Coral is right about Virginia's scenery and relaxed vibe. The Old World-style wines are now grabbing headlines on a regular basis, as well. While the Viognier may be the best in U.S. at this point, many think the Bordeaux-style blends are the state's future. We love that Virginia gives you everything, from rowdy ocean to the Chesapeake Bay, blue mountains to pre-Revolutionary War towns. And blue crabs, Rappahannock oysters, and ham biscuits. Especially ham biscuits. With a nice glass of Viognier. Yeah, man.
Photograph by Nifro Travel Images/Alamy
We recently asked our Nat Geo Travel Facebook fans to share their favorite places to enjoy a taste of vino around the globe. Their recommendations, from California to South Africa, are sure to inspire a bit of wanderlust.
So grab a glass of your favorite variety and join us on a tour of some of the world’s most beautiful wine regions:
Natasha F. kicks things off in South Australia’s Barossa Valley, where “the grapes produce the most rich and vibrant flavors.” Her personal favorite is the Shiraz, and Mirek R. agrees.
Next, we head west for a visit to the Margaret River region of Western Australia for what Clare C. describes as exceptional wines and stunning views. If you make the trip, Clare insists you stop at Cullen Winery for a taste of their organic and biodynamic wines.
To round out Australia, Melissa N. votes North East Victoria for their Italian varietals. Fresh produce, friendly winemakers, and an abundance of local events make this wine region the perfect weekend getaway.
In Europe, Florian S. takes us to the Mirditë District of Albania, where you can enjoy the flavor of the traditional kallmet grape. The grape, which is popular in Hungary and Bulgaria, gives the wine “extraordinary taste and color,” he says. While you’re there, make a stop at Vera e Arberit to try their mature 2004 wines.
Virginia wine country makes the list thanks to Coral K. She suggests a fall visit to Bluemont Vineyard, where you can go pumpkin picking across the street. In general, Coral loves Virginia wine country because of its accessibility to Washington, D.C., family-friendly vibe, and beautiful scenery—you can sip wine beneath the changing leaves of the Blue Ridge Mountains. What more could you ask for?
Solange S. thinks Alto Douro in Portugal is serving up the best wine around. “Besides the quality of the wine, the scenery is stunning,” she says. From taking in the mountain views to enjoying a glass of good port, you won’t go wrong with a visit to this region.
While you’re in Portugal, Chantal P. suggests you schedule a visit to the Alentejano region for wines that taste of cherries, plums, and blueberries. The beautiful country, friendly people, and delicious local cuisine pair nicely with their exceptional red wine.
Another destination that makes the list for its fruity wines is Central Otago, New Zealand. “The pinot noirs have concentrated fruit flavors and can compete with wines from Burgundy any day,” says Jennifer C. If that’s not enough of a reason to visit, the region is home to “some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet,” she says.
Speaking of Burgundy, France, we’d be amiss to leave it off our list of world-class wine regions, and Tom G. agrees. The “hidden valleys” of Burgundy offer up his favorite wines, including Clos des Mouches.
Farther east on the continent, Agnes K. enjoys wine from Tokaj, Hungary, noting that all varieties found there are worth a try. If sweet dessert wines are your specialty, though, you won’t want to miss a taste of Mavrodaphne of Patras, her personal favorite among Hungarian wines.
Jennie P. takes us to the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia for a great variety of wines. Make sure you visit Elephant Island Orchard Wines if you’re in the area, as this winery ranks high on Jennie’s list.
“Stunning scenery, incredible history, and fantastic culture” are just a few of the reasons Chris G. loves the Cape Province region of South Africa for a winery visit. Sharon V. agrees and suggests a visit to the Franschhoek Wine Valley for its world-class restaurants. While you’re there, you’ll want to try the Pinotage grape, as it’s South Africa’s signature variety.
California’s Napa Valley ranked high among our followers (no surprise there), and Arturo M. loves it for its proximity to San Francisco. The delicious restaurants and excellent hotels available after a day of wine tasting also add to the allure.
Another popular selection was the Colchagua Valley of Chile, where Emma S. says the climate helps to produce “stunning color and flavor” in all of the red wines. Giselle R. suggests a glass of Carménère while enjoying the beautiful landscape.
“In every region of Italy, we have fantastic wines,” says Chiara V. She recommends heading to Collio near the Slovenian border for a taste of fine white wines, while Tuscany is her pick if you’re in the mood for a red.
Last but certainly not least, we round out our list of world-class wine regions with a visit to Mendoza, Argentina. Ana C., Hector R., and Jose C. all agree that there’s nothing quite like a Malbec from Mendoza. Looking for a good one to try? Michelle R. suggests Casa Bianchi’s 2012 variety—it’s “the best dry red wine in the world,” she says.
What’s the best wine country you’ve ever been to and why? Tell us in the comments section.
Estoy de acuerdo con usted en que faltó mencionar Valle de Guadalupe y Valle de San Vicente en Ensenada. Baja California es el principal productor de vinos del país y poco a poco se ha ido posicionando como una región prolífica y de excelente calidad en los productos de la vid, además de su excelente gastronomía. Sus Fiestas de la Vendimia son cada vez más concurridas y reconocidas por visitantes de Estados Unidos, América del sur y Europa, sin dejar de mencionar a visitantes del resto de nuestro México.
You never considered South Africa with a wine heritage over 300 years > You must be biased or ignorant . .
@Ian Forsyth South Africa made the list thanks to a suggestion by Chris G. Do you have any other suggestions for regions to visit?
You never even considered South Africa with a wine growing heritage of circa 300 years - you are obviously biased or ignorant . .
No other wine in the whole world like the one produced in Jerez ( Sherry ), Spain. How can you forget about that!! No idea, buddies.
I am surprised to see that none Spanish wines is mentioned. I dare say that this article lacks of information.
@Francisco Poveda Ginzo These were suggestions from our Facebook fans. Do you have any Spanish wines you'd recommend for our next roundup?
@Francisco Poveda Ginzo It really does..
Well we just won the Platinum prize in the World Beverage Competition in Geneva Switzerland this year, and the Bronze, but The Vibrant Vine in Kelowna BC is a little off the map!
In Italy, I recommend the wine region called Oltrepò Pavese, in Lombardy, 3rd biggest region worldwide for the production of Pinot Noir and biggest wine region in Lombardy. It is a very beautiful region, not yet well known abroad.
@Diane Green, thanks for the suggestions! These were compiled from our Facebook fans, so we are happy to get other suggestions here in the comment section. Thanks again!
Slovenia! Near Italian border, if you´re into strong, red wine and near Hungarian border, if you like it white, the region is called Jeruzalem (not Israel capital, our region and the wine have the same name :) )
2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Show us your best photos of nature, cities, and people from your travels around the world.