The Most Interesting Wine Regions Around the World

Globally, wine is loved far and wide… With wine production and wine-producing regions spanning across parts of Africa (South Africa, Tunisia and Morocco), Europe, South America, North America, Canada, Oceania and Asia too.

Wine is something that can be enjoyed alone or with others. It can be savoured with food or pensively sipped on its own. It is a drink for thinking, celebrating and yes, even for grieving too.

Above all though, wine provides a historic, yet modern drinking experience. After all, it has apparently been around since c. 7000 BC. (With the earliest evidence of steady production of wine found as far back as c. 4100 BC.)

Depending on where you go, wine tours and/or tastings are a sensory experience. They come complete with either sumptuous or rustic furnishings and interiors, beautiful nature and outdoors… Yet, other times, it’s all about the incredible views and homely farm ambiances surrounding you.

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Wine Tasting: An Individually Intimate Experience

Yes, wine tasting is about the quality of wine and its nuanced taste and flavours… but it is also about the sights, sounds and smells that come to life when you open a bottle of good wine, explore a wine estate or chat with loved ones over generous food platters and delicious wines… Wine is an intimate drink, of this I am certain.

In light of this, I wanted this post to focus on the intimacy of each different wine region, told through each traveller’s eyes. Whether the wine regions are in the same country or on a different continent – what truly makes them unique is this: how wine lovers encounter them.

So, for this post, I invited some fellow travellers and travel-loving writers to share their favourite and most interesting wine regions with my readers… We cover everywhere from India to North Macedonia to France and South Africa too.

Here are a few of the most interesting wine regions around the world:

Provence, France: Companionship Cemented with Fine Wine

provence-wine-region-alicia-chamaille
Photo by Alicia Chamaillé
For many, the word Provence conjures images of lavender fields, sunflowers and hilltop villages. The Provence I know is all that and more. Its vineyards stretch out across small mountains, a thousand shades of green punctuated by the silvery leaves of olive trees; the sound of cicadas in the early evening and balmy summer days.

More than that, it’s platters of fruit, cheeses and baguettes (without butter) being torn apart and devoured in the company of friends and strangers, while we banter over a bottle of wine.

You see, I’ve been to Provence more times than I can remember… I was born there and moved to South Africa when I was three and have returned almost every year since.

How to Wine In Provence

Not once in all those years have I ever been wine tasting. Conventional tastings in South Africa include travelling vast distances to a particular wine estate and sampling three to five glasses for the sole purpose of experiencing different wines and having fun. In Provence, we visit wine estates – or rather, we visit ‘caves’ – to conduct business.

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Photo by Alicia Chamaillé

It’s the business of leisurely enjoyment that the French are known for and it usually involves going to whatever cave is nearest or en route. And involves sampling two or three different wines with the aim of walking away with a few bottles.

The label on the bottle rarely, in my experience, has anything to do with our choice. Instead, we buy from the winemakers we know personally because they stay in the same small village we are in or someone recommended we go to them. We then take them home to enjoy with our lunches or dinners, our baguettes and our cheese platters… We don’t go for wine tastings because there isn’t a need: all wine is fantastic wine in Provence.

 By: Alicia Chamaillé

 

Nashik, India: India’s Wine Capital

 

Photo by: @moonglade.luv via Instagram

Nashik is the city of temples but it’s also, the city of grapes… Naturally, they make wine here. The pioneer, Sula Vineyards, started in 1999 with just five acres of land. Yet today, they have become a behemoth of 3000 acres, including the contracted vineyards.

Scores of other vineyards have sprouted  up in the region as well… All of them offer unique tours and tasting experiences. For obvious reasons though, I visited the pioneer.

We were offered six types of wines, a mix of red, white and sparkling. The experience, of course, left me no more a sommelier than when I walked in.

They also have a store where you can buy all their brands (can’t say ‘fresh wine’ though) for reasonable prices. Considering the prices of wine around the globe – these wines are definitely great value for money.

By: Ninad Chitnis, Walk and Explore

 

Cape Winelands

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The Cape Winelands – situated in sunny South Africa – is one of the most special and popular attractions in SA. In fact, it easily stands us in good stead with some of the world’s best wine regions.

Each year, estates and wines ring in the accolades – and the crowds. If you are looking for a historic, breathtaking wine region to visit, South Africa’s diverse, eternally beautiful region comes strongly recommended.

All the Places You Can Go…

The Winelands quietly take travellers on a tour across the scenic Western Cape province… With each stop as fun and interesting as the last. For a start, there’s Cape Town’s own stunning Constantia Wine Valley, before you even reach neighbouring towns Paarl, Stellenbosch, Durbanville, Wellington and Franschhoek – all perfect points to kickstart a wine tasting frenzy.

