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The wine room and library, Bisate Lodge, Wilderness Safari, Rwanda


The World's Top Wine Tours

Written by
Susann Pietschmann & Katie Holmes

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 South Africa's mountainous landscape to Chianti's sun-drenched vines, here's our in-depth guide to wine regions across the globe.

Wine & Safari
South Africa
Picturesque villages
Italy & Spain
Wine & Sunshine
Australia
Franschhoek, South African winelands

The South African Winelands

The wine

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.

Winelands South Africa

The food

The area is something of a culinary hotspot, and you’ll find all kinds of fresh produce adorning the plates of the region’s excellent restaurants, from the two world-class restaurants at La Residence to the 200-acre working fruit farm of Babylonstoren.

Food at Babylonstoren, Winelands, South Africa

The scene

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.

Landscape, the Winelands, South Africa

The rest

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.

Kurland South Africa Horse Riding

Where to stay

almaviva-vineyards-chile

South America

The Grand Tour

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.

malbec-vineyard-mendoza-argentina

Uruguay

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.

Finca Narbona Wine Cave, Uruguay, Carmelo

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.

Finca Narbona, Carmelo, Uruguay

Argentina

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.

Vineyard in Cafayate, Argentina
The first stage in winemaking

Start in Mendoza‘s Central Valley, the home of Malbec and where some of the most prestigious Argentine wineries are located. Next up is Cafayate, often referred to as Argentina’s Tuscany, and boasting some truly stunning boutique wineries and sweetly perfumed Cabernet Sauvignons.

Basket of grapes in Mendoza, Argentina

Further north towards the relatively unknown region of Calchaqui and Molinos you’ll find Bodega Tacuil, one of the oldest and probably highest wineries in the world, whilst in the Pampas you can combine wine-tasting with a luxury ranch-style gaucho experience at one of our favourite estancias.

Vineyard, Chalaqui, Argentina

Chile

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.

Landcape of the Maipo Valley, Chile

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.

Lapostelle, Chilean Wine Region, Chile

Where to stay

hunter-valley-vineyard-australia

Australia

The wine

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.

vineyard-barossa-valley-australia

The food

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.

Federation Square Pop up Patch rooftop produce gardens, Melbourne, Victoria

The scene

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.

Sunset at Opera house and Harbour bridge, Sydney, Australia.

The rest

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.

Wild Koalas along Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia

Where to stay...

Adelphi Melbourne Lobby
Adelphi Hotel
$$$$$
Flinders Lane was once the heart of Melbourne’s thriving rag trade. The skinny, 1930s concrete building that now houses the Adelphi was once a soft goods warehouse but in the hands of a team of architects who bought it in the late 80s, it was turned into a wonderfully unique boutique hotel. The redesign is the brainchild of Melbourne-based design studio, Hachem, and as soon as you enter, you immediately know you are somewhere special. A large horse and carriage sculpture doubles up as the reception desk, ceilings are dotted with mirrored tiles and bold modern art pieces adorn the walls. The colours and textures of the hotel are inspired by sweets and desserts, and rich chocolate tones abound alongside stools in the shape of liquorice allsorts and cherry-shaped light installations. Rooms are characterised by geometric carpets, bold prints and colourful fabrics but the cream-coloured walls and sophisticated design touches ensure rooms remain elegant and on the right side of quirky. Flinders King rooms occupy the corners of the buildings, large windows flooding them with natural light and offering views out over Flinders Lane. The Palatial Suite features a separate bedroom and living area separated by a central hallway and with space for extra beds, it is a great option for families. As its name suggests, the cuisine at Om Nom tantaslises the taste buds, its meticulous presentation a real feast for the eyes. In this intimate setting, treat yourself to carefully crafted dishes and signature desserts enjoyed alongside fine wine, craft beer and expertly mixed cocktails. Located beneath the hotel is Ezard, where east meets west in a wonderful fusion menu.
Waiheke Island Winery, New Zealand

New Zealand

The wine

From Waiheke Island to Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough Sounds and the Cromwell basin, with world-renowned Sauvignon Blancs, award-winning Pinot Noirs and everything in between, New Zealand has some first-class wine to offer the finest of connoisseurs.

