BEST WINE REGIONS IN THE WORLD (AND HOW TO ENJOY THEM)

The best wine regions in the world are the ones that inspire you to taste what many call the elixer of the gods.

From Australia to Spain, South Africa to Bulgaria and beyond, read on to learn more about the best wine regions in the world.

Before we start, one important suggestion when traveling the regions is to rent a car to explore the area at your own leisurely pace.

Now, let’s start visiting the best wine regions of the world.

The remarkable wine regions of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

The wine regions of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa came into their own a long time ago. They are now among the great wine regions of the world.

“Wine is the only artwork you can drink.”

Luis Fernando Olaverri

With beautiful scenery, perfect weather, many local attractions and great wine, these areas are ideal for a long, leisurely stay. 

Wine-loving travel writers share their favorite regions in this exploration of great wine regions of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Yarra Valley – Melbourne, Australia

Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley are home to over 90 cellar doors.

Large producers like Chandon and smaller boutique wineries enjoy the unique cool micro-climate suitable for many varieties of grapes.

Chardonnay and pinot noir are the most popular however the region is also known for its sparkling varieties and cabernet sauvignon.

You can easily spend a weekend winery hopping in the Yarra Valley but many people day trip there on a hosted or self-drive tour from Melbourne.

Pick up one of three suggested wine routes at the local tourist office.

These itineraries take you past the main towns of the Yarra Valley – Healesville, Yarra Glen and Coldstream – and include visits to the best wineries for tasting.

Along the way discover local cheese and chocolate producers who are more than happy to discuss wine matching to their wares.

“In victory, you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

If you are still hungry there are countless eating options from casual wood-fired pizza and charcuterie at Giant Steps in Healesville to fine dining at Ezard at Levantine Hill.

You can also enjoy a hot air balloon ride over the valley as the sun rises an unforgettable experience in one of the great wine regions of Australia.

Whichever route you take in the Yarra Valley, make sure to stop by Punt Road wines – my favourite cellar door.

When planning a visit to Australia, check out this 2-week Australia itinerary.

Where to stay in Melbourne

Yarra Valley balloon ride in one of the great wine regions of Australia

Katy Clarke
Untold Morsels

Otago in New Zealand

The Central Otago wine region of New Zealand is situated in the central part of the south island surrounded by soaring white-capped mountains.

It is also the world’s southernmost wine region and best known for their pinot noir. This area just outside of Queenstown is known for its cool climate and only planted the first vines back in 1983.

Even though it is a young wine region, it is rapidly emerging as one of the bes wine regions in the world.

To visit you can fly into Queenstown and stay at any of the hotels there.

There are several one-day wine tours that will pick you up at your accommodation and take you to different wineries for a sampling.

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”

Louis Pasteur

Most wineries have a café, tastings, and pairings for you to try there plus you can go into the winery itself.

I find wine tours to be the best way to get around, meet other people who like wine, try the best wines, and learn about the wineries and region.

A bonus for visiting the region is that you can also take a day trip to the beautiful Milford Sound, or spend a night there.

New Zealand wine region

Nicole
Travelgal Nicole

Mornington Peninsula in Australia

Australia is now known worldwide for its wines and many have heard of the wonderful white wines of the Yarra Valley in Victoria.

Slightly lesser known is another fantastic region only a couple of hours from the Yarra Valley – the Mornington Peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula is about a 90-minute drive from Melbourne and home to Melbournian’s favourite seaside getaway towns – Sorrento, Portsea, Dromana and Rye.

The winery region is, of course, inland so when you visit you will never be far from a dip in the sea – a claim not many wine regions can make!

Mornington Peninsula is best known for its whites and pinot noir due to the colder climate.

Some of the best wineries to visit include the wonderfully named Ten Minutes by Tractor, Red Hill, Port Phillip Estate and Polperro.

The area has some fantastic Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs but I also recommend giving the slightly lesser known Pinot Gris a try as well.

The best way to get to the Mornington Peninsula and explore one of the great wine regions of Australia is to hire a car from Melbourne or do a day tour from Melbourne.

Mornington Penninsula, great wine regions of Australia

Amanda O’Brien
The Boutique Adventurer

Marlborough in New Zealand

I first tasted a Marlborough wine about 18 years ago. Since then I’ve had a desire to visit this great wine region near Blenheim, South Island, New Zealand.

