7 of the best wine regions to visit in the world

By David Snelling

If you appreciate fine wine, it’s very likely that you agree with Ernest Hemingway, who said that wine “… offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing”.

If that is the case, indulging your senses with a trip to a wine region, will give you the opportunity to taste and compare new wines and talk to wine growers – with the scenic backdrop of rows of vines stretching away in the distance.

A wine tour experience is a relaxing adventure that you can tailor to suit your own needs.

You could stay in a nearby city and drive out to a vineyard or two during the day – either on an escorted tour or under your own steam.

Alternatively, you could aim to explore the whole region on a longer trip. Again, you could plan this yourself, or go on a guided tour hosted by a top sommelier.

To help you start thinking about your own wine trip, read about some of the best wine regions in which you can plan your own schedule.

1. The Bordeaux region, south-west France

If you think of wine producing countries, it’s likely you’ll think of France in the first instance.

According to World Population Review, wine from France makes up 29% of global wine exports, and French wine is still often the yardstick against which others are measured.

The Bordeaux region in south-west France is one of the most visited wine regions in the country. It’s centred around the port city of the same name on the Garonne River.

The concentration of wine production around the city means that it’s possible to visit many vineyards by bike and tram, rather than having to drive or join a coach tour.

Given the variety of different wines produced, you’re almost certain to find something you’ll like and fall in love with.

2. Champagne, eastern France

Aside from the obvious attraction of the eponymous sparkling wine it’s famous for, one big benefit of visiting the Champagne region is its proximity to the UK.

It’s only a 45-minute drive out of Paris, and an even quicker 30 minutes by train, so it’s easy to combine a visit with a trip to the nation’s capital.

Not only that, but it’s less than a three-hour drive from the channel coast, which makes it accessible for a two- or three-day visit.

As well as the many vineyards, the historic city of Rheims itself is well worth a visit.

3. The Mendoza region, Argentina

We’re taking you quite a long way further afield for the third region on the list. It’s certainly not suited for a long weekend trip!

Mendoza is Argentina’s most popular wine region to visit and is the fastest-growing wine producing region in the world.

It’s located in the shadow of Mount Aconcagua, and the vineyards are at one of the highest elevations on the continent.

Most guide books suggest you need two days to visit the three main wine regions in Mendoza, but why rush? There’s enough to do to last you at least a week.

4. The Margaret River, Western Australia

The Margaret River wine region is in the south-west corner of Australia, three hours’ drive from the Western Australia state capital of Perth.

It tends to have the most reliable climate of all the country’s wine regions – it avoided the worst of the recent floods, for example – which means that the grapes grown here are some of the best in Australia.

If you’re a wine lover, or just want to spend some time at some gorgeous vineyards, then a Margaret River wine tour is a must-do activity.

5. Sonoma Valley, California, USA

Think Californian wine regions and your first reaction is probably the Napa Valley. However, while much of the focus falls on that area, many wine aficionados feel that it’s the “other” valley in the Bay area that is deserving of more attention.

Sonoma is to the north-east of San Francisco and creates a perfect wine-tasting experience with vineyards laid out in the stunning landscape between the Pacific Coast to the Mayacamas Mountains.

You can use it as a stop-off if you’re doing a West Coast road trip or look to stay for longer and drive around both Sonoma and Napa, which adjoins it to the north.

6, Tuscany, central Italy

Tuscany has long been a popular destination for British tourists.

As well as stunning scenery, historic cities, and great beaches, it also houses some fine Italian appellations, including Chianti Classico and Carmignano.

Florence, with all its historic attractions, is just a short drive from Chianti country. Alternatively, you could base yourself on the coast and visit the range of vineyards and wineries there.

A third option would be to hire one of the many villas in the Tuscan hills and search out local vineyards and follow some of the different wine trails.

7. Cape Winelands, South Africa

The Cape Winelands region is a breathtaking destination celebrated for its extraordinary wines and scenic landscapes.

You can either travel out to one of the wine estates, such as Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, or drive around the region that stretches up the Atlantic coast over an extended period.

The region is framed by majestic mountains, with a superb range of different wines to taste and enjoy.

It’s home to Pinotage, the only new grape variety created outside Europe.

Get in touch

I haven’t included it in this list, but there is actually a wine region just on my doorstep in Kent! It produces some fine wines, and it’s well worth setting a day or two aside for a trip if you’re in London.

If you want to share some of your own wine travel stories, please contact us by email or, if you prefer to speak to us, you can reach us in the UK on +44 (0) 208 0044900 or in Hong Kong on +852 39039004.

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