From a cold glass of chardonnay after a heart-pumping hike, to a sweet swig of syrah while waves lap at your feet, a glass of homegrown wine can turn any trip into a sumptuous adventure. Lovers of grapes, wine connoisseurs, and even casual samplers who just like to sip, here are some world-class wine destinations you don’t want to miss!
Cape Town, South Africa | View South Africa Discovery Itinerary
Viticulture in Cape Town dates back to the 1650s when the town was a small refreshment station for travelers along the Spice Route between Europe and Asia. Cape Town’s rainy winters and long, dry summers are ideal for grape-growing, and in recent years, the city has become somewhat synonymous with wineries. From the sweet sauvignon blanc of the picturesque Contantia valley to the signature shiraz of the scenic Paarl route, there are numerous varieties that pair well with Cape Town’s trumpeted culinary delights in this hip, cultural mecca.
Piemonte, Italy | View Piemonte Itineraries
Nestled in northwest Italy at the foot of the Alps, Piemonte is one of Italy’s most acclaimed wine-growing regions. Known for its high quality Barolo (“king of wines”) and deep red barbaresco, the exquisite wines grown here beautifully complement the region’s rich, truffle-infused cuisine. With pleasant, pastoral landscapes, medieval castles perched atop alpine villages, and sprawling vineyards giving rise to world-class wines, Piemonte is the perfect spot to pop open a bottle.
Kakheti, Georgia | View Hiker’s Journey to the Caucasus Itinerary
When you think of famous wine-growing regions, South Africa and Italy come to mind quickly. But the tiny Caucasian nation of Georgia, though lesser known, is actually the oldest producer of wine in the world—evidence of 8,000-year-old vintage wine was recently discovered here! Three quarters of Georgia’s wine grapes are grown in Kakheti where the region’s high iron, “cinnamonic” soil, is perfect for rustic, earthy flavors. Georgia’s rich history, welcoming culture, and scenic landscapes make it a wonderful place to fill up your glass!
Cafayate, Argentina | View Adventures of Salta and Jujuy Itinerary
In Argentina’s Calchaqui Valley on the edge of the Andes, one of the highest wine-producing regions in the world—Cayfayate—is gaining an excellent reputation for the high quality of its torrontes and malbec. At 5,600 feet above sea level, grapes grow thicker skins because of the more intense sunlight. Plus, the balance of cooler nights leads to wonderfully finished wines—particularly suited to the torrontes riojana variety. You won’t find any big parking lots, crowds, or tour buses here, just donkeys grazing in the street, gauchos on horseback, and dramatic desert landscapes that are the perfect backdrop for picking up a glass of crisp, floral white or a full-bodied red. During our adventures here, we stay at a colonial-style manor house surrounded by vineyards. Heavenly.
Porto, Portugal | View Hiker’s Journey to Portugal Itinerary
Overlooking the enchanting Douro River, the stately city of Porto is best known for its sweet port wine, though a variety of different wines have been produced in the Alto Douro Region for over 2,000 years. The terraces that have been carved into the hillsides over the centuries add to the overall beauty, having earned the entire region a UNESCO World Heritage designation. In this artsy town where craftsmanship is prolific and foodies are well-satiated, you can enjoy a glass of rich, tawny port alongside a wide variety of culinary options. From Michelin-starred restaurants to Portuguese tapas bars, gourmet steakhouses, and roof-top terraces perched above bell towers and fountains, there is no shortage of savory delights in this scenic coastal town.
Mount Etna, Sicily | View Hiking in Sicily Itinerary
Referred to as Mama Mount Etna by those who live nearby, the mineral-rich volcanic soil that surrounds this steaming mountain is great for growing grapes. In the seaside town of Taormina, where Mount Etna smokes in the background, the vineyards are noted for less-common varieties of grapes that are used to create syrah, merlot, and cabernet. Noteworthy writers like Goethe and Hemingway have been drawn to the gorgeous little town of Taormina for centuries, and can’t you just see them now? Ocean breeze sweeping by, pen in hand, and a satiny glass of merlot…magnifico!
Tasmania, Australia | View Wild Tasmania Itinerary
Tasmania, Australia’s most mountainous state, enjoys a climate similar to wine-growing regions in Europe. With mild summers, warm autumn days, and cool nights that ripen the grapes and give them an intense flavor, this unique island state is covered in dolerite-capped mountains that shelter the vineyards from high winds and heavy rainfall. If you love a supple pinot noir or a well-balanced chardonnay, Tasmania is the place to go (and it’s highly overlooked!). You’ll be welcomed by friendly locals, enjoy gorgeous hiking trails amid towering ferns and granite peaks, and savor a glass of chardonnay by a roaring fire at the end of an epic day. Cheers to Tasmania!