It was the distinctive green apple tang of the Sauvignon Blanc of this region that stuck with me. This wine from this region is so distinctive I’d travelled to the other side of the world for it.

The Marlborough region of New Zealand is, indeed famous for their Sauvignon Blanc.

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”

Benjamin Franklin

You’ll see names such as Villa Maria, Brancott, Cloudy Bay, Peter Yealands, Wairau and more in your local supermarket and they’re all here.

Seventy seven percent of all New Zealand wine comes from this region, with the signature grape, Sauvignon Blanc.

However, you’ll also find Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay here too. And you should try them. I like to say that I came to New Zealand because of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and THEN discovered New Zealand wines.

You can take a wine tour in a van here, but the absolute best way is to tour Marlborough wineries by bike.

It’s easy to rent bicycles from the Blenheim or the lovely village of Renwick and take a self-guided tour of the wineries.

Start early, you’ll get slower as the day goes on!

Don’t forget to use this handy Christchurch to Queenstown South Island road trip as a planning tool.

Where to stay in Queenstown

Marlborough wine region New Zealand

Sarah Carter & Nigel Dockerty
A Social Nomad

GREAT WINE REGIONS OF SOUTH AFRICA

Constantia Valley in Cape Town

Constantia Valley is the wine region in Cape Town about 15 km from the Central Business District.

The valley can be found at the foot of Table Mountain National Park and has been making world-class wines since 1600’s.

It is also the home of wine states that pioneered the winemaking industry in South Africa and said to be the oldest wine producers in Southern Hemisphere.

Constantia houses at least 10 scenic wine estates with only 8 estates open to the public and included in the Constantia wine route for tourists.

These estates, despite the smaller size, are home to award-winning wines from international organizations. A testament to the wine quality in the region.

The Constantia Valley is also known during the 18th and 19th century as a producer of world-famed Constantia Wyn that is it said to be the wine choice of the royalties across Europe.

There are far too many options of wines in Constantia, from amazing red wines like Merlot, Shiraz, and Pinotage to great selections of white wines that include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier – just among others.

The question is not a matter of choices but just a matter of taste and well, alcohol tolerance.

“Wine is bottled poetry.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

And the best part? They are cheap and only 1/4 of the price in what you can find in other world famous wine regions.

The wine estates in Constantia do not only pride itself as makers of high-quality wines but it also houses an industry that is full of history and cultural significance.

You can see these from the architecture and the long history that surpasses generations.

To reach Constantia Wine Valley, you can take the red tourist bus that goes to Constantia wine region which should cost around AD$25.

This bus stops at the wine estates part of the tourist wine route in Constantia.

You can also take an Uber. It is not recommended to bring your own car for a reason that you might enjoy the wine too much.

Constantia wine region, Capetown, South Africa

Christine Rogador
The Travelling Pinoys

Stellenbosch in South Africa

Stellenbosch is a university town in South Africa, 50km from Cape Town. It is famous for its beautiful scenery, Dutch-style colonial buildings and is rapidly becoming one of the best wine regions in the world.

The first official settlement here was established in 1679 the area considered to have great agricultural potential.

Soon after that surrounding hills were planted with crops and grapes. Long after in 1972 Stellenbosch became the first place in South Africa which established a wine route, nowadays it coordinates more than 150 wineries.

The area is famous for its Pinotage red wine grape, this grape varietal was bred in the town, by crossing two other cultivars by a professor at the local university.

Pinotage wines are known for smokey and earthy flavors with notes of banana and tropical fruits. The wines are also produced in a style with heavy chocolaty and coffee character.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine grape planted in Stellenbosch followed by Shiraz and Merlot.

The area also produces some of the best white wine in South Africa. Chardonnay is the most popular variety and Chenin Blanc also being produced.

There are two ways of exploring Stellenbosch wineries; driving with your own car or taking a wine tour. The first option gives you more flexibility though you can’t swallow too many sips.

The second option is more fixed but allows you to relax and taste as much as you wish.

Most wine estates’ tasting rooms are opened to the public without prior arrangement.

The main advice for wine tasting in the area – don’t rush and try to visit as many places as possible, rather choose 5 estates and enjoy the tasting.

Where to stay in Cape Town

Campbell & Alya
Stingy Nomads

“Wine is sunlight held together by water.” 

Galileo Galilei

Hunter Valley, Australia

Not only is this one of the best wine regions in the world, it is Australia’s oldest wine producing region.