If you drive further afield, perhaps along the Route 62, you will encounter towns such as Rawsonville, Bonnievale, Robertson and Montagu… all known and loved for their beautiful wines and small town charm.

Or maybe you prefer to traverse the countryside closer to the Mother City, navigating the coastline or rolling farmlands, as you explore regions like Hermanus, Somerset West or Elgin… Each reveals an equally glorious wine-producing region.

You can even head to the Swartland, where Riebeek Kasteel (known for its weddings, wine and restaurants) and Darling lie… Or trek over to Tulbagh, a town famed for its for history, beauty and wines… The options – and wine estates – are endless!

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Best of all though, the Winelands offer a plethora of family-friendly and adventure-focused attractions… Catch a wine tram or tuk tuk in Franschhoek, tuck into a divine high tea experience in Stellenbosch or explore restored Cape Dutch Manor House gardens and grounds dotted across the province.

Aside from the daily festivities, the Cape Winelands also offer incredible art galleries, museums, wine pairings (everything from local cuisine to cheese boards to cupcakes) and fun festival experiences throughout the year.

So, head to the Cape Winelands and soak up our summer sunshine; hop on a segway or horseback tour – or even just nibble on cheese and wine in one of the many stylish tasting rooms, which, more often than not, offer spectacular land, mountain and sea views…

By: Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust

 

North Macedonia: Europe’s Undiscovered Wine Region

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Photo by Where Food Takes Us

One of the last undiscovered wine regions in Europe, North Macedonia offers wine lovers the perfect holiday right in the middle of the Balkans. Fans of dark, strong red wines will be especially pleased, as Vranec, unique to this region, is one of the main productions.

Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, serves as a great base for sightseeing and day trips and you don’t have to go far to sample some of the wine and see some vineyards on the rolling green hills.

Two Wineries of Note

While there are many wineries in and around Skopje, there are two that offer great tastings for travellers.

Stobi Winery, located in the Tikveš wine region, is located a little outside Skopje but it’s easily reachable by public bus or car. You can enjoy a tour of their vineyards, a wine tasting paired with a delicious meal and, if you would like, they also offer a tour of nearby Roman ruins… Wine has been produced in this area since the 4th century BC!

Another great wine adventure (our favourite) is from the brothers of Kartal Winery, located in Skopje. Their tasting is the perfect recipe for a memorable wine experience in North Macedonia. For anyone who wants to gain some insight on the entire process of making wine, as well as to enjoy very friendly company, Kartal Winery is what you’re looking for.

We enjoyed a personal tour of the winery and cellar, munched on a large charcuterie board and sampled five amazing wines, including Vranec… It was very affordable and one of our favorite memories of Skopje!

While we’ve listed just two wineries, there are a plethora to choose from. Having spent a lot of time in North Macedonia over the summer, we fell in love with this country and of course, its wine. We encourage you to explore this underrated European wine region and experience its beauty for yourself.

By: Darah and Garrett, Where Food Takes Us

 

Nashik, India: Wildflowers, Unnamed Waterfalls and Wine

sula-vineyards
Photo by Sula Vineyards

Just about three hours’ drive from Mumbai, Nashik is a historical place with a lot of prominence in India history and mythology. Every passing year, lakhs of tourists and pilgrimages visit this historic town to offer prayers at the Trimbakeshwar Temple and to re-visit prominent holy places from Ramayana, Mahabharata and other sacred books.

In recent years, more than ever, Nashik has been quoted as the wine capital of India. Wine culture only started in India in the 1980s and the first trademark wine, by Sula Wines, came out in March 2000. Other farmers joined grape cultivation – and 80% of India’s wine comes from Nashik region.

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Photo by Sula Vineyards

Exploring India’s Wine Capital

Driving to Nashik is an experience in itself, especially during monsoon. One can witness lush green hills, verdant meadows, wildflowers and so many named and unnamed waterfalls on either side of the road. The never-ending vineyards emit sweet smells into the air.

There are around 29 wineries in this region. Earlier Indians used to look to Europe for wine tasting experiences… Now they take the road to Nashik for grape stomping, wine tasting, music concerts, weddings and weekend getaways. My personal favourite ones include Sula Vineyards and Soma Vineyards.

By: Bhavya VatrapuFlamingo Diaries

 

Editor’s Note:

These wine regions may only be a few out of so many globally… but each offers a unique perspective and culture. And I feel each of the guest writers offer an evocative personal account. To me, this adds a real sense of character and charm to each region covered in this post.

Thank you to my fellow wine-loving travellers for sharing these beautiful wine regions with us! 🙂

As time goes on, I am hoping to add new, equally exciting wine regions to this post… If you would like to contribute as a travel writer or traveller, please let me know.

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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