7 of the best places in the world to drink wine

 

When travelling, it is always important to never forget to stop and smell the flowers. Or as I prefer – taste the wine! An incredible benefit of my job is that I am able to travel the world, experience different cultures, taste delicious foods, and savor some of the world’s finest wine. If you’re a wine lover like I am, I encourage you to venture to one (or all) of these 7 places on your next adventure, it will take you to heaven and back.

Tuscany, Italy

San Gimignano, an ancient city within Tuscany, known for its perfectly preserved medieval architecture provides the perfect essence to Italian wine. The town is famous for its Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a dry white wine made in the region since the 13th century. It’s like taking a trip back in time where you can sit back, relax and revel in the spectacle of ancient architecture while sipping some of the world’s most aromatic wine. Hungry? I usually am after a day of riding or sightseeing. This unique wine is paired perfectly with local foods such as wild boar or mushroom risotto.

Tuscany

Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont is the perfect getaway. The region stays ahead of the game in terms of wine making technology it is arguably one of Italy’s finest wine regions. What I love most about Piedmont is its reputation as the “Burgundy of Italy” due impart to its small-scale, family wineries that focus, almost obsessively, on quality. Never one to follow commercial wines, Piedmont is perfect for me. I can sip wines made from Nebbiolo grapes, have the wind blowing in my hair and just forget about all of my troubles. If you’re looking for a relaxing, wine-filled holiday, Piedmont is it.

Piedmont

Burgundy, France

I cannot write an article about the best places to drink wine without mentioning France, or more specifically Burgundy. I started my company in the vineyards of Burgundy 18 years ago and it will always hold a special place in my heart. By simply stepping off the train, you’re engulfed in a whirlwind of fresh air, a relaxed atmosphere, and scenery to die for. After the initial impression, it becomes evident that Burgundy has a rich wine culture, all its own. With the practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir dating back to medieval times, the region simply grew and developed around its wine culture. Burgundies – dry red wines made from Pinot noir grapes and white wine made from Chardonnay grapes – are some of my favorite wines as they have the perfect blend of richness, tartness and fruitiness.

Burgundy

La Rioja, Spain

Imagine sipping some of the world’s most flavorful wine while picnicking at the castle of Pernaranda. That’s the kind of wine vacation that La Rioja offers, and that’s the kind of wine vacation I love. Most wine enthusiasts are familiar with the bold wines of La Rioja. This region of Spain has over 500 wineries and is internationally famous for the quality of its wine. The climates of this region makes it perfect for enjoying La Rioja’s bountiful wine choices while sitting on a stoop overlooking the region’s stunning scenery. Now that’s what I call an unbeatable pairing.

Rioja

Dalmatia, Croatia

Wine, beaches and local seafood; what could be better? Most people visit Croatia for its beaches and scenery, but I visit Croatia for its viticulture. Wine is an experience, and Croatia provides some of the best. As it is a nation of islands, Croatia has more than three hundred geographically defined wine districts bunched into a relatively small area. Each island has its own flavors, both metaphorically and literally, making Croatia a must-visit. My favorite Croatian past time? Island hopping. Why? So I can experience the different culture, the different foods, the different scenery and of course the different wines.

Croatia

Mendoza, Argentina

Mendoza is yet another destination I’d recommend to wine lovers. Located in the foothills of the Andes, Mendoza is the heart of Argentina’s winemaking industry in Argentina, and rightfully so since the region accounting for nearly two-thirds of the country’s entire wine production. Just as it’s known for its famous landscapes, glaciers and jungles, Argentina is also known for its meat and wine. The Malbec is one of the country’s most famous red wines, boasting a smooth full-bodied, fruity flavor. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a hearty meal of top-grade sirloin and sipping wine while being immersed in some of nature’s most spectacular marvels.

Mendoza

Santa Barbara, USA

When people think of wine in the US, the first place that comes to mind is Napa Valley. But rather than going the typical route, I’d recommend Santa Barbara, an often overlooked gem. The small, Danish-inspired town of Solvang in Santa Barbara County has all the quaintness and charm of a small European village, while being home to some of the most amazing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Taking a walk through the cobbled streets to enjoy the architecture and windmills, you’d swear you had just arrived at a quintessential European town. The fresh smells, the old architecture, the wine culture, and the friendly people will only make this experience more enjoyable.