The Hunter Valley is one of the best places to go to sample some wine and enjoy the incredible scenery of the area.

There are over 180 wineries to visit, so while you can drive from Sydney in about 3 hours, an overnight stay is recommended.

If you’re short on time, there are plenty of day tours organised from Sydney, which will set you back around AUS$ 125 per person, including lunch.

The ‘Hunter Valley Semillon’ is considered to be the iconic wine of this region, although you can find a wide variety of grapes here, such as Chardonnay, Shiraz, Verdelho and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Besides the wines, there is also some fantastic local beer, cheese, chocolate and gourmet food to enjoy here.

Some of your stops could include ‘Drayton’s Family Wines’, one of the Hunter Valley’s pioneering winemaking families, ‘McGuigan Wines’, an award-winning winemaking company or ‘Tempus Two Cellar Door’, which is a more contemporary winery founded in 1997 by the McGuigan family.

Nienke Krook blogs at The Travel Tester

The glorious wine regions of Europe

European wine regions are magical places with stunning scenery, charming villages, and warm sunshine, the stuff of fairy tales.  Here is a collection of European wine regions, curated by wine lovers, that lives up to the hype.

Alto Douro in Portugal

Few wine regions are special enough to earn UNESCO World Heritage status and the Alto Douro in northern Portugal is one of them and one of the best wine regions in the world, not just in Europe.

The world’s first demarcated wine region covers a vast, mountainous area of schist soil and has a microclimate that makes for full-bodied DOC Douro table wines. This also applies to the famous fortified port wine as well as sparkling wines and muscatel.

“Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.”

Ernest Hemingway

The hilly terrain means grapes grow on terraced plots that create a man-made landscape of patchwork vineyards.

Thanks to this unique, unforgiving and utterly picturesque terrain, most of the work involved in the grape production is still done by hand after 2,000 years.

You can see the highlights of the Douro Valley on a day trip from Porto by train or road or a multi-day river cruise.

If you have time, it’s worth staying overnight on a working wine estate to get a deeper appreciation of this unique landscape and wine-producing culture.

Where to stay in Porto

Beyond the scenery and wines, you can explore traditional villages, 12th-century monasteries and historical towns like Lamego.

While in the area, cross over the border into Spain and experience another of the best wine regions in the world, the Rias Baixas wine region.

Douro River Valley, one of the best European wine regions

Julie Fox at Julie Dawn Fox

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy. Benjamin Franklin Click To Tweet

Jerez de la Frontera in Spain

Few will doubt that the Jerez region is one of the best wine regions in the world.

The city of Jerez de la Frontera in Southern Spain is known for their horses, flamenco dancing and most importantly: the creation and export of sherry.

Located in the Andalusia region, this industrial city that smells of citrus is an interesting combination of both Iberian and Moorish culture.

Enjoy local culinary delights such as gazpacho and finish your meal with a nice dry fino.

Be sure to tour one of the sherry houses in the city, where you can experience the unique process of “fractional blending,” (better known as the solera) and taste more than just fortified wine.

There are some direct flights into Jerez’s airport, but the most common way is to fly into Seville and take the train or bus.

Jerez de la Frontera, one of the best European wine regions

Vy Tran at 7 Crossroads

Provence in France

Provence is a stunning region in the south of France. It is best known for its long stretches of coastline, local produce, quaint towns and villages, and being one of the great wine regions of the worod.

It is also famous for its Provençal wine, which has been produced in this, one of the best wine regions in the world, for well over two and a half thousand years.

The area has long since developed a reputation as one of the best European wine regions.

While there, you can wander the mountain slopes where the grapes are grown and taste wine just meters from where it was produced.

“God made only water, but man made wine.” 

Victor Hugo

The real specialty of the region is Rosé, but lesser known is that plenty of red wines that are also produced here.

Late summer/ early autumn is the best time to visit; though as this is Southern France any trip at any time of the year is guaranteed to be special!

Where to stay in Aix-en-Provence

Provence is one of the best European wine regions

Sophie at Solo Sophie

Wine is bottled poetry. Robert Louis Stevenson Click To Tweet

South Tyrol in Italy

With 5,400 hectares of vineyards, South Tyrol in Northern Italy is a small but diverse wine region where wine cultivation dates back over 3,000 years.

Here, in the middle of the mountainous landscapes of the Dolomites, wines grow at altitudes between 200 m and 1,000 m above sea level – thanks to these conditions, the area produces over 20 grape varieties.

