Visit the golden state if you’re new to the wine tasting world. Napa Valley is chock-full of wineries which run daily tastings and tours, helping you get to grips with the grape in an informative yet accessible way. The Culinary Institute of America even offers wine boot camps which are a lot more fun than the regular exercise versions. Here, you can expect to learn from some of the best in the business and indulge yourself in hands-on learning about all things wine – from different varieties of grape to how to pair food and beverages. Plus, if you plan your visit during the summer, you may be able to book tickets for the celebrated charity wine event, Auction Napa Valley, where wine and auctions for fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experiences come together in one spectacular place.
In a convenient location, just a stone’s throw away from the UK, lies a beautiful sight for a wine lover’s eyes. Bordeaux, in south west France, offers acres of vineyards, dotted with dreamy chateaux, and a wine-growing region with plenty to offer both the novice wine taster and connoisseur alike. Book a visit at one of the wine schools of the region, such as L’Ecole du Vin, to learn about the delicious wines of the region. When you’re ready to take a break from drinking, explore the city of Bordeaux and its UNESCO-listed centre, before taking advantage of that world-class gastronomy the country is famous for.
If you’re looking to combine a wine-tasting holiday with spectacular natural surroundings and a touch of wildlife spotting, spread your wings and head to South Africa. The town of Franschhoek is one of the wine country darlings of this mighty continent, where numerous epicurean travellers set up base, before hiring a car or guide to help them get to grips with the local vineyards. You can even hop on board the Franschhoek Wine Tram to discover the essence of the Franschhoek Valley. Expect to encounter an excellent variety of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and the native Pinotage – all grow abundantly well under the South African sun.
Foodies unite under the Tuscan sun, where sumptuous vineyards and rustic Italian cuisine tempt travellers to the Italian south. From visiting wineries to walking tours through glorious countryside, dotted with seductive towns, holidaymakers can expect to sample some of the finest wines in Italy. From Chianti to Vino Nobile to Brunello di Montalcino, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Plus, you can educate yourself in the cheeses of Tuscany, such as the hard ewe’s cheese, pecorino, alongside a few glasses of your favourite tipple. Tuscan Wine Tours offer a selection of group and private tours that cater to a variety of interests. You’ll be well placed for exploring other, equally romantic Italian hotspots, such as the Renaissance cities of Florence and Lucca or Campo del Medici in Pisa.
The sparkling cerulean seas and sun-soaked shores of the Balearic Islands have enchanted travellers for many a year – wine is just one other excellent reason to visit. Wine Routes Mallorca can provide the perfect introduction to an authentic Mallorcan wine cellar, along with tastings, exploration of the wine-making process and a romantic vineyard sunset. Or you could choose a three-hour trek in the Serra de Tramuntana or a boat tour along the coast, before quenching your thirst in one of the island’s famous wineries. There are over 70 local wines in Mallorca with quality improving year on year – as they aren’t typically exported, you’ll have to go straight to the source to enjoy. That’s one excuse for booking those flights, anyhow.
Wherever you find yourself sipping wine over the coming months, be sure to travel with the right insurance policy for your needs. Medical Travel Compared can help you compare a wide range of insurers to find the best plan for your money.