To kick off wine week, we crank out a bunch of stories old and new about some of the places we’ve tasted wine around the world. Wine tourism is one of our favourite things to do as we travel, so it’s great to be able to show off some of these wonderful places.
The home of the most famous bubbly the world has ever seen! Pleasant small towns above, kilometers and kilometers of cellars and tunnels underneath. Our special find was the zero dosage from Ayala. If you see it, buy it!
Swan Valley and Margaret River, Australia
Western Australia’s two most-famous regions. The Swan is just minutes away from Perth and does great Sauv-Sem. Margaret River is much further away, but certainly rewards the palate.
Auckland, New Zealand
With four wine regions, each no more than an hour from the CBD, Aucklanders are spoilt for choice! Tiny wineries in Clevedon, big names and small in Kumeu, experiments galore in Matakana, and expensive drops on the island of Waiheke.
Cambodia‘s only winery isn’t going to become commercially viable anytime soon, but it makes a fun stop on any trip around the sleepy provincial town of Battambang.
We were here six months and stuck drinking Lachryma Vitis — literally “tears of the vine”. We nicknamed it “tears of the drinker” instead.
Savoie, French Alps, France
We were hosted by wine writer Wink Lorch at Chalet Balaena for a flight of fantastic wines from the local region. It’s not just skiing they do well out there.
Neusiedl am See, Austria
One of Austria‘s top wine regions, situated on a large lake, makes for a great area to visit. We were blown away by the hospitality at a local high school where students can do a winemaking course as part of their studies.
St Anna am Aigen, Austria
This small farming town has a great wine walk, a state-of-the-art vinotek, and one heck of a young-wine festival! It’s just a shame no public transport runs there (except the school bus).
We didn’t get to any of Uruguay’s wineries, but judging from the cellar our hosts kept in Montevideo there’s a whole lot of deliciousness going on there.
Gibbston Valley, New Zealand
Just outside Queenstown is Linda’s favourite wine region. Famous for its bungy jumping more than its Pinot Noir, its dramatic landscapes have just the right terroir to produce fantastic, fruit-driven wines.
We didn’t even know they made wine in Peru, but South America‘s oldest winery is just outside Ica. They make some mighty fine pisco with the leftover grapes as well.
Drop down through the mountain valleys south of Salta and you’ll reach Cafayate. Great wine tours for newbie wine drinkers, but we struggled to find a good drop at tastings … although we found plenty in the bottles we bought.
Some wine-tasting tips
- Don’t visit too many wineries in a day: three to five is normally perfect.
- Always designate a sober driver, and make sure they have a good time too.
- If time is limited, use a “vinotek” or tasting shop to get an idea of what you like and where to go.
- At smaller wineries, you can often meet with the wine maker himself or herself. Make the most of it!