Bold reds, sparkling whites, a nice port as an aperitif in winter. Do these phrases make you wish your work day was over? You are not alone. My husband and I look forward to a rich glass of Pinot Noir after work. Sitting on our front patio, chatting with people out walking their dogs, inviting neighbors to join us for a glass – it’s really a social thing. While we love sipping wine at home, my husband and I also love doing winery tastings. Does this sound like you? Sometimes we just want to break free from our routine and try something new.
I have to admit, we have mostly sampled Florida wines since this is where we live. However, we have been to wineries in upstate New York, South Shore Long Island, and Arizona. We even toured South African wineries virtually via zoom. But what about the rest of the world? I wanted to find out the best places for winery tastings worldwide so I collaborated with travel bloggers from across the globe to find out where to go. Now I am sharing that exclusively with my readers.
Winery Tastings in Montepulciano: Contucci
Maria and Jurgen from Places of Juma
One of the best wineries for having an unforgettable wine tasting and on top, a real insiders tip for visiting Tuscany area is Contucci in Montepulciano! This winery is located in the world-famous UNESCO heritage site Val d`Orcia and has a 1000 years long family tradition. The Contucci family grew wine since the Renaissance. In fact, they are one of the “founders” of the world-known Vino Nobile.
Another reason why Contucci is so famous is that they are the only ones who are having the right to vinify inside the historic city walls. When having a walk through the old town of Montepulciano, don`t miss to pop by for having a free tasting! The wine cellar is located just right next to the main square inside the Palazzo Contucci. Also interesting are the wine museum and the cellars (free of charge). Then you have the chance to taste the fine Contucci wines. The tasting is free and if you like, you can buy directly a few good bottles to take home.
Their specialties of Contucci and a must try are red wines Rosso di Montepulciano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Wine Enthusiast awarded the Mulinvecchio DOCG 2014 (Vino Nobile) as one of the top 100 wines of this year!
Take a day trip from Florence for a guided wine tour of Montepulciano and Pienza.
Winery Tastings in Serdiana (Sardinia): Argiolas Winery
by Claudia Tavani from Strictly Sardinia
Argiolas Winery is one of the 5 located in Serdiana, a village of no more than 2500 souls. Located in a region called Parteolla, it is about 20 minutes drive from Sardinia’s capital Cagliari. The fact that so many wineries exist in such a small town testifies to how important wine production is for this region. This should be taken as an indication of the incredible quality you are going to find there.
Needless to say, if you are looking for the best Sardinian wines during your trip around the island, Argiolas is where to go. They offer some of the best wine tasting experiences in Sardinia. This family run winery started its operations in 1906, growing vines in its 250 hectares. However, it was only in 1938 that the estate was officially founded.
Argiolas Winery is an important landmark and production center in the village. Throughout time, it kept its work and most importantly its wine ethics, always focusing on quality. The winery produces several varietals, including Sardinian-only Mornica, Nuragus and Vermentino. Yet, it’s their Turriga, a blend of varietals which include Sardinian Bovale, which typically steals the show. Regularly awarded the prize of Best Italian Wine, Turriga is a nectar from heaven. It is worth every penny you pay for it.
The winery offers guided tours in English that take you through the wine making steps and end with a guided tasting experience. You can pick among different packages from the most basic to the most refined. Don’t leave without a bottle at hand!
Winery Tastings in Santorini: Santo Winery
by Ingrid at IngridZenMoments
When it comes to Santorini lots of things come to mind. Examples are cave hotels with caldera views, stunning sunsets, picturesque villages set on the top of cliffs. However, many might not think about wine.
Santo wine is a special type of Greek wine produced from grapes that grow on the volcanic soil. Because of its location, the island gets plenty of sun and almost no rain and humidity during summer days. This results in a strong and sweet wine.
Even though there are plenty of wine producers and taverns on the island, you should definitely stop by Santo Wines to learn everything about the manufacturing process. This is the perfect winery because Santo Wines is the Union of Santorini Cooperatives that has over 1200 members. Thus you will get to taste some of the best the island has to offer.
Additionally, the view from the winery is breathtaking. It makes a perfect spot to see the sunset and a perfect location for a special event such as a wedding or an anniversary.