In addition to international varieties, South Tyrol also produces internationally known indigenous wines like the Gewurztraminer or the Vernatsch.

A staggering 98% of the wines produced in this region are quality wines.

The picturesque vineyards that are nested on the lower hills of the Dolomites along the South Tyrolean Wine Route aren’t just a sight for wine lovers.

Travelers seeking an escape from the hassles of their daily lives are sure to find some peace and quiet in the midst of the majestic Alps.

And there is nothing more relaxing than a good glass of South Tyrolean wine on a warm summer afternoon.

South Tyrol is one of the best European wine regions

Mike at 197 Travel Stamps

Kakheti in Georgia

The country of Georgia has one of, if not the oldest, histories of producing wine in the world.

There have been findings that wine has been produced in the area for at least 8,000 years!

Suffice to say in that time, they’ve figured out how to make amazing wine and grown into what will surely become one of the best European wine regions.

Within Georgia, the most famous wine producing region is Kakheti. The soil and climate in this region are ideal for winemaking and many varieties are produced.

“Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect, it will sicken and die.”

Julia Child

When I visited I was particularly fond of the red wine Saperavi that is being produced in Kakheti.

If you’re interested in wine there’s no better place to try them than where winemaking was born!

Where to stay in Tibilisi

Kakheti is one of the best European wine regions

Nathan Aguilera at Foodie Flashpacker

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou. Omar Khayyam Click To Tweet

Chianti Region in Tuscany

We visited Italy in June 2017 and by far it was the best trip we had last year. One of the most awesome experiences we had was visiting the Chianti region in Tuscany.

We had opted for a full day tour from Florence of Siena, San Gimignano, and Chianti. Our tour guide Rebecca was a knowledgeable lady and kept us engaged throughout.

The most exciting part of our Tuscany visit was tasting 4 different types of Chianti wine; each one with its own flavor and taste followed by a scrumptious full course meal in the Chianti region.

The 4 major types of Chianti wine are Chianti, Chianti Superiore, Chianti Classico, and Chianti Classico Riserva.

Wandering in the bylanes of Siena and having gelatos to our heart’s content at the world famous Gelateria Dondoli in San Gimignano was another unforgettable experience to cherish forever!

Chianti is by far the most beautiful wine region in Tuscany. Breathtaking landscapes and good wine make Chianti a must visit while in Tuscany.

It is greatly visited and appreciated by tourists worldwide.

“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.”

Benjamin Franklin

Chianti Wine is one of the most famous wine in the whole world due to its age-old tradition of production and quality of wines.

It is recommended to do a vineyard tour when visiting Chianti.

Accommodations in Florence

The vast expanse of greenery mingled with loads of wine information will leave you with lovely memories to last a lifetime!

READ NEXT: A SOUTHERN ITALY ROAD TRIP

Chianti is one of the best European wine regions

Aditi Kapoor at Travelogue Connect

Lombardia in Italy

Try and tell an Italian that any other country produces better wine than Italy and you’ll most likely be met with a tirade of angry protest and hand gestures.

Lombardia (Lombardy) is a region in the north of Italy that’s home to a variety of incredibly picturesque landscapes, postcard-perfect towns and some of the most mouthwatering food and wine in the world.

Lombardia has a long history of winemaking which dates back to the Greeks who settled along the Po River.

“Let’s raise a glass and make pour decisions together.”

Anonymous

Lombardia produces various kinds of wine and is most well known for the sparkling wines from the Franciacorta zone along the shores of tranquil Lake Iseo.

The region around Lake Garda is well known for the Chiaretto style rosé wine it produces, as well as acclaimed reds and whites.

Although incredible wines are produced all over Italy, there’s something special about the atmosphere in Lombardia.

Whether it be the soaring mountain peaks of the Alps or the peaceful lakesides of Garda and Iseo, there’s always a beautiful place to sit and sip on a glass of delicious and locally produced wine.

Lombardia is one of the best European wine regions

Sara Monty at Just a Pack

I always love being in the company of women. It's all about good conversation and great wine. Naomi Watts Click To Tweet

Melnik in Bulgaria

Not a lot of people know this but Bulgaria used to be one of the world’s largest wine producer. It is now going through a revival.

More and more wineries are springing up all over the country. It may not be one of the best wine regions in the world, but it is certainly on its way.

