is a fantastic treat for all connoisseurs.
Considered the wine capital of Argentina, Mendoza offers a stunning combination of beautiful landscapes and delicious wine. Mendoza can be found at the foot of the Andes and produces a large percentage of the country's wine yearly. It's also where enthusiasts can enjoy the natural texture of Malbec, the most famous Argentine wine.
Some of the best bodegas or wineries in Mendoza are the Catena Zapata, Salentein, Andeluna Cellars, and Lagarde bodegas. It's also divided into five areas offering various flavors and tasting experiences. Beautiful and thrilling ski resorts also surround these areas.
Remember these tips to ensure a seamless experience before going on the ultimate wine tour destinations.
Consider that you'll be walking across different lands with hectares of beautiful vineyards and wineries. Unless there's a dress code requirement, you must always wear comfortable or casual clothing and footwear.
Tasting on an empty stomach is the fastest way to get drunk. So always eat a light meal before going to the tasting event. Some wineries offer food to accompany their wine. However, bringing your snack is also ideal.
The best way to prepare for your trip is to list your target wines and places. Create a route to organize your visit's flow. Plus, determine the price for your ideal locations. Doing so will help you set a realistic budget.
You might also enjoy a particular wine and want to bring home a bottle, but find that the winery only takes cash. Check if the wineries have smart tools like a restaurant POS system to avoid this issue. These devices will allow you to purchase an item using your card. That way, you have options for payment should you wish to buy a bottle on the spot.
Spitting is a common and acceptable practice that allows tasters to experience different flavors without getting drunk. Don't worry about making a mess because wineries have communal buckets where you can spit.
Lastly, and the most important one, wine tasting is a luxurious event practiced by many enthusiasts worldwide. If it's your first time going on a wine-tasting trip, don't overthink how professionals do it. Have fun and enjoy the different flavors you will encounter on your classy adventure.