- Explore prestigious wine regions around the globe and discover the heritage behind the world’s best wines
- Discover the best wine destinations in Europe, including Douro Valley, Burgundy and La Rioja
- Travel to South Africa, California and New Zealand wine regions to learn more about wine-making
Wine tasting tours are fun experiences while on holiday, and anyone who appreciates excellent wine will enjoy a trip to a sun-drenched vineyard and local wine cellar. Wine tours aren’t just for wine aficionados, either. Whether you’re a wine oenophile or someone who enjoys an occasional glass of red or white with an evening meal, wine tasting tours are fascinating. With prestigious wine regions to be found all around the world, why not book a wine tour when you’re next visiting Europe or on holiday in the USA, Chile, South Africa or New Zealand?
Wine tasting tours – 12 wine regions to visit
One of the best wine destinations in Europe has to be Burgundy. The wine region produces some of France’s top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, as well as Chablis and Beaujolais. Wine tasting tours in medieval Beaune, Burgundy’s wine capital, are not to be missed. A trip to a traditional cellar is often on the itinerary of a Rhône river cruise. While there, take time to explore the impressive Hospices de Beaune, a former charitable hospital.
Napa Valley, California, USA
There are also opportunities on escorted tours of the USA to indulge in a little wine tasting, especially if you are near the California wine regions. Napa Valley is perhaps one of the most famous, where many family-run estates produce excellent bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Zinfandel. With over 400 wineries, each with its unique style, setting and history, you can swirl, sniff and sip until your heart’s content. On-site wine shops enable you to buy a few souvenirs too.
Douro Valley, Portugal
With its lush hillsides full of grapevines, Portugal’s spectacular Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated wine valley in the world and a wonderful place to visit on a Douro river cruise. Wine tasting tours allow you to sample sparkling Raposeira, Mateus Palace’s rosé wine and the fine wine produced at Casa Ferreirinha, named after a legendary Porto matriarch. Then, of course, there’s plenty of port – which is still made in the traditional way and trodden by foot.
La Rioja, Spain
La Rioja, Spain’s much-loved wine region, sits on the Ebro River Valley, where rows of vines and olive trees colour the undulating landscape. At one of the region’s oldest wineries, Bodegas Bilbaínas, a wine tasting tour explains how grapes are crafted into fine Rioja wine – the historic winery has supplied the cellars of the Spanish royal family. Spicy red vintages – you can’t mistake that unique Rioja flavour – can be enjoyed with meals throughout a Spanish tour. Salud!
Stellenbosch, South Africa
One of the best wine regions in South Africa, and among the most prestigious, a trip to Stellenbosch is not to be missed. With over 150 wineries and estates, you really can choose the pick of the bunch while on a South Africa tour. Neethlingshof, established in 1692, is worth visiting, and not only to taste its award-winning Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The estate also has excellent examples of well-preserved traditional Cape Dutch buildings.
Moselle Valley, Germany
Aromatic Riesling is the white wine synonymous with Germany’s Moselle Valley. You can sample various vintages on wine tasting tours while in charming Cochem, the traditional centre of the Moselle wine trade and often a stop on the itinerary of Moselle river cruises. Wine cellars pepper the town’s narrow streets, and in Bernkastel and Koblenz too. A great time to visit is late summer when German wine regions celebrate their harvests.
Bordeaux is, without doubt, one of the best wine-producing regions of France, and a favourite European destination for fine wine connoisseurs. Grapes grown here are of first-class quality, and wine tasting tours attract visitors from around the globe – Bordeaux even has a wine theme park! Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc are the main white varieties of grape found in the region, with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec popular reds. Producers on both Bordeaux’s right and left banks also produce sweet wines.
Marlborough, New Zealand
New Zealand has a reputation as an outstanding wine-growing nation and a trip to the Marlborough wineries on the South Island is one of the many highlights of New Zealand tours. Vineyards were planted in Marlborough over 140 years ago, and now the New Zealand wine region is world-famous for its distinctive intense Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy a chilled glass with some fresh seafood caught in the nearby Marlborough Sounds – it’s a heavenly combo.
Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany produces 11 top-quality DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) wines, including the ever-popular Chianti and Chianti Classico. Both wines are made from the region’s principal red grape, Sangiovese; however, bottles of Classico are produced only in a small area between Florence and Siena. A walking holiday in Tuscany is a delightful way to soak up the cypress-covered Chianti countryside, especially if you end a day with a wine tasting tour. The family-owned cellars at the Foresteria Villa Cerna come recommended.
Fancy some fizz? Head to the Champagne wine region in north-east France – it’s only an hour’s train journey from Paris. The city of Reims is Champagne’s capital, and UNESCO has recognised its bubbly-making heritage. The famous houses of Bollinger, Taittinger and Dom Perignon all welcome visitors to join a Champagne tour, so find out more about traditional Cuvée, Blanc de Blancs and the meaning of Brut. If in Reims, also check out the city’s magnificent Gothic cathedral, the setting for the coronation of numerous French kings.
Maipo Valley, Chile
The oldest wine-making region of Chile, the Maipo Valley is an easy day trip from the country’s capital, Santiago. Wine tasting tours allow you to sample Chile’s finest offerings. The premier wine estate of Concha y Toro is here, owners of the popular Casillero del Diablo brand. Around 85% of the wine produced in the Maipo Valley is red, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenere and Syrah being popular varieties. If you prefer white, try the region’s Sauvignon Blanc.
If you were playing Family Fortunes, Georgia would probably not be your first answer if asked for a top wine-producing country. However, archaeological finds suggest the country has an 8,000-year-old tradition of viticulture. Scenic Kakheti is Georgia’s premier wine region, and villagers still make their blends in traditional qvevri clay jars. On holiday to Georgia, you can learn more about Kakheti’s unique wine-making process – and sample the rich, fruity amber wine.
Experience wine tasting tours on an escorted holiday
As you can see, there are many wineries around the world that welcome visitors on wine tasting tours. Not only will you learn more about grape growing, fermentation techniques, and the whole intricate wine-making process, at the end of the tour you’ll be invited to a tasting. Start your wine tasting adventure on an escorted tour or river cruise with Riviera Travel. Cheers!
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