If you’re a true wine lover, the story behind that perfect glass can be even more fascinating than the wine itself. Wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike, take a journey through some of the most beautiful wine valleys across the world.
1) Chianti, Italy
Famous for its red wines, the Chianti district in Tuscany is a fertile land, filled with medieval houses and castles set amongst long stretch of vineyards and majestic chestnuts.
Start your exploration of this wine heaven with a visit to the medieval town of Greve; if you’re there in September, you’ll catch the wine festival, where you’ll be able to sample some of the most refined wines in the world.
Wine-makers still crush the grapes with their feet and you can get in on the action too. Do not miss a tour of Monteriggione, a fascinating castle stuck in time.
2) Napa, US
This world famous wine area receives over 5 million tourists each year for its picturesque valleys, charming little towns and literally hundreds of wineries.
The Napa valleys is home to over 200 family-owned vineyards, famous for their traditional recipes and excellent wine varieties.
The superb wine choices are always accompanied by some great gourmet dishes carefully chosen to complement your drink. A great way to enjoy everything that this bountiful valley has to offer is to picnic with fresh, local produce.
3) Baden, Germany
Germany’s southernmost wine region is ideally located between the hills of the Black Forest and the Rhine River, its fertile soils making it ideal for several types of wine varieties.
You can find anything in Baden, from riesling to silvaner grapes, making the wines here famous for their strong flavors and mild acidity.
Expect some fine Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, as well as many welcoming vineyards and quaint restaurants.
Explore this region with tour and tastings from Badische Winzerkeller, Baden’s largest cooperative.
4) Loire, France
With a natural beauty that is hard to find elsewhere, the Loire Valley hosts well-preserved castles, churches and monasteries that act as perfect settings for the perfect glass of wine.
The region was first used for viticulture by the Romans and grew with the introduction of new varieties and techniques.
You will surely love the valley tours, with accommodations in traditional houses and delicious local dishes.
5) Douro, Portugal
One of Portugal’s most popular tourist destinations is slowly becoming the next fashionable destination for art and wine lovers.
Its sweet, fortified Port wine is produced here, along with other “regular” white and red wines. Once a fast flowing river, the upper Douro was slowed down by the building of eight dams over the last quarter century.
Local boat tours cruise up the river, in tourist season but for a more picturesque way to explore the area, try riding the 1924 Steam Train, that runs daily from May to October.
6) Yarra, Australia
In Australia, the wine-making tradition is short, yet tasty and rich.
In Yarra, the farmers started practicing viticulture in 1838. Nowadays, the region is producing a wide variety of wines, including some classic sparkling wines made in partnership with the French Champagne houses.
If you’re not a big wine fan, it’s still worth visiting this wonderful region just for its breathtaking views.
One of Australia’s most popular valleys, beyond the wavy landscape you’ll find cheese and wine trails, live coffee roasting and bread making and some of Victoria’s finest accommodation and dining.
7) Cape Town, South Africa
In the valleys around Cape Town, visitors will find a truly unique climate for Africa. The warm dry summers and the mild rainy winters created a Mediterranean climate perfect for wine making.
First attempts to cultivate grapes began in the 17th century, when the first Europeans arrived.
Recommended wine routes in the area include Franschhoek, Wellington and Stellenbosch.
8) Maipo, Chile
The Maipo Valley lies between the Andes and the Coastal Mountains, in Chile. Although sunny and warm during the day, this region gets pretty chilly at night.
The temperature balance and soil rich in salinity, yet low in potassium are responsible for some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignion and Chardonnay in the world.
The valley surrounds the capital city of Santiago, so ask for the best wine tours at the local tourist facilities. Locals tend to recommend the Underagga as the best winery tour.
9) Andalucia, Spain
40,000 hectares of vineyards planted in no less than 20 regions – that’s what you’ll find in Spain’s largest and southernmost autonomous region.
Worldwide famous especially for fortified wines like sherry (or jerez). The best and most convenient area to wander around is Malaga, best known for its natural sweet wines.
Axarquia and Moscatel are not to be missed when wine tasting in Malaga.
What’s the most beautiful winery you’ve ever visited? Post up your comments and let me know.
If you liked this, you might also like: Top 10 Beer Capitals of Europe.
Main image, Napa Valley by Abe K.