Santa Barbara

Andy Levine is the President/Founder of DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co.

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Comments (16)

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  1. Stefanie says:

    Love your suggestions about Mendoza.The wine country of Argentina is incredible! Be sure to visit Salentein if you’re in the area, they have an amazing Malbec.

  2. I’ve done all but Argentina and Croatia. Would love to visit Argentina as I truly love Malbec. But Croatia?

  3. Love your suggestions! But I don’t understand how you can include Croatia and Santa Barbara, but leave out Bordeaux?

  4. Andy Levine says:

    Stephanie, I never miss a chance to visit Salentein while in Mendoza!

    Doreen, Croatia is truly an overlooked gem. For more details about the destination – check here (Link to tour page)

    Jason, if I included an 8th place, Bordeaux would certainly be it! I choose Croatia and Santa Barbara because I love the unique charm of up and coming wine regions.

  5. Alex says:

    Israeli wines can be a good choice. Especially young, from desert sorts of grapes. Very recommended.

    Andy, Bordeaux is great, certainly deserved 8th place.

  6. Marcus says:

    What about South Africa? Thinking of Stellenbosch or Franschhoek? There are some beautiful vineyards and some great tasting wines! Combine that with nice weather, good soil conditions, and wonderful people. In my book a top place to go and have some wine!

  7. Andy Levine says:

    Alex, You’re right. I love Israeli wine.

    Marcus, South Africa was another place that I wanted to include, but as this blog only included 7, I had to pass it up. Needless to say, it is another one of my favorites.

  8. Bronwyn says:

    I am with you Marcus! South Africa has some top wines and many beautiful wine routes. Andy I am sure you can write a blog just on SA wines ;)

  9. Ric Browde says:

    It is nice to see the San Gimignano wines featured from Tuscany… but we have so much more to offer! The award winning Sassicaia wines produced in the amazingly beautiful Maremma region near the gorgeous castle town of Bolgheri, and the Super Tuscan wines made from the Brunelo grapes in Montalcino , one of the most picturesque towns in Tuscany deserve to be mentioned!

  10. Andy Levine says:

    Ric, you’re absolutely right. Tuscany is one of my favorite travel destinations for its large variety of delicious wines. I just couldn’t possibly include them all in one blog. Next time I’ll be sure to try.

  11. I think it could be much better to list the 5 top of every country. Like the 5 in Italy or the 5 in France. It’s already very difficult to make a choice in one country and it’s nearly impossibile to choose just 5 in the world….I’d suggest to mention the 5 top wines steel kept secret in Italy, for example…Apart the famous Brunello di Montalcino and other well known there are so many delicious wine with a small production which are often eden better than the famous wines

  12. I gotta save these tips for the future! In September I will make 3 week tour in Italy and I will definitely need to stop by some of these places! Thanks for the tips.

  13. Andy Levine says:

    Claudia, I see what you’re saying and agree that by doing so, it would have been a much more thorough list. That being said, I just wanted to give a taste of what’s those regions had to offer.

    Allane, you’re very welcome! Hopefully you enjoy your time there as much as I do.

  14. I read what you said and I must admit that I am chauvinistic. But Bordeaux seems to me important because you have various wine appellations : Médoc, Saint-Emilion which a Unesco site, Pessac-Léognan,Sauternes,for example. And so, you have different landscapes. To be honest, winemakers in Bordeaux are not always very welcoming.

  15. Controversial! I agree about Bordeaux but if it’s Malbec you’re after I would include Cahors in France. Fantastic wine, stunning scenery, the very best of French produce & cuisine and lots of beautiful bastide towns to visit to boot.

  16. Tim says:

    How the writer resolves to include Solvang (a faux European village – believe me, it is absolutely nothing like any I’ve ever been to) and not Franschhoek leaves me dumbfounded.

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