In the past decade, public interest in wines of varying types and origins has soared, especially with the diffusion of information that has been made possible via the web. White, red, rose … Merlot, chardonnay, zinfandel … a dry aftertaste with a hint of dark chocolate … the universe of vino has expanded immeasurably from the simple choice between simply red or white just a generation ago.
Another trend springing up around this persistent trend has been tourism surrounding the vineyards and wine regions where different varietals of wine are produced. Travelers have paired their love of seeing new places with the desire to sample the difference of drinking the same type of wine in different locations, which can vary in flavour due to the soil composition and the microclimates present in the region in question.
You don’t need to wait for your next vacation or holiday to engage in this sort of adventure though: why not use your next long weekend to visit some of the world’s storied viticulture regions? Many of these places lies within a short flight of many major population centers, making it an easy task to experience the best wine the world has to offer without burning up any valuable days off.
Let’s talk about just a few of the possibilities that exist in some of better wine regions around the world.
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
Widely lauded as one of North America’s best wine regions, the Okanagan Valley is a semi-arid area wedged between the Cascade and Monashee Mountain Ranges in southern British Columbia, with a series of lakes along its floor creating the perfect centerpiece for a wine vacation. Nearly every type of wine can be grown here, including a variation that Canada is known for – ice wine. This very sweet drink pairs perfectly with dessert, upgrading the best meal of all to an even more elevated status. Easy access to this region can be had from the cities of the Canadian West (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton) and American centers in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, Portland, Spokane).
With a history of viticulture dating all the way back to the 8th century AD, the farmers of the Bordeaux know their stuff when it comes to crafting quality wine. Regions within Bordeaux are divided by grape type, alcohol content, and even by pruning and winemaking techniques. Saint Emilion is the cultural center of this region, where tours can be arranged and post tasting festivities can be enjoyed. Easily accessed by bullet train from Paris, flight access makes a weekend here feasible from points such as London, Madrid, and Berlin.
Barossa Valley, South Australia
While Australia is a country that spans an entire massive continent, modern air travel has enabled Aussies to access some of their nation’s best assets within a few hours of flight time. As such, those in places such as Perth, Sydney or Brisbane can experience their nation’s best wine region with ease. Barossa Valley’s culture, located within an hour’s drive of the southern city of Adelaide, has a decidedly German influence, with it’s traditions, foodstuffs and wine varietals (Reisling, Shiraz) reflecting its heritage.