Wine Tasting Around the World: Travelers Share Their Favorite Spots
Did you know that more than 24 billion liters of wine are consumed around the world each year? That’s a tall order to fill, which is why nearly 19 million acres – 7.6 milion hectares – of our planet consist of vineyards. If math’s not your thing, let me break it down for you: that’s a lot of opportunities to taste wine as you travel the globe.
Travelers previously shared their favorite wine tasting destinations across California and Australia, and you’ll find the top picks for Europe, New Zealand, the U.S., and Canada in upcoming posts. But how about the rest of the world? From popular wine regions in Argentina to surprising vineyard locations like Bali, here are a few travelers’ favorite places around the world to taste wine.
Speak of Argentina’s wines, and most will recall the verdant green vineyards of Mendoza and the delights of a glass of Malbec. Many will not even think to visit Cafayate, the country’s other great wine region.
The birthplace of Torrontes and the gateway to the Quebrada de las Conches, this is a fantastic spot to discover a little nature alongside your chilled glass of vino. For a short visit, take in one of several bodegas located within walking distance of the town centre, or if you have more time hire a bicycle and venture off along dusty roads to explore the thousands of acres of vineyards and a number of the wonderful wineries that call Cafayate home.
Oh, and don’t forget to sample the wine ice cream – with perhaps a little more alcohol than cream, they’re the perfect way to celebrate the end of a wonderful day!
– Andrew and Emily, Along Dusty Roads
Also check out this three-day Cafayate itinerary for more tips.
Not only does Argentina hves the perfect soil, altitude, and geographic location to produce wine, but, culturally, the Argentines also know their wine. Wine tasting in Mendoza was one of the highlights of my trip to South America.
This activity was different, as it was not only a sit-down activity, but the tour organiser had us take a quiz, and, based on our answers, they made a wine tasting itinerary. If you like the outdoors, then a biking tour around the vineyard is for you. If your travel style is an authentic food quest, then a wine pairing activity with the best restaurants in Mendoza fits you.
Aside from the activities, Mendoza has a spectacular Andean view that is also a good pair for the wine. Argentina (and its neighbour Chile) is blessed with the great outdoors enveloped by the Andes Mountains.
– Trisha Velarmino, P.S. I’m On My Way
If you were going to list places in the world where you’d least expect to find a vineyard, Bali would have to be near the top of that list. It’s a tropical island with a wet climate – precisely the type of climate most grape varieties detest! Imagine my surprise then to discover that there is a winery hidden away on the island, and it even makes a decent drop of wine.
Hatten Wines has been established on Bali for over twenty years, with multiple vineyards tucked away on the island’s quieter northern coast. Both the types of grapes grown (mainly French table varieties, rather than wine varieties) and the way they’re grown (on a “pergola” system) are different to usual. Additionally, the grapes grow year round, and are usually harvested twice a year!
You don’t need to head very far to taste some of Hatten’s wines. Most Bali restaurants that have a wine list include the Hatten wines. Alternatively, head to the main cellar door in Sanur or the vineyard centre in Sanggalangit to try the full range, and purchase a couple of bottles.
– Shandos, Travelnuity
Odem Mountain Winery, the Golan Heights, Israel
I am not a huge wine connoisseur, but I certainly know whether I like the wine I’m drinking or not. Sometimes the taste is too strong or too sweet for me, and I’m not enjoying it. When I was in the Golan Heights in the northern part of Israel, I stayed in a village called Odem, and I’ve heard one of the things you should do there is… wine tasting.
Israeli wines were always among my favourite tastes, so I was very curious about Odem Mountain Winery. I tasted all of the wines they had, and I couldn’t decide which one I want to buy as they were all delicious! Sweeter than I usually drink but not dominating. I could purchase only one bottle, as they were around $30 U.S. each (normally I don’t spend more than $7 for a bottle!) but I simply loved the taste.
I chose Amber, a sweet white dessert wine (port style) with a warm aroma of honey, maple and nuts. It had a dark amber colour and amazing smell. I kept it for the special occasion and enjoyed every sip of it. Next time I’m in Israel, I will buy a bottle from Odem Mountain Winery again. They are my favourite wines now!
– Hanna Sobczuk, Hanna Travels
Constantia, South Africa
Constantia is a great place to go for wine tasting, not just because the wines are fantastic, but because it must be one of the most easily accessible wine regions in the world from a major city – this region neighbours the outskirts of Cape Town.
There are many wine farms (as they are called here), including the oldest in South Africa, Groot Constantia. This wine estate is perfect for a visit, and you can reach it easily on the local City Sightseeing bus. It’s home to a restaurant, deli, cellar tours, wine tasting and a historic manor house.
There are many other wine farms nearby, and, with the City Sightseeing bus, you can be dropped off at three different ones. This region is best known for its special red, pinotage, but, as a white drinker, I did prefer the whites.
The prices are fabulous and visiting this region is a lovely way to spend a day.
– Sharon Gourlay, Where’s Sharon
Hemel en Aarde Valley, South Africa
After about a two-hour drive from Cape Town, and about 1.5 hours from the more famous Stellenbosch wine route, you’ll find the calmer and subtler Walker Bay wine route, just before the quaint, yet posh town of Hermanus – famous for spotting the southern right whale. Meandering along the R320 is the picturesque Hemel en Aarde Valley (literally translated as “Heaven and Earth” from Afrikaans), famous for its internationally acclaimed cool climate pinot noir and chardonnay.
There are so many wineries along this picturesque path where limestone soil meets ocean breeze to create a unique wine that pops with fruit. Every winery has its pros, yet cons are not easy to come by. Personal favorites include the cheeky La Vierge, the indie Barto Eksteen range, internationally famous Hamilton Russell, Newton Johnson and Bouchard Finlayson. There are also pricier variants Ataraxia and Creation, where you can enjoy fine dining among the vines.
If you’re a pinot noir or chardonnay fan, you’ve hit the jackpot. There’s nothing better than parking off at one of these spots for a tasting with well-trained and knowledgeable staff. If you’re not too tipsy, head to Blue Flag Grotto Beach for a dip in the ocean afterward.
– Callan Wienburg, Singapore n Beyond
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Stellenbosch in South Africa may very well be my favourite wine region in the world. It’s a perfect day trip from Cape Town, but I recommend spending at least a few days in the area, because of the great variety of things to see and do.
Naturally, wine tasting is the main activity – the region’s flagship variety is pinotage, a quintessentially South African red, but other reds like shiraz and merlot are usually excellent. You can also go for bike tours around the vineyards, enjoy wine and coffee blending experiences, and try all sort of wine pairings – the one I liked best was wine with cupcakes, truly the best of both worlds!
– Margherita Ragg, The Crowded Planet
If you’re wild about wine and seeking travel inspiration, why not plan your next trip around exploring the world’s best wine regions? From the world-renowned wine countries of Argentina and South Africa to the lesser-known hits of Indonesia and Israel, these seven destinations will quench your thirst and please your palate. Happy sipping!