It just so happens that wine-country often holds all the ingredients you need for a perfect holiday. Luscious landscapes of rolling hills and verdant vineyards combine with gastronomic experiences for the ultimate getaway.
We've rounded up our experts' pick of the world's top wine tours.
From small boutique wineries where you may be shown around by the owners themselves, to large modern estates, there’s a whole world of wine here just waiting to be discovered. Start at Stellenbosch, South Africa‘s second oldest town, and make your way through Parl and the famous Franschhoek, with its charming cafe lined streets. You’ll have our top, personalised recommendations for activities, vineyards and restaurants along the way to keep things zinging along.
One of the most historic areas of South Africa, this is where many of the original Dutch settlers made their homes. Charming towns, pretty villages and whitewashed Dutch colonial buildings are splashed across the emerald landscape. The best way to appreciate it? Ask our experts to arrange a hot air balloon ride for you, and see the landscape stretched out below you in all its glory.
From mountain biking to horse riding, hot air ballooning, hiking and some fantastic terrains for golf, not to mention an array of luxury spas (including treatments such as vinotherapy) for those who’d rather just kick back and relax, you certainly won’t get bored in this part of the world. For a real adventure, combine your Winelands trip with a Safari adventure and sample the best of both worlds.
With regions from Argentina to Uruguay and Chile all delivering some world-class wines, it can be hard to know where to start. A good wine tour in South America can focus on going in depth in one particular country, or going for breadth by travelling from one delight to another tasting the very best the continent has to offer.
If you want to make Uruguay your focus, start in the glamorous coastal town of Punta del Este, stopping over in cosmopolitan Montevideo before finishing in style in Carmelo. Making the perfect alternative to busier parts of the Uruguayan Riviera, the micro climate across Carmelo’s 100 acres of vineyards is perfect for grape growing, and the charm of wine production here lies in its predominantly small, family-run nature.
At Finca Narbona, one of Uruguay’s oldest wineries and vineyards, life is deliciously laid back. Here, you can immerse yourself in one of the most authentic wine experiences the world has to offer: find out what goes on behind the cultivation, picking, processing and maturing of the grapes as they grow, enjoy vineyard picnics, dine on fresh produce at its rustic Italian restaurant, and feast on its homemade cheeses.
If you’re tasting your way through this gastronomic treasure trove of a country you may well find yourself spoilt for choice: from exclusive sommeliers in Buenos Aires to the baroque vineyards of world-renowned Mendoza, and the lesser known but sublime wineries in Cafayate and the Pampas, this really is a feast for the senses.
The sweeping valleys of Chile’s Wine Regions include the Aconcagua Valley and the Valle Central (itself subdivided into the Maipo, Rapel, Curicó and Maule Valleys), renowned for its distinctive Sauvignon, Syrah, Carmenere and coastal Sauvignon Blancs. With the vineyards of Mendoza just a quick hop over the Andes, you’ll find it’s a real oenophile’s paradise.
The Maipo Valley is its most traditional wine valley, boasting some of Chile’s finest reds and home to Concha y Toro and Cousiño Macul, among other world-famous wineries. Meanwhile, in the higher altitude “Alto” Maipo some exciting new boutique wineries are capturing international attention.
From the country’s oldest vineyards in Hunter Valley to the famous wineries of the Margaret River, Australia is very much on the map when it comes to great wines. For a tour that cuts no corners, start by immersing yourself in the exclusive Spicers Vineyards Estate, and finish with private tours and tastings at the world-famous Vasse Felix, Voyager and Leeuwin Estates.
As you travel from North to South, don’t miss the foodie heaven that is Melbourne (where you’ll also be able to tour several boutique wineries in the nearby Yarra Valley) and Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania which is rapidly gaining culinary renown and attracting celebrated chefs from across the country.
Vibrant cities, swathes of arid desert in the Outback, rugged islands, white sandy beaches, gleaming coastal towns and oceans teeming with coral life, all of it bathed in glorious sunshine: there really is something for everyone in Australia’s wild and beautiful terrain. Ask our experts to arrange a helicopter tour between the vineyards of Margaret River for a truly spectacular aerial view of the scenery.
