Wine & Travel

8 Must-Visit Travel Destination for Wine Lovers

By Rachel O'Conner 1/9/2020 10 minutes

1) Tuscany, Italy
Any list of destinations focused on wine is going to touch on Italy sooner or later. Given its near-mythic status, however, it seemed only fitting that Tuscany kick off this particular list.

If you close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting outside on a warm Italian afternoon, eating olives and cheese perfectly paired with your wine, you’re probably imagining yourself in Tuscany.

Located about three hours north of Rome, Tuscany is still relatively quiet compared to Italy’s other tourist-heavy locations. And with its wineries nestled in the hearts of one-time castles, it is a place with an atmosphere as ethereal as its reputation.

2) Piedmont, Italy
Located about four and a half hours northwest of Tuscany, Piedmont is another long-standing Italian wine-making region. They are the world’s foremost producers of popular wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. And they take their reputation seriously with some wineries using traditions handed down through the generations.

Piedmont has a little bit of something for everyone. Wine enthusiasts can spend the night in gorgeous local inns while dining on freshly-made local food and enjoying the region’s many wines.

Or, if the whole family has come along, the children can enjoy a picnic lunch while their parents try a sampling of local vintages.

3) Sonoma Valley, California
California might be a fair distance from Italy, but Sonoma’s sun-dappled valley is no less enchanting. It is near to the more well-known Napa Valley, but it is more accessible both in terms of pricing and how it approaches the art of winemaking.

Sonoma Valley is a great place for people just starting out in their appreciation for wine and want to learn the best ways to taste wine. Or, if you’re more experienced, the Valley offers a relaxing and casual atmosphere to enjoy your favorite vintage.

Whether you want to enjoy your wine in a bustling urban setting or the serenity of a secluded vineyard, Sonoma Valley has something for you. It offers everything from busy urban areas to small towns with darling main street shopping and cozy accommodations.

4) Napa Valley, California
There is so much for wine lovers to see and do in Napa Valley. Many of the hillsides have been tiered, offering a unique vista as visitors walk through the vineyards.

Those who appreciate staying fit while traveling can even take guided bicycle tours of the local wineries. And any mention of Napa Valley would be incomplete without touching on their amazing wine caverns. There is nothing quite like descending into the cool earth to find delicious wines unique to California.

5) Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is a region that might not immediately come to mind when you think of wine. But perhaps it should be!
Cape Town is a city surrounded by mountains, but that has not stopped locals from growing amazing grapes… or an amazing wine culture.
Cape Town is the only metropolitan area on this list. And its very modernity is part of what calls attention to it.
The entire area is steeped in a very long and very emotionally charged history. This history influences their winemaking and wine culture in a way that is entirely unique to Cape Town.

6) Bordeaux Region, France
If you like red wine, you have no doubt heard about the Bordeaux region of France. And though Bordeaux produces several kinds of wine, their reputation for reds is well-deserved. 85% of all wine they produce is red wine, and each one is produced using techniques passed down through the generations.

You can enjoy the delicious Bordeaux wines in one of several Michelin-rated restaurants in the region. Or you can get a literal taste for local history in one of the region’s monasteries-turned-wineries.

You can also explore local history through one of many museums and galleries, several of which also offer local vintages. After all, what is wine but art in a bottle?

7) Douro Valley, Portugal
If you like a little bit of history with your wine, then the Douro Valley might be your ideal destination.
The very roots of the region’s wine trade can be traced to Roman invaders who planted the first grapevines in the 3rd century CE. If you want to know more, you need only take one of the area’s many historically themed wine-tasting tours.
Douro Valley is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. So not only is the local wine industry steeped in history, but it thrives with an eye on protecting the natural lands around the vineyards.
To this end, visitors can also join in grape harvests or take environmentally focused riverboat cruises through breathtaking scenery.

8) Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Many wine lovers will be surprised to see Mexico on a list of ideal wine-making destinations, but the Valle de Guadalupe is one of the crowning jewels on this list.
Wineries in the area have made it their mission to produce delicious wines to suit a variety of palates. And they do it all with amazing style.
Only in Valle de Guadalupe can wine lovers sample new vintages in a winery constructed from recycled ships. It might be unusual, but Vena Cava is a stunningly gorgeous winery.
Valle de Guadalupe is also home to the oldest cheese cellar in Mexico, La Cava de Morcelo. Though the cellar is tucked back out of the way of normal tourist routes, it is well worth the stop for anyone who loves a little cheese with their wine.

And So Many More
There are so many amazing wine-making regions out there. Some of the locations on this list are only a short trip away from other fantastic regions ready for you to explore.

And that is the true beauty of wine! It is an interest as complex as the flavors of the drink itself.
Plus, you can’t ignore the health benefits of wine. In fact, you might even think of wine as a superfood.

After all, not every beverage has been shown to boost your gut health, lower your risk of heart disease, and even ease the symptoms of depression. But red wine has!
So, while you’re visiting these incredible wine destinations and soaking in the sights, take an extra sip and raise a glass to your health!

Rachel O'Conner