One of the best ways to experience this is to visit Melnik, one of Bulgaria’s wine producing regions. It’s a convenient day trip destination from Sofia.

Going wine tasting in Melnik is a very laid back affair.

It seems people were surprised to see us. The wine itself? It was delicious, very cheap, and very unique.

Make sure to try a wine made from “Broad Leave Melnik” grapes, this grape only grows in this part of Bulgaria.

They also make “orange” wine, which is wine made with white grapes that are crushed with its skin on.

How to visit: Best with a rental car from Sofia.

Melnik is one of the best European wine regions

Jill at Jack and Jill Travel The World

Wachau in Austria

In recognition of its architectural and agricultural history, the Wachau region of Austria was added to the UNESCO list of world heritage sites in 2000.

The valley is dotted with picturesque villages, medieval towns, fairytale castles and a magnificent abbey.

It’s also famous for the production of apricots and grapes, both of which are used to produce specialty wines and liqueurs.

The Wachau is the source of Austria’s most prized dry Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners, from grapes grown on the steep stony slopes beside the Danube.

By the 15th century, there were 50 wine producing abbeys in the Wachau.

The monks built special paths along the riverbank to transport the wine – paths that today are part of the Donauradweg – the Danube Bike Path.

I might be biased, but this 30-km section of the Danube between Krems and Melk is best savored from the saddle of a bicycle.

Where to stay in Krems

Wachau is one of the best European wine regions

Anne Betts at Packing Light Travel

For more information on touring the Wachau, and other sections of the Danube by bicycle, see Cycling the Danube.

Rioja Region in Spain

Spanish Wine has become popular globally, but the most famous wines are from the Rioja Region in the northeast part of the country.

That area is now firmly established as one of the best European wine regions, and therefore, one of the best wine regions in the world.

Rioja is composed of three areas: Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, and Rioja Alavesa.

The wines are normally a blend of various grape varieties and while their reds (tinto) are most popular, you can also find white (blanco) or rosé (rosado) wines from Rioja.

Among the reds, the best-known and most widely used grape is Tempranillo.

Other grapes from Rioja include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo.

The easiest way to visit Rioja is a tour from Bilbao. We choose this route so that we didn’t have to worry about any details or driving.

“Raising a glass to the beauty and complexity of wine.”

Anonymous

You could also base yourself in Haro, the largest city in Rioja, and visit wineries there on your own.

Many of the wineries are within walking distance of each other.

While you will have to make appointments in advance, it’s not too hard to do over email. If you want to explore more of the area, I would recommend hiring a driver or tour guide.

We found the wineries to be very generous with their pours even for tastings.

RED NEXT: BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN NORTHERN SPAIN: ASTURIAS AND GALICIA

Accommodations in Logrono

Rioja is one of the best European wine regions

Anisa at Two Traveling Texans

READ NEXT: BEST ROAD TRIP IN NORTHERN SPAIN

Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine. Joan Collins Click To Tweet

Piedmont in Italy

Anyone visiting Italy must visit the Piedmont wine region, one of the top European wine regions.

Just a little outside of Turin, Italy, you’ll find the Piedmont wine region, which is famous for Barolo and Barbaresco.

The Piedmont wine region produces the most DOCG wines out of ANY region in Italy, so you’re sure to find local specialties that aren’t exported too.

The most commonly grown grape in the region is the Barbera grape although the Nebbiolo grape is commonly grown as well.

The most famous towns for wine tourism in Piedmont are Asti and Alba, which are easy day trips from Turin with public transit.

In the towns, you can sample the wine at wine bars although it’s also possible to take a tour of the surrounding vineyards with a car.

Barolo is one of the most expensive Italian wines, so wine lovers should consider stocking up while in the region as it’s possible to buy Barolo for a steal!

Piedmont is one of the best European wine regions

Karen at Wanderlusting K

Explore other great wine regions of Europe and The Americas.

Fancy a weekend in one of the great wine regions of Australia, New Zealand or South Africa?  Which would you prefer?

The most outstanding wine regions of the Americas sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve.  Here are eleven diverse and interesting regions. 

Some are well known and live up to their hype like Napa Valley. 

Others have been thriving just below the radar but rapidly gaining reputations as outstanding wine regions. Join travel bloggers who love wine as they explore and share some of their favorite regions.

Outstanding wines of the Americas

Nova Scotia, Canada

Could this be one of the future best wine regions in the world?

The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada is one of the coolest climates to grow grapes for wine, and as such produces a distinctive flavor.

