There is nothing more exciting than travelling to a destination that whets your appetite. But many may argue that the best experience comes with a glass in hand.
Life is a celebration, and wine tourism can speak to that feeling. Imagine packing your bags and heading to a wine focussed destination where the art of smell and the hand selection of grapes that goes into the making of wines, will give you the sense of being the vineyard owner. If you are a travel enthusiast wanting to go around the globe to pick and savour wines of your choice, here are the World’s Top 10 Wine Destinations for 2021 to help with the planning.
1. Bordeaux, France
Spending time in Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world, will offer a unique tour with famous wineries, beautiful architecture and medieval villages that burst with charm. Medoc, the land of wines in beautiful Bordeaux, is home to some of these renowned wines. Bordeaux on its own is the perfect wine country for red and carefully blended wines, made from noble grapes. Many Bordeaux wines are highly collectable and can fetch take thousands of dollars at wine auctions. Known for their excellence and exclusivity, with much emphasis on ageing and character.
2. Georgia Wine Country
Traditional winemaking in Georgia is peppered with history, mythology and references to the fourth century. Legend has it that battle soldiers wove a piece of grapevine into the chain mail protecting their chests and in their hour of death, a vine sprouted from their hearts. The revival of Georgia’s wine heritage got an impetus when John Wurdeman, co-founder of Pheasant’s Tears winery in eastern Georgia, helped see its place in the world. White wines are Georgia’s hallmark. The five wines to try in Georgia are Kisi, Mtsvane, Rkatsiteli, Saperavi and Tsinandali. Wines from Kaktheti are full of fruits and tannins.
3. Chile & Argentina
The vineyards of two South American states – Chile and Argentina make some of the best easy-drinking wines. Mendoza is undisputedly Argentina’s largest wine region (for novices, Mendoza by itself makes two-thirds of the country’s wine). Casablanca Valley is one of the best white wine regions of Chile. Established in 1993, Casas del Bosque produces high-quality wines and is the preferred place for premium wine production. Despite being a New World country, Old World wine production methods are used in these two regions. The backdrop of the Andes mountains and the passion-driven emotion of Latin Americans further contributes to the setting.
4. California, United States of America
If you want to drink in the adventure of California, the top-notch boutique wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma are of the best to explore. Acres of vineyards, Mediterranean climate and charming resorts are of the reasons to visit this world-famous wine region. Apart from tasting some great wines in California, you will learn about the art of wine appreciation when visiting world-class refineries throughout your stay. When in the area, don’t forget to check out the sandwich chain of Mendocino farms for the locally sourced fresh ingredients in their steak sandwich.
5. Portugal and Spain
If you are planning for the best trip in 2021 – and I’m clearly biased here – bookmark Portugal, a renowned wine destination that has consistently received awards over the past years. The 100 hectares Quinta do Seixo is one of the grandest wine-producing and oldest vines in the Douro Valley. This state-of-the-art winery uses advanced winemaking technology in producing great quality wines. Of prime importance is the much-awarded Sandeman Vau Vintage, their deeply coloured port wine, with hints of purple. Alentejo wines of the Alentejo region are the darlings in the red department. Soul and spirit can be the best definition of Portugal wines.
6. Vienna, Austria
Aside from the culture, gothic architecture, music and art appreciation of the Austrian capital, Vienna produces 85 per cent of the world’s white wine varietals, including Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling. With over 1700 acres of vineyards within the city limits, autumn is the best season to experience the vineyards of Vienna as that is the time when it hosts the annual Wine Hiking Day. Interestingly, 2021 marks the 151st birthday of the legendary Musikverein concert hall and Beethoven’s 251st birthday. Make it a point to include Austria in your travel itinerary in 2021. Sample food and wine pairings and let the good times roll.
7. Cape Winelands, South Africa
Great scenery, food, safaris and the Winelands are the essence of South Africa. Constantia, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are the main wine-producing regions of South Africa with Constantia producing crisp white wines. Taste the sensational wines in the Cape Town’s vineyards as you set out to explore the offerings of South Africa. It is interesting to note that The Winelands in South Africa is also home to the longest wine route in the world. Travel enthusiasts may wish to note that the Wines of South Africa (WOSA), a leading international trade show for South African wines, will be hosting the CapeWine trade exhibition from 14 to 16 September 2021. All the more reason to include South Africa in your must-visit destinations next year.
8. New Zealand
The land of Kiwis, New Zealand is a premier gastronomic destination brimming with mouth-watering wines. Marlborough is a renowned wine region among the vast vineyards where you should try the world-famous Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. There are a multitude of family-owned boutique vineyards in the region. Sample zesty wines and delicious handmade cheeses during this sophisticated and unforgettable experiences of a lifetime. Neudorf Vineyards occupies a pride of place in European restaurants whereas the Seifried Estate has been making stylish wines since 1973. Central Otago has made a name for itself as a premier region for Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir New Zealand 2021 is scheduled from 23-25 February in Christchurch. So do bookmark it.
9. Finger Lakes, New York
Five hours away from New York City, the Finger Lakes Wine Country has become a popular wine region in the East Coast. First established as a wine region in the 1960s after Dr Konstantin Frank started growing riesling here, the Finger Lake has not only gained popularity among wine enthusiasts due to riesling but also due to other contemporaries such as chardonnay, craft beer, cider and cabernet franc. Lovers of wine can make a note of Finger Lakes Wine Festival which will be held over July 9-11 in 2021 – the largest showcase of New York State wines.
Slovenian wines stand out for their natural flavours. Three wine-growing regions with fourteen wine-growing districts are ranked among the best in the world. Brda Hills is best known for white wines, and Ljubljana holds the title of International City of Vine and Wine and is the commercial centre for Slovenia’s wine districts. Fresh, sweet or dry, wines in Slovenia are available whichever your preference. History buffs, know that the 400-year-old Zametovka wine, which is grown on the front of the Old Vine House in Maribor. The world knows it and so should you.
Get planning, these are the Top 10 Wine Destinations which you should visit in 2021. Wine and memories go hand in hand and we all need to something wonderful to look forward.
** Images sourced on Unsplash.