Plan a winery tour and finish it with a wine tasting on the terrace. While the most popular and iconic wine is the white one, you can choose to taste any of their other types, from a variety of red, rose, or even sparkling brut. Don’t leave without trying the Vinsanto wine, an iconic naturally sweet white wine obtained from dried grapes and aged for 36 months in oak barrels. I goes perfectly with sweets, cheese, or nuts.
Bodegas Lopez in Mendoza, Argentina
By Audrey of That Backpacker
Mendoza is where wine lovers go when they visit Argentina because no trip to the country would be complete without a wine tasting or two!
I visited Bodegas Lopez, established back in 1898, and I joined their “Lopez Style Tour”, offered year-round. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may get to harvest grapes (February-April), learn the art of trimming the vines (July-August), or try your hand at shoot thinning (September-November).
We started the morning with breakfast at the bodega featuring an assortment of argentine pastries and baked goods. Then we toured the bodega, where we watched trucks full of grapes unload their cargo. After that the grapes were crushed and pressed before continuing their journey on to fermentation. We also got to see how they age the wine in towering French oak barrels. Some of which hold up to 12000 litres of wine!
Next we ate lunch at Rincón de Lopez, the bodega’s onsite restaurant. Here we got to sample 3 wines with our meal: a Sauvignon Blanc with empanadas, a Malbec with rib-eye steak, and an Extra Brut sparkling wine with dessert.
You’d think that would be enough wine for the day, but after lunch came the actual wine tasting! We were led down to the cellar, where we sampled another 4 wines which included a rosé, sparkling, red and white wine.
I recommend this full-day wine tasting experience in Mendoza because it makes a super fun and engaging tour that also allowed us to sample a wide range of wines.
Winery Tastings in Bordeaux: Saint-Emilion
From Victoria Heinz of Guide Your Travel
Bordeaux is known for producing some of the best wines in the world. This area of France has unique climate conditions and a specific soil type that is ideal for wine production. Saint-Emilion is a tiny village located outside of the city of Bordeaux and is home to world-class wines. Wine lovers from all around the world visit Saint-Emilion to try some of the best and most expensive wines there are. Hundreds of wineries and chateaux are located here and most of them offer wine tastings. You can try different wines and decide which ones are for you.
A great way to get into wine tastings here is to take the little tourist train that goes around the vineyards. It stops at different wineries and lets you try wines and buy some if you like. You can even visit the beautiful wine cellars where the wine is stored until it is ready to drink. Saint-Emilion has so many different wineries you’ll never have time to see them all. This is literally a paradise for wine lovers and with thousands of wine to choose from you’re almost guaranteed to find one that is absolutely perfect for you. While you can try luxury wines here there are also more affordable options available.
Winery Tastings: Holmfirth Vineyard, England
By Hannah from Get Lost Blog
When you’re thinking of wine tasting destinations around the world, Yorkshire in the north of England probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind. And while vineyards are few and far between in Yorkshire, there are a handful that you shouldn’t miss.
Holmfirth Vineyard in West Yorkshire is one of those vineyards. It is a unique sight to see vines growing in the Holme Valley, which isn’t renowned for sunny days and soaring temperatures! Nevertheless, some clever science has created four hybrid grapes that are hardy enough to withstand the unpredictable nature of Yorkshire weather!
While you won’t see merlot or pinot grigio on their menu, you can enjoy their house specialities which include Solaris White, Regent Rosé, and Regent Red. All three wines have notes of English fruits from apples and pears in the white wine, strawberries and raspberries in the rosé, to blackberries and bramble in the red. The wines are light and summery, and ideal for entertaining.
The best way to sample Holmfirth Vineyard’s wines is by taking an informative and entertaining tour to learn the history of the vineyard. An introduction to the wine-making process and a tasting session follow. You can even enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in the restaurant too. Holmfirth wines are available exclusively at the vineyard, so if you want to try them for yourself, you will need to pay them a visit!
Winery Tastings: Marlborough Wine Region
By Cecily from Groovy Mashed Potatoes
On New Zealand’s south island you will find the Marlborough Wine region, well known for its Sauvignon Blanc wines and sunny, dry climate. It’s the largest wine region in New Zealand, accounting for 85% of the country’s wine exports. Other than its famed Sauvignon Blanc, you will find Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir grape varieties.