An hour away from the capital city of Halifax, it’s a wonderful place to spend a few days, eating, drinking and enjoying the ocean views.

I would stay in the small town of Wolfville, as it is central to most of the wineries and you can even take a double-decker bus to do a wine tour!

Nova Scotia Winery owners developed a signature wine appellation in 2012, a fresh, crisp, still white wine called Tidal Bay.

It is a blend of 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes, usually L’Acadie Blanc, Vidal, and Seyval, with smaller amounts of Ortega, New York Muscat, and Riesling.

It pairs perfectly with the seafood that is caught right off our shores.

The name comes from the influence the sea has over the wineries.

Nova Scotia wine is up and coming in the world and one of the best wine regions of the Americas.

In August 2017, Chef Gordon Ramsay started serving Benjamin Bridge’s Brut Reserve 2008 at his three-star Michelin restaurant in London.

A bunch of grapes.
mature grapes on the vine

Jenn Neilson at Will Save for Travel

*****

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” ― W.C. Fields Click To Tweet

Santiago, Chile

Chile is globally known for its exceptional wine, and most of that comes from its amazing Casablanca region of Santiago, one of the top wine regions of the Americas.

The Casablanca region is known for its white wine and its stunning wineries and views. Casablanca has multiple wineries in the area that are easily accessible from the center of Santiago!

It is about an hour drive from the middle of the city, and a stunning drive at that.

Two wineries that I thought were exceptional to visit are Casas Del Bosque and Matetic Vineyards. The tours and tastings here were both exceptional.

I highly recommend lunch at Casas Del Bosque, you can’t beat their outdoor lunch area, it is absolutely stunning. At Matetic Vineyards, take a while to stare at the views.

The winery is in the middle of hills and as far as you can see are the vineyards on the rolling hills.

If you are in Santiago, Chile do not miss out on the amazing Casablanca wine region and their amazing white wines.

A vineyard
Vineyards in Santiago, Chile, one of the top wine regions of the Americas

Best accommodations in Santiago

Rachel Shulman at From East to West With RMS

*****

British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is one of the world’s top emerging wine regions.

It is certainly one of the best wine regions of the Americas, with 172 licensed wineries that consistently place well among the world’s best at international wine competitions.

“In the vineyard, nature’s poetry unfolds.”

Anonymous

The Okanagan Valley, a four-hour drive from Vancouver, stretches over 200 kilometers (125 miles) North and South with deep clear lakes, forests and gorgeous mountain ranges.

The valley begins in Vernon and goes all the way south down to Osoyoos near the American border.

The small city of Kelowna is the center of the wine industry, with hundreds of wine-themed events held annually throughout the valley.

You can visit the wineries yourself or by taking a bus, a cycling or even a kayak winery tour in the summer, with many wineries boasting award-winning fresh farm and vineyard to table meals.

Most vines in the Valley are less than 30 years old, with most wineries still run by local families.

Despite the relative newness of the vines, wines have matured far beyond the original whites to well-regarded reds like Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Cabernet Franc as well as award-winning ice wines the region is famous for.

Wineries in the valley range from the stunning architecture of Kelowna’s Mission Hill Family Estate, to the quirky Summerhill Pyramid winery (where wine is aged in a four-story replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza) to small, family-owned wineries, each with its own unique style.

An arched walkway leading to a vineyard
a beautiful view in British Columbia

Micki and Charles Kosman at The Barefoot Nomad

*****

“Beer is made by men, wine by God.” ― Martin Luther Click To Tweet

Indiana, United States

Surprise! Southern Indiana is one of the lesser-known wine regions but it is working diligently behind the scenes to become one of the best wine regions in the world.

The land is characterized by the limestone hills and is ideal for growing grapes.

It has allowed a number of wineries to flourish including Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana, the largest winery east of the Mississippi River.

Indiana’s signature wine grape is Traminette. Similar to a Gewurztraminer, this white wine is semi-sweet and quite floral with hints of rose and jasmine and sometimes spicy notes of nutmeg and black pepper.

I’d recommend traveling the Indiana Uplands Trail starting in Bloomington, Indiana to check off 4 of the nine wineries and then head south to New Albany, Indiana to finish off the list. 

Southern Indiana might not be so well know yet, but it is on its way to becoming one of the best wine regions of the Americas.

