Love wine? Skyscanner introduces some of the world’s finest wine regions for quaffers of quality vintages.
In 2009 France was recognised as the world’s largest wine producer and is home to some of the planet’s famous wine districts including: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Rhone, Loire and Provence.
From Paris you can easily get to France’s northernmost region, Champagne and enjoy the world’s most expensive bubbles. Those who prefer red wine or chilled Chardonnay should head to the Bourgogne wine districts and the Loire Valley.
The Italians love their wine and the country has a long history of wine culture behind them, with vines dating back to 2000 B.C. When the Romans came to power in 300 B.C., vines were planted across the country and Italy’s most famous wine regions are Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli.
Fly to Milan and proceed by car to the Piedmont in Northwest Italy, world famous for white truffles and red wines exclusive to Barolo and Barbaresco. Then, see Azienda Agricola Erbaluna winery in La Morra – famous for its organic produce and elegant wines from grape varieties Nebbiolo and Dolcetto.
It was the Romans who first began producing wine in German lands over a thousand years ago, but it was monks who were responsible for spreading the vineyards to the north of Germany. The country currently has 13 wine districts and the main grape varieties are Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Rivaner and Sylvaner. Wine district Saale-Unstrut is the world’s northern-most growing area and is known for dry, fresh and elegant white wines with a spicy bouquet and low alcohol content.
Enthusiasts can grab a quick flight to Berlin and then continue on their own to Saale-Unstrut’s largest winery, Kloster Pforta in Bad Kösen whose wine history goes back as far as the year 1154AD, when the monastery’s monks cultivated wine for communion. Here they grow both white and red wines and which are known for their high quality.
It is said that the vineyards in Spain began 3000 years ago. Famous for its reds, Rioja is the country’s most famous region and it was here they began to produce quality wines back in the late 1800s. Sophisticated red wine lovers should not miss the family Alvarez Vega Sicilia winery in Valbuena de Duero, which is in the Ribera Del Duero wine region. Take a weekend trip to Barcelona and visit the family-run winery Pares Balta, or visit the neighbouring region, Priorato which has one of the area’s top wineries – Clos Erasmus – known for its high-quality wine.
Although Portugal may not be as well known for wine making as Spain, Italy or France, the country has made wine for thousands of years; port wine from the Douro valley and the green wine Vinho Verde, are two of Portugal’s best-known. Vinho Verde is a young, fresh and light sparkling wine with low alcohol and often drunk as an aperitif.
The Adega do Cantor winery, near Albufeira, produces Sir Cliff Richard’s Vida Nova’s wine, and the organic vineyard, Monte da Casteleja, located between Portimao and Lagos, is worth a visit.
Compared to Europe, South Africa’s wine culture is relatively new, with the first wine being produced in 1659. However, despite the late start the country is known for producing some excellent wines and is one of the top ten biggest wine producers in the world.
Constantia, Stellenbosch and Paarl are the major wine regions, but other notable wine areas include Klein Karoo, Durbanville and Swartland on the Atlantic influenced west coast.
Argentinean table wines have long existed, but the country’s wine culture in recent years has developed a lot and now produces wine for every taste and price range. Argentina is today South America’s largest wine producer and the major wine regions San Juan and Mendoza together produce over 90% of the country’s wines.
The main red varieties are Malbec and Bonarda, which are among the best in the world. Bodega Catena Zapata in Mendoza is the most famous vineyard and crystal manufacturer Swarowski’s high-class wine house Bodega Norton is worth a visit.
Chile is one of the most dynamic wine countries in the world. Most of the county’s vineyards are concentrated in the areas just north and south of the capital Santiago where the landscape and climate combine to create many varieties of high quality wines for example Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, which is produced at the famous winery Concha Y Toro, just south of Santiago.
The land ‘down under’ has much to offer vino tourists with a modern and innovative wine sector that produces many wines of high quality. The country’s vineyards are mainly located at the southern and southwestern coasts in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. One of Australia’s best red wines is the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Grange, which is produced by the famous Penfolds winery in the Barossa Valley.
North Americans began to cultivate vineyards in the 1700s and today the U.S. is the world’s fourth largest wine producer, with some wine production in most states from Alabama to Ohio.
By far the most famous wine region is the Napa Valley in California, which boasts more than three hundred wineries with many different grape varieties and the region is visited by as many as 5 million wine lovers each year.