Wine tasting is, to those who travel, about so much more than just the wine. Sipping from light glasses on a bench in the sun, the koi fish glittering from the light in its pond near your feet, just taking in the spectacular mountain view; somehow, the smooth taste of their wine becomes the cherry on the top. Luckily, this feeling is not exclusive to Italy, Spain or South Africa, and we can enjoy and celebrate wine tasting all around the world.
I am not a wine critic. Although I love the taste of it and could pair a good wine with a meal if I was forced to do so, wine tasting is something I do for the joy of it only. That being said, knowledge is king, and you can take a look at this article to learn something new today.
Europe: Vienna and Venice
Have you been to Vienna before? The architecture is stunning, elegant and will have you wandering around for hours, just looking at the city without getting bored. It’s hauntingly beautiful, with influences left behind by Sigmund Freud’s analysis of dreams, as well as traces of music from great composers such as Mozart and Brahms. Anyway, their wine is loved; the dry white and sweet dessert wine produced in the area has even given the city quite a big name on the international wine tasting scene.
Another long-time favourite, although it is hard to choose between the two, is Venice. It’s sort of romantic but in a flirtatious way; say, even if you go there with your SO, it’s Venice you fall in love with. Walk in her streets and drop by anywhere for un ombra, a glass of wine, or do a classic pub crawl, a giro d’umbro if you like, to take advantage of a city with canals and no cars. If you’d like to snack your way through the city and taste the local food, you could do a Venice Food Tour with The Roman Guy. Although it’s a touristy place and most restaurants are quite busy, you’ll still find places with enough time to take you on a wine tasting tour.
Where some countries in Africa and Europe are famous for their wine production and often an obvious choice, Asia has not enjoyed the same celebrated wine status. First of all, the climate isn’t quite right for wine production – at least not as consistently right as it is in Europe. It is still very young, but you’ll find some good wineries in China; specifically in the coastal province of Shandong, where you get the chance to visit Huadong Winery which was the first to offer modern wines.
America: California and Michigan
Wine and America are often associated with California, and rightly so, as one of the top wine producers in the country. Just one search on google for wine tasting in California will give you more results and options than I’d like to admit, paired with everything from cycling trips to whale safaris and sundowners – it’s no place to be bored. As a tourist, and one of wine in particular, California offers a plate of variation and exciting outings to go with your glass.
If you’re looking for some lesser known wine cellars, it’s better to step out of California for a while. One that deserves to be mentioned, according to these wine specialists, is Left Foot Charley in Michigan where the climate is cooler and the grapes are excellent.
Africa: Cape Town
Not only will you find an abundance of lovely vineyards all over Cape Town, but along the Cape in general too; Stellenbosch, for example, is one of the most popular places for wine tasting. The wine is delicious there, the locals are friendly, and it is drop-dead gorgeous. Here is a more comprehensive guide, it even includes the opening times of each vineyard. At the bottom of the list is one of my personal favourites; Four Cousins in Robertson. The town is small and charming and lies right on the scenic Route 62, famous for its incredible mountain views and with more vineyards like this nestled along the entire route then you’ll be able to visit.
If you love wine, you’ll be in heaven in Australia and get the chance to taste many world-famous brands. Western Australia is good for this, and you don’t have to put up with visiting only the large and popular ones; those wineries with that homely feeling and scenic view is found right down the road from the bigger ones. The Margaret River wine region is building quite a reputation and an obvious choice if you travel to Australia for the sake of wine.
New Zealand is as much about the wine as it is about the adrenaline rush these days, and in Marlborough, you’ll also get to taste their famous chocolate at their chocolate factory. As the country is so popular for rush-seekers, with tourists leaping off planes and bridges, it’s no wonder they offer wine tasting with a host of activities to go with it. Check out this wine tour map if you feel like cycling through it – or just hire an organised tour if wine and bicycles sounds a bit too unsteady.
As a wine lover, you’re spoilt for choice in many parts of the world these days – and even the parts that are less recognised for wine production is able to offer exciting flavours, interesting history, and local food to go with your glass. Hire someone to show you around or just befriend a local from the city you’re in; a guided tour may be able to show you all the fancy tricks to tasting, but a visit to a vineyard with a friend gives you the freedom to spend as much time there as you like. No matter what style you prefer, the view will be stunning and the wine smooth.