A vineyard in Indiana, one of the best wine regions in the Americas
a vineyard

Emily Hines at Em’s on the Road

*****

Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico

Valle de Guadalupe is Mexico’s finest wine region, located just about 3 hours south of San Diego and just east of Ensenada, one of Baja California’s top cruise ports.

This makes it a surprisingly easy excursion for Americans to visit, explore and enjoy.

Wine tastings are available all year round but harvest festivals in August are especially popular.

While the wines here are world-class, it is still a bit of a hidden secret where you’ll find unpaved roads and farm animals wandering about.

However, due to its growing popularity, a number of hotels and restaurants are beginning to open here as the region develops economically.

“The taste of history, bottled and preserved.”

Anonymous

This includes Chef Javier Pascencia’s 200-acre Finca Altozano eco-luxury resort that includes 15 villas and a 40-room hotel that are all part of a working winery.

one of the top wine regions of the americas
Valle de Guadalupe

James Hills at ManTripping

*****

“I pray you, do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine.” ― William Shakespeare, As You Like It Click To Tweet

Mendoza, Argentina

Hands down, Mendoza is one of the best wine regions in the world.

Many visitors to Mendoza, Argentina are wine lovers that go with the express purpose of visiting wineries, experiencing tastings and Mendoza’s wine culture in general.

The wine industry in Argentina is over 500 years old. Careful cultivation has landed Mendoza the title of the 5th largest wine producer and the accompanying award, the 8th Wine City of the World in 2005. Its reputation continues to grow.

The city’s flagship wine is Malbec, a spunky grape originally imported from France where its second-rate reputation earned the nickname “poor taste.”

The vines thrived in the Mendoza environment which just happened to be ideal for this particular grape. The vines flourished into what is today one of the most popular wines in the world.

The wineries offer many options for visiting.

Among the most popular is to rent a car but there are so many wineries you might want to make the most of your visit with a guide.

“Wine, an invitation to explore the uncharted territories of the palate.”

Anonymous

Bike tours around the wineries have grown in popularity as have horseback-rinding tours.

Any winery tour you take will involve sampling. In that case, you may opt for the hop-on-hop-off winery tour.

That way if you get a little tipsy from the samplings, you’ll be ok.

Coolest accommodations in Mendoza, Argentina

wine in a cellar of Mendoza, Argentina, one of the best wine regions of the Americas one of the best wine regions of the Americas
Wine in a wine cellar

Talek Nantes at Travels with Talek

Learn more about the exciting city of Mendoza, Argentina here.

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Northern California, United States

Napa Valley is probably the most well-known wine region in the United States. It is located about an hour north of San Francisco and easily accessible to Northern California visitors.

The wine has been produced here since the nineteenth century.

After California wines won every category of the Judgment of Paris wine competition in 1976, the region gained international notoriety.

Now, 450 wineries in Napa specialize in the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Zinfandel, and others.

Napa wineries are each unique but typically open from about 10 am to 5 pm daily.

Some offer simple tastings with some free snacks, others offer tours of their facilities and vineyards, aerial tram rides and even grape stomping.

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”

W. C. Fields

The area is also known for gourmet cuisine available at local restaurants. We were lucky to visit during fall harvest at the peak of grape production.

Napa’s picturesque valley and small towns really offer something for everyone – even our two and four-year-old boys had a lovely time.

harvesting grapes
Harvesting grapes in northern California

Catherine D’Cruz at We Go With Kids

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A Day of Wine Tasting at Livermore Valley Wineries, United States

Less than an hour east of San Francisco and about an hour southeast of world-famous Napa is the lesser known Livermore Valley.

Here in gravel soil with a unique east-west orientation that differs from most wine growing regions, Robert Livermore planted the first commercial vines back in the 1840s.

A few years later, the Wente and Concannon wineries were the first in California to bottle Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Today, 80% of California’s Chardonnay vines can trace their heritage back to the Livermore Valley. Fun Fact: The Wente Winery was the first winery established in the Livermore Valley back in 1883.

Now it is the oldest family-owned, continuously-operated winery in the United States.

In addition to Wente and Concannon, these wineries stand out among the 45-some amazing wine producers in the Livermore Valley:


● Nottingham Cellars
● Wood Family Vineyards
● Murrieta’s Well
● Mitchell Katz

The Livermore Valley is considered part of California’s Central Coast which includes the Paso Robles and Santa Barbara wine regions.

harvesting at one of the great wine regions of the Americas
Harvesting wine at Paso Robles, one of the top wine regions of the Americas

Sage Scott at Everyday Wanderer

Wine Harvest photo credit, Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association

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Sonoma Valley Wine, United States

Located in Northern California, lies the Sonoma Valley Wine Region.

