If you are trying to find out where the best wine regions are in the world, you probably already know that there are many factors to consider. Classic or modern? Old world or new world? Northern hemisphere versus southern? What kind of climate would be enjoyable at the time of year you’ll be on holiday?
It can be rather overwhelming with all of the options that are available nowadays. After all, a wine lover gains the most satisfaction in the totality of the experience. From getting there, to the spectacular sights along the way, the history of a “bodega,” to the wine producing process, and finally the wine tasting and pairing of food available in the region.
Here are our picks for the top 5 best wine regions, based on what they have to offer as an experience, as a whole, and not just for the wines themselves.
1. Bordeaux, France
Belonging to the faction of old world wine producers, the Bordeaux wine region has been making wine for thousands of years.
The city itself is the second most visited city in France, coming second to Paris. This means that there is a collaboration between modernity and the antique charm of old. This can be experienced through the contrast of the modern chic dining available in the city, with the rustic feel of the vineyards just outside it.
Many Michelin star restaurants have made Bordeaux a home, adding impeccable food choices to pair with the best wines of the area. Once you’ve fully taken in what the city has to offer, you can explore the many Chateaus, in the area that also serve as the some of the most historic and best wine producers in the region.
Château Mouton Rothschild is a must-visit, and so is Château Pichon Baron. These estates will bring you back in time and leave you in awe of how little has changed in the years they have been making wine.
If this is not enough, the region also hold festivals just for wine. Named Fête le Vin, this is one of the most anticipated wine festivals that happens every June.
2. Alto Adige, Italy
Belonging to the old world wine scene, Italy is a country that has been under-rated when it comes to wine popularity. Bordering Austria and Switzerland, Alto Adige is at the northernmost tip of Italy’s map.
This region is blessed with history, and amazing high altitude scenery that will leave you awestruck. Celebrated here are the white wines that can rival, if not top, any other that is produced in the world.
The full flavor of the wine is greatly affected by the mineral rich water that originate from the Alps. To name some of the most popular vineyards, there is St. Michael-Eppan, St. Pauls, and perhaps the oldest, Franz Haas Winery.
These can all be found along the South Tyrolean Wine Road, or Weinstrasse, a 26 mile stretch that showcases the vineyards of the region.
3. Alentejo, Portugal
Taking up close to one-third of the whole country’s land area, the Alentejo region is a testament to how much wine is ingrained in Portugal’s culture.
The best season to take a tour in this region is either spring or fall when the weather is just about right. The summer months can be too hot for an enjoyable wine tour. This region is so large that it caters to almost every fancy.
From the convenience found on hilltop cities, to beaches you can have all to yourself, to open plains and mountains to the north.
Visit the Cartuxa winery and monastery famous for its Pêra-Manca wines. If it’s the best red wine you are after, then Herdade do Mouchão is the place to be. The Alentejo wine region is not to be missed.
4. Margaret River, Australia
For a taste of some of the best new world wines, Australia is becoming a widely known destination popular to wine aficionados.
Climbing the top of the ranks is Margaret River in Western Australia. This region has miles of beaches and coastline to boast on which adds to character and flavor of the grapes as they grow.
With an atmosphere that can be described as laid back, the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay that are produced here are exactly the opposite. The robustness and flavor tones in the wine make them comparable to wines produced in Napa Valley and Bordeaux.
Vacation houses are the most popular abodes to rent when touring this area. But if you are looking for something a bit closer to nature there are eco-friendly organic farms where you can stay and experience the green life.
November is the best month to visit as Margaret River Gourmet Escape takes place. It’s a gathering of the best food and wines during this period where participants from all over the world partake.
Visiting Woodlands and Vasse Felix wineries is a staple recommendation. Mixing it up with a trip to Leeuwin Estate will make your stay complete.
5. Napa Valley, USA
There is not really much left to say about Napa Valley, after being known worldwide for the quality of wines coming out of this region. Wine enthusiasts swear to the experiences garnered in Napa Valley simply because it has everything a wine buff could ever wish for.
Being a relatively small area, the secret seems to lie on the diversity of soil types that can be found here. This in turn influences the taste of the wine, along with the climate Napa provides.
V. Sattui Winery is the most famous and most visited in Napa because of the varieties of wine (over 60 kinds), the friendly staff and the general old world Italian feel to the place.
For a family-owned winery that is stepped with history, Spottswoode is one you should not let pass. Established in 1882 this winery is consistently rated as one of the best to see in Napa.
Another attraction that can be found all over Napa are the restaurants that serve unbelievably excellent cuisine that complements the wine. Napa Valley has the most Michelin star restaurants per capita than any other wine region in the world. This speaks volumes about the quality of food you can indulge in while in this region.
Although these are the five best, it is important to note that there are many other wine regions that can compete. Special mention should be given to the wineries of South America (Argentina and Chile), South Africa, New Zealand, and Spain. Even if they were not included among the top five, they are surely worth visiting.