The Aquitaine Region of France is best known for its diverse collection of red wines that are produced throughout the region. This is a popular destination for many wine lovers and is a must-visit destination when looking for a getaway. This region is home to cities such as Bordeaux, Bergerac and Saint-Emilion. Wine lovers can go take classes at l’Ecole du Vin or visit the Chateau Haut Sarpe. Popular wines produced in the Aquitaine Region include cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot noir, petit verfot and Malbec. Make sure to make your reservations to visit the tasting rooms of the vineyards in the area. Many of these rooms are small and only allow visitors with reservations. Just make sure to enjoy a pinot noir and nuanced chardonnay before you leave the region to return home. You will not be disappointed.
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The region of La Rioja, Spain is home to wineries known for creating both red and sparkling wines. The full-bodied red wines are just one of the many reasons why wine lovers need to make their way to Spain for their next winery getaway. Wineries in Spain push wine making to its limits, trying new and unique methods to create some of the finest wines to come out of Europe. There are many sleepy Spanish villages that offer a friendly atmosphere, perfect for learning about the wines of the region. This region is what comes to mind when you think of Spanish wine and is another must-visit destination for all wine lovers.
While there, make time to visit the Lopez de Heredia in Haro, Bodegas Baigorri in Samaniego and the winery hotel Marques e Riscal. Other popular places to visit in the area include Bodegas Muga and La Rioja Alta. If time allows, make sure to stop at two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the San Millan de Suso and Yuso monasteries. They are a great way to enhance your winery getaway in Spain.
Located along the Douro River, this valley is known for its steep-terraced vineyards that fill the landscape with a beautiful scenery. The Douro Valley region of Portugal is one of the oldest wine making regions in the world. It all started back in the third century A.D., when the Romans introduced wines to the local farmers. Port lovers will be in heaven in this region; the country’s name-bearing wine is what most wineries in the region are best known for. While in the area, make plans to stop at the comprehensive tasting event at the Sandeman Winery, or one of the many smaller estates nearby. Another great place to visit is Vila Nova de Gaia, which is a great place to start your wine travels in Portugal.
No European wine vacation is complete without a stop in Tuscany. Located in central Italy, this region is known for its beautiful landscapes and artistic heritage. There are many unique-flavored grapes that come from this region, many of which are difficult to pronounce. But once these grapes mature, they are used to make some of the region’s finest wines that are recognized worldwide. This region has more than 750 wineries you can visit to sample a variety of wines, from whites to reds and everything in between. Travelers will have the opportunity to not only enjoy their meals with Tuscan wines, they can also enjoy a glass of wine while sitting on the hillside or resting on the beach.
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Small roads and rivers twist and turn, making narrow loops throughout the countryside of Moselle in Germany. The wine in this region dates back more than 2000 years, to when the Celts and Romans first started cultivating wine. Moselle is the largest wine region in Germany, with vines on the steep slopes. It is also the oldest wine region in the country. This region is best known for its production of a variety of the finest of Rieslings. You will definitely want to go with the flow when visiting the Moselle wine region. There is a dedicated wine route that you can travel by car, foot or bicycle. There are even some wine tours available by bus, train or boat.
The best thing about the Santorini region of Greece is its distinctive landscapes and culture. Through the practice of many generations, wineries in this region have been able to perfect extraordinary crisp white wines and sweet dessert wines. All of the wines from this region have a unique flavor made from wineries nestled among a breathtaking countryside. This is home to the Santorini’s Assyrtiko white wines, which has been referred to as the essence of the Greek islands in a bottle. This is one wine you do not want to miss out on. Stop by and enjoy a wine tasting at the Estate Argryos, which has been producing wine in this region for more than a century.
The eastern coast of Istria is the place to go when looking for a non-traditional wine-themed escape. Everything from the climate to soil and hard work to location contribute to developing the highest quality of grapes in the Europe. The hilly lands offer a breathtaking view while sipping on some of your favorite wines. Popular wine areas in Istria include Central Istria and Orec area. But do not forget the must-see region of Momjan and the area vineyards for a wine tasting treat. Istria also hosts many local festivals themed around wine, and there are many other activities to enjoy while there. Everything from the food to wine and small village feel to outdoor recreation is what will make your trip to Istria the best wine getaway you have ever had.
Heather Landon (Heather Leigh Carroll) is a freelance writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has combined two of her passions – writing and travel – to share her experiences with others. You can read more of her articles at Examiner.com.