Stay in the charming town of Renwick and rent bikes to vineyard hop along the Golden Mile. The Golden mile is 6km and takes you to nine wineries. Stop in at Giesen Wines to enjoy their delicious charcuteries board for lunch and relax at Forrest Wines on their bean bag chairs as you try their wine.
You can rent bikes from Bike2Wine for $30 NZD per day. They waive this fee if you stay at their quaint bed & breakfast called the Olde Mille House.
What makes the Marlborough wine region so special is that you don’t need to make reservations for most wineries in advance like you do for other wine regions. No need to be on a schedule! Another bonus is that many of the wine tastings are free or a small cost.
Since the wine region is close to the ferry that separates the south island from the north, it’s a great place to start your south New Zealand itinerary.
Book a full day wine tour here.
Winery Tastings in Chile: Concha y Toro
James Ian from Travel Collecting
Concha y Toro is a large winery in the Maipo Valley just outside Santiago, the capital of Chile. The Concha y Toro wine tour and tasting is extremely well organized. The winery scatters the tastings along a tour through the vineyards and winery.
It starts with a walk through landscaped gardens, with a view of a lake, vineyards and the historic house where the first owners lived. They serve the first wine sampling under trees from large barrels set up as tables near the lake. This sauvignon blanc is not grown on site, but it is one of the wines produced by the company.
After seeing 49 different types of wine stock vines that demonstrate the breadth of wines they produce, the tour leaves the vineyards and gardens behind and heads into one of the older buildings. Here the second tasting, this one a carbonere, is given, while the wine-making process is explained.
The tour continues down into a basement called the Casillero del Diablo (the Cellar of the Devil). There is a sound a light show with storytelling about how the basement (and wine) got this name. Perhaps the devil even makes an appearance!
There is a third and final tasting – a cabernet sauvignon – before the tour and tasting ends in the gift shop.
Although Concha y Toro produces a wide range of wines, their most famous is the Casillero del Diablo, which is a carbonere. An interesting story – after a blight in France, this type of wine was thought to be extinct for over 100 years before a mysterious Chilean merlot was discovered to actually be the long lost carbonere grape!
Tastings in Spain: Bodega Cuatro Vientos
Contributed by Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Bodega Cuatro Vientos is a beautiful vineyard located in the village of Murtas, in the mountains of Costa Tropical in the Southern Spain. This vineyard is special because it sits at an altitude of 1,000 meters and offers stunning views over the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The vineyard offers tastings in their underground museum-cellar, where you can spend the entire day just looking at the exhibition. Bodega Cuatro Vientos spreads on 30 hectares, spread on different hills of the Alpujarra Mountains.
The vineyard produces DOC Granada wines: white, rose and red, as well as a few sparkling varieties as well. The tasting take place in the underground tunnels, between barrels of wine that is ageing. They have some spectacular intimate vine tasting rooms, with wooden furniture, surrounded on all sides by bottles of wines. It’s a great way to experience the local wine together with friends.
The vineyard also has a restaurant which specialises in traditional Alpujarran cuisine, with a heavy accent on grilled meat. The portions are huge and very tasty.
They also have a few rooms to rent and a special apartment inside a tower, which is often booked for weddings, for the happy couple. It is advisable to book a room a the vineyard if you plan on enjoying all the things that they offer and don’t worry about driving back to the nearest town.
Wine Pairings in Ljubljana, Slovenia
By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust
There are lots of reasons to visit Ljubljana in Slovenia, and one of them is its really high quality food and wine.
In the centre of the city is a romantic castle on a hill. Literally within the walls of the castle is a restaurant called Strelec. It is here I had an amazing taster menu of exquisite food paired with top Slovenian wines.
The dining room is in a stone round room, part of the Archers’ tower of the castle, which dates back to the 15th century. There’s also a terrace on top of the castle walls, which gives you stunning views over the city.
However, despite this fairytale setting, the real attraction here is the food and drink. Strelec specializes in Slovenian food and wine. They offer a tasting menu, which comprises six courses, each with a Slovenian wine hand-picked to complement the food.
The wines were amazing, including Malvasia and Rebula from the Goriška Brda region of Slovenia. They complimented the food perfectly.
And as a bonus, the price tag at Strelec was very affordable, because Slovenia is not as expensive as other European countries.
Hope these tales of winery tastings have inspired you to travel around the globe or even search for winery tastings close to home.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.