Wine tourism is coming of age. More people are choosing holiday destinations based on their proximity to vineyards and wineries. And while it used to be more ad hoc, with people selecting their own regions, today it’s much more organised.
All around the world, across all kinds of wine regions, vineyard owners have recognised that wine tourism is big business. Whether it’s a stay at a fancy hotel and guided wine tours, or a campsite in the heart of a big wine-loving region, there are lots of options.
Where is the ideal wine holiday destination?
The very first list of the world’s 50 best vineyards is now available. This demonstrates just how far wineries have come from places of business to tourist attractions.
This list is packed with vineyards and wineries from around the world. However, it tends to stick to the bigger producers. Number one on the list is the Zuccardi vineyard, which is nestled in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Complete with beautifully designed wine cellars and the fine-dining experience to go with the wine, it’s spectacular.
And while these big producers are great to visit, they’re not the only options for a wine holiday. Smaller wine producers can be more intimate and welcoming. They often offer different options for accommodation and can guide tourists around the general area with plenty of local knowledge.
Great examples of wine regions with plenty of small producers include the easiest to access wine route in France in Alsace. This is so simple to navigate and is set-up for cyclists and motor tours. Other destinations worth visiting include the Valais region in Switzerland, which is perfect for walkers, or the wine routes of California.
Here are three of the best
1. Zuccardi Valle de Uco, Argentina
Now the number one vineyard in the world, this winery complex is elevated by its location with beautiful views of the Andes mountain range. It also has an architecturally sophisticated complex of buildings and cellars. Winemaker Sebastian Zuccardi produces wines that are recognisable from the terroir driven flavours.
2. Alsace wine route, France
Alsace was one of the first wine regions to understand the potential of wine tourism. The vineyards along the Alsace route offer a wide range of delicious wines. The landscape is stunning and rich with history. For cyclists, this could be the holiday of a lifetime.
The vineyards in Alsace are protected by a barrier formed by the Vosges mountains. This creates a unique climate, which produces many extremely rich and aromatic wines.
The Alsace wine route crosses lots of wine districts within the wider region. There is more than 170km to follow, dotted with wine makers of all types and sizes. Depending on the season, the wine route also offers specific events. Throughout the summer, from April to October, many local villages celebrate the wine harvest. At Christmas, there are markets to visit. It offers something for everyone.
3. La Rioja wine region, Spain
At the very centre of this popular wine region is Haro, a town boasting some of the biggest and oldest wineries in the area. There are many wineries to visit throughout the wider Rioja region, and at least 12 in Haro itself that aren’t to be missed. Wine-lovers will enjoy learning about Rioja wine and tasting some of the best vintages available.
You don’t need to get a formal tour in Haro, as it’s simple to find the big wineries yourself. Many are close enough to walk between them, and each winery has its own expert to talk you through production and vintages. Head to the middle of Faro and find your tour from there.
These are just three regions that make fantastic holidays for wine-lovers. With more wineries opening their doors than ever before, wine tourism is definitely here to stay.