Get active outdoors hiking or horseback riding, take advantage of the great surfing, fishing and boating along the coast, dive into the vibrant art scene of the cities, dive and snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef or head out to see some of the country’s unique and spectacular wildlife: trust us, this is one place in which you’ll never get bored.
On your way from Hawke’s Bay to the Cromwell basin, swing by Nelson, whose sunny climate has attracted innovative food, wine and craft beer producers from around the world. Here you can go food foraging, lose yourself in sumptuous markets, and visit a wild mushroom grower for a bowl of the tastiest mushroom soup you’ll ever encounter.
Sweeping, sun-drenched plateaus, deep emerald greenery, rugged coastlines, formidable mountainous terrain and sparkling blue waters characterise the epic landscape for which New Zealand is famous, whilst its cities hold a distinct history and culture fusing colonial European heritage with traditional Maori customs and a strong Asian influence.
The diverse environment of New Zealand makes it an absolute dream for adrenaline junkies, with white water rafting, skiing, caving, canyoning, skydiving, paragliding and bungee jumping all on the menu. For more peaceful types, the wildlife and scenery make for some spectacular hiking and horseback riding, whilst the cultural scene is vibrant and endlessly fascinating.
Europe’s wine scene is practically as old as Western civilisation, and with regions from Chianti to Champagne and the Douro Valley all thriving, it’s only getting better. Immerse yourself in Spain, Italy, France or lesser-known choices like Slovenia, Croatia or even England, whose sparkling wine industry is rapidly gaining international acclaim.
Start in La Rioja, internationally famous for the quality of its produce with more than 500 wineries to show for it. From there it’s not far to our other favourite Spanish wine region, Ribera del Duero, with its bountiful crop of Tempranillo grapes and over 300 superb wineries to choose from. Get the most exclusive experience in the charming town of Villabuena de Álava.
Tuscany‘s famous Montepulciano, Brunello and Chianti, the superb wineries of Piedmont‘s Barolo region, Veneto‘s valpolicella and of course their ever-popular alternative to champagne, prosecco: every region in Italy has its own sublime speciality. Our favourite? Head to the picturesque hilltop village of San Maurizio for the perfect Italian vineyard escape.
Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, the Loire Valley…we could go on. Life in France is practically synonymous with wine – even Paris‘ Montmartre has its own vineyard. For total immersion, base yourself at our favourite rural retreat in the renowned vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte and get stuck into Bordeaux’s sublime cultural and culinary heritage.
It was Homer who put the north eastern Peloponnese town of Nemea on the winemaking map, calling the region Ampeloessa, meaning ‘full of vines’. Today the indigenous Greek Agiorgitiko grape is used to produce wines famous for their deep red colour with violet and blue hues, a complex aroma and a long, velvety palate.
Portugal’s Douro Valley has been making wine for some 2000 years and, whilst it’s most famous for its port (a sweet brandy fortified wine that must originate here to be considered the genuine article), there’s a sumptuous variety of wines to be discovered within this UNESCO World Heritage protected landscape. Stay at the Six Senses to sample the best of the region’s vintages with nightly tastings in the Wine Library.
The Goriška Brda Wine Region is often referred to as the Tuscany of Slovenia, with its rolling hills, lush vineyards and clear blue skies. Names like Movia, Klinec, Primosic and Keber will feature strongly when you visit, but there are plenty of smaller boutique vineyards to tempt you in as well.
Hvar and the Pelješac Peninsula are home to some fabulous wines, including Milijenko Grgich’s famous famous white Pošip and their red Plavac Mali Dingac. Our travel experts will arrange for you to learn about the art of wine-making from expert locals and, in Hvar, a Master of Wine, of which there are only around 300 in the world.
Talk to one of our expert travel designers today and start creating your perfect wine tour itinerary.