The 7 Best Places in the World for a Wine Vacation

Wine is a blend of art, biology, and agriculture. It is history in a bottle, or as Louis Pasteur said, “a bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.” It is no wonder then, from layman to oenophile, that people across the globe seek not just to taste the variety of species and environmental flavours, but to explore different local techniques, discovering secrets found only in regional experiences. Here are 7 of the best places to visit for a wine vacation:

1.Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland wine region hosts some of New Zealand’s oldest established vineyards,  boasting over 100 vineyards and wineries. Environmental factors, such as the sub-tropical climate, volcanic soil and sandy loams, paired with the techniques of Auckland winemakers, produce a variety of Bordeaux style wines — robust Cabernet Sauvignons, complex and elegant Chardonnays, and stylish Merlots. 

The city of Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. Auckland is located on an isthmus between the Hauraki Gulf of the pacific ocean, and the Manukau Harbour. This exquisite location is within driving distance to the Auckland wine region. Staying in Auckland joins the pleasures of rural, maritime, and cosmopolitan leisure. The city hosts a variety of restaurants driven by local ingredients with seasonal variations from both sea and land. Enjoy the local cuisine with historical influences from Māori culture and British roots, and more recently, Southeast Asian influences.

2.Barcelona, Spain

Rich in Mediterranean culture and Old World wines, Barcelona Spain offers the opportunity to experience the diversity of wines that Spain’s warm and varied climate offers. Sample the local vino with the added bonus of pairings from the bountiful access to traditional Spanish cuisine and Tapas. As a cultural hub for Catalonia and Spain, staying in Barcelona offers access to a variety of wine countries and touring where you can sip, explore and taste what is considered one of the oldest and best regions. 

With over 2.9 million acres of wine grapes planted, Spain is the world’s third-largest wine producer, with the largest global production of documented and registered organic wine. Many of Spain’s world-renowned wine regions are accessible from the Spanish rail system, Renfe, which is the best way to explore the country. Exploration of the countryside is key, as Spanish wines are classified not by the grape, but by the region. 

3.Buenos Aires, Argentina

With roots that stem from a European upbringing, yet a culture unto itself, Argentina is developing international award-winning wines that are rising from soils previously dedicated to farming. The lengthy days of sunshine with cool ocean breezes create high-sugar content grapes with tough skins that enhance colour. These wines of brilliantly intense colour and complexity ring of the poetic quote attributed to Galileo Galilei: “Wine is sunlight held together by water”. 

As a country that produces a fifth of the wine in the world, Argentina is only the 9th global exporter. This is the result of the culture being one of the biggest wine consumers in the world, where most of the production is consumed on home soil. Enjoying a stay in one of the many chic districts of Buenos Aires with fading colonial architecture, provides a wonderful wine getaway with access to a variety of regions. As well as access to the vast urban wine bars and tasting rooms in the metropolitan area.

4.Florence, Italy

Those that seek to sample the heart of wine culture, who search for the esoteric knowledge of grapes set against iconic verdant rolling hills, Florence Italy is one of the greatest wine destinations in the world. Not only does Florence provide the exploration of Old World wines, but it accompanies exploration and discovery with traditional Italian foods that have been curated in local taste. These paired combinations have been culturally developed for flavour. Which is enhanced by service techniques that create a designed experience, capturing the heart of Italian food and wine finery.

To stay in Florence provides the freedom of experiencing wine culture by traveling for  full wine tours at a famous winery. There is also the in-town choice of visiting a cantina (wine cellar), tasting at an enoteche (wine bar) and gourmet shops, or even a simple impromptu stop along the street at a vinaino (wine stand). The opportunities are as endless as they are delightful.

5.Lyon, France 

Though France is arguably the global capital of wine, French wine cannot be described simply as “French”. Each type of french wine is attributed to the region the grapes were grown and fermented in, connecting regional identities and appellations. The city of Lyon is centrally located between Paris and Marseille as well as the confluence of the Rhȏne and Saȏne rivers. Lyon is known as the gastronomic capital of France, making this destination renowned for wine travel.

While staying in Lyon, enjoy a trip to the famous Cȏtes du Rhȏne or Beaujolais regions to meet the wine producers. Experience the terrior, a French wine term used to describe the specificity of place (soil, climate, weather, and aspect of the vineyard) in which the wine was produced. Or, enjoy the metropolitan scene of Lyon and visit La Cave des Voyageurs, Lyon’s oldest wine bar, where wines from all over France may be sampled alongside paired foods, situated in the cultural style.

6.Seattle, Washington

The Washington wine regions have two major defined climates; the wet marine-influenced climate of the west, and the dry desert-like climate of the east. Washington grapes are grounded in stone-studded sandy soil above basalt and lava, and bask in up to 16 or 17 hours of sunlight per day in the growing season. It is no wonder then that this magnificent landscape is home to over 970 wineries and over 350 vineyards. Many of the vineyards are open to the public, as well as wineries and tasting rooms. Many of the charming and regionally local wines (as well as wines from all over the globe) may be tried from the remarkable of Seattle. 

Staying in Seattle provides the opportunity to enjoy the plentiful experiences and leisure activities the city holds. Enjoy The Seattle Art Museum or Symphony, Safeco Field and Pike Place Market, without having to leave behind the quest to satisfy your thirst in discovering new Washington wines. The city is host to paramount gourmet restaurants and bistros, with an abundance of fresh seafood where fine dining may be paired with the state’s best wines.

7.New York City, New York

While The City That Never Sleeps may not immediately conjure images of Tuscan-esque sunsets backdropped by emerald rolling landscapes, New York should not be skipped over when it comes to traveling for taste. Great wines and cuisine from all over the world have made a home in this city that is jam-packed with diversity and flavour. But that isn’t to say that New York doesn’t have a flavour of its own; in fact, the oldest winery in the United States, Brotherhood, was settled in New York in 1839. 

Enjoy the luxury of staying in New York, while taking a day trip to meander the wine country for wine and food festivals. Travel to Brooklyn’s Navy Yard to visit Rooftop Reds, the world’s first commercial rooftop vineyard. Discover New York wine and wine regions, or seek out tastes from every corner of the globe, on a world-class level.