The area is protected from the ocean climate by the Sonoma Mountains. Not as popular as the nearby Napa Valley but just as beautiful.

In the Sonoma region, there is a great diversity of land which in turn helps create a large diversity of wine. Each sub-AVA specializes in one or more of these wines: Zinfandel, Cabernets, Chardonnays, Merlots, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Pinot Noir and/or Sauvignon Blanc.

All are produced in Sonoma. So, a wine for all tastes is here in Sonoma Valley.

There is something a lot of people do not know; the Sonoma wine region produces almost twice the amount of wine than Napa Valley. In fact, Sonoma County is the largest wine producing area in Northern California.

That’s a lot of wine.

Traveling to Sonoma you will find it is a quiet and relaxing atmosphere. The wineries consist of large and small ones.

You can visit several of them by just stopping in, however, some of the more private ones you will need an appointment.

Plenty of Inns and Airbnb homes surround the area for you to have a lovely wine vacation. You can discover great shopping and delicious restaurants throughout the region.

three empty wine bottles
Sonoma Valley

Where to stay in the Sonoma Valley

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Oregon, United States

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is home to nearly 500 wineries. The Willamette Valley is known as one of the top producing Pinot Noir areas in the world!

With a mild climate year-round, the growing conditions for the wine mimic France’s Burgundy region.

Surrounded by the Cascade Range and the Coast Range, the Willamette Valley is a short 45-minute drive from Portland.

As you drive along highway 99W, not only is the Willamette Valley known for its delicious wine, but also for the sweeping views. It’s impossible to have a bad wine or a bad view while exploring the Willamette Valley.

Oregon, one of the great wine regions of the Americas
Oregon vineyards

“One not only drinks wine, one smells it, observes it, tastes it, sips it, and—one talks about it.” 

Edward VII

Tarah & Tip at Fit Two Travel

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“What wine goes with Captain Crunch?” ― George Carlin Click To Tweet

Washington State, United States

Walla Walla wine region, in the southeastern corner of Washington State and one of the top wine regions of the Americas, sits in the fertile Columbia Valley and provides excellent agricultural and viticultural conditions.

The area is somewhat remote and appears like an oasis in the surrounding desert-like terrain.

The secluded location, beautiful scenery, an abundance of exceptional wineries and the small town friendliness of Walla Walla create a Utopian experience for anyone interested in a relaxing and tasty getaway.

The area boasts more than 120 wineries and a wide range of varietals including the local specialties of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The charming town of Walla Walla has picturesque tree-lined streets full of tasting rooms, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries providing a perfect setting to return to after exploring the surrounding vineyards.

The best way to get to Walla Walla is by car as you will then be free to visit the many wineries in the region.

However, if you prefer to fly in there are direct flights from Seattle and a number of wine tour companies to take you around once you’re there.

up and comming one of the top wine regions of the americas
Washington State

Sarah & Nathan at Discover the PNW

Paso Robles, United States

California has a growing number of wine regions. Only 15% of the wine in California comes from the well known Napa and Sonoma area.

One of the newer wine regions is in the central coast around Paso Robles.

Visiting Paso Robles today is probably what it was like to visit Napa 20 years ago.

Tasting fees are less, crowds are smaller but there are not yet as many high-end restaurants. They are, however, growing some great wine.

The area is best known for Pinot Noir which grows well in the warm climate. Paso Robles itself still has a small town feel centered around a small central park with a historic Carnegie Library.

It is also the home for the Mid-State Fair.

You can now find vineyards all along the hills of the Salinas River north to Salinas as well.

A stop in Paso Robles is a great addition to a Central Coast road trip which can include nearby San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay as well.

Where to stay in Paso Robles

Paso Robles one of the great wine regions of the Americas

Which of these best wine regions in the world is YOUR favorite?

Want to learn more about the best wine regions in the world? Check out these reference books.

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Talek Nantes

This blog was created to inspire your travels and to explore experiences in fascinating locations. What you will find are thoughts on how to immerse yourself in local culture, food, history and people. On your way to these adventures I hope to provide you with useful information to help you get there. Come see the world with me!

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases. Posts may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of them, we may receive a commission at no cost to you.



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