Wine glass at a vineyard in Marlborough, New Zealand

The food

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.

Food at Wharekauhau Country Estate, Wairapapa, New Zealand

The scene

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.

Queenstown, New Zealand

The rest

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.

sea-kayaking-new-zealand

Where to stay...

wharekauhau-exterior
Wharekauhau Country Estate
$$$$$
Immerse yourself in the grandeur of a bygone era at the spectacular Wharekauhau Country Estate, an Edwardian lodge set on a hill with spectacular views of the thundering sea below and working sheep farm around. Breath-taking scenery and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere will make this a visit to remember. Take in the dramatic vistas of Palliser Bay from the 13 cottage suites, or find the utmost privacy at either luxurious Owners Cottage or home Wharepapa Cottage, each with three bedrooms. Natural materials are used throughout the suites – clay tiles, pebble mosaics and rich New Zealand wool carpeting add to the experience. Each room in the main lodge has its own distinct touch, complete with carefully-selected antique furniture and classic fireplaces. Unwind in airy open lounges flooded with natural light, or curl up with a book in a cosy corner. Whether relaxing in front of a crackling fire, or sharing a light-hearted moment in the sunny kitchen, at Wharekauhau you’re considered part of the family. An elegant formal dining room flows through into a country kitchen and conservatory, making mealtimes extra special. The kitchen’s ‘farm to table’ philosophy means fresh produce from the lodge gardens and surrounding areas – so look out for the chefs roaming the grounds collecting the freshest ingredients for the evening meal. With 5,500 acres of private land including ancient forests, peaceful lakes, rivers, and a wild and rugged coast to explore, guests are spoilt for choice when it comes to a route for walking, mountain biking, horse riding or ATV quad bike adventures.
chianti countryside Italy

Europe

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.

wine-tasting

Spain

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.

Vineyard, La Rioja, Spain

Italy

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.

Village in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Italy

France

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.

boutique-hotel-bordeaux-wine

Greece

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.

skouras-winery-greece-vineyard-1

Portugal

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.

Landscape in Douro Valley, Portugal

Slovenia

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.

Goriska Brda Wine Region, Slovenia

Croatia

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.

Hvar, Croatia, wine-making

Where to stay...

Pool, Amanzoe Hotel, Porto Heli, Greece
Amanzoe
$$$$$
Sat atop a hill surrounded by undulating olive groves, Amanzoe is a 21st-century neoclassical temple with incredible panoramic views over Argolis and down to bustling Porto Heli below. There are 38 pavilions dotted along the hillside, each private and elegantly luxurious, opening onto terraces with private plunge pools and views of the surrounding land or sea. Each pavilion is accessed via a stone-walled courtyard, leading to a living area and king-size bed in a marble alcove. For friends and family groups, there are a collection of spacious four to nine-bedroom villas with their own chef and host. Colonnades lead to serene garden courtyards, a vast pool and an amphitheatre, as well as the restaurant where you’ll find simple, contemporary Greek and Mediterranean dishes that emphasise locally sourced fresh ingredients delivered daily. The Amanzoe’s expansive spa combines diet, gymnastics, exercise, massage and sea bathing with modern natural products and treatments. A gym is also available, and studios host yoga and Pilates sessions Just ten minutes away, and easily accessed by complimentary transfers, the Amanzoe’s private beach club is set beside the azure Agean, with four swimming pools, small spa, casual eatery and overnight cabanas providing all the comforts of the pavilions. Sunbathe on the terrace, swim in the sea or discover the bay by kayak, paddle-board or snorkel. You can also charter a boat from the Aman fleet to sail to nearby islands, such as Spetses aor Hydra, or venture to off-shore diving spots. Porto Heli’s tavernas and countless ancient ruins, from the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus to Byzantine monasteries, are also all within easy reach.

Talk to one of our expert travel designers today and start creating your perfect wine tour itinerary.

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