Location is everything! “Terroir” is how a particular region’s climate, soils, terrain and wine-making traditions affect the taste of wine. Some regions are said to have more ‘terroir’ than others. On the table are the world’s 10 topmost glorious wine-producing regions, cultural backdrops and plentiful tastings (appearance, bouquet, mouth feel and finish).
1. Alto Adige, Italy
It’s the world’s most beautiful wine region and Italy’s best-kept secret.
Where: Nestled deep in the Italian Alps on the border with Austria and Switzerland. The capital city Bolzano is the best place to jump-start your Dolomite wine adventure.
Why go? This is where the North meets South – Germanic, French, and Italian grape varieties, Austro-Hungarian architecture, Alpine Mountain culture all lit up with Italian Sprezzatura. You’ll discover unique local grape varieties found only in Alto Adige like Schiava and Lagrein. Snow-capped peaks and sun-drenched piazzas add to the experience.
2. Western Cape, South Africa
Where else can you find penguins, baboons, lions, and grapevines? The Cape Winelands include Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon, Constantia Sauvignon Blanc, and Walker Bay Pinot Noir, all within an hour or two from the Cape Town waterfront.
Where? Situated at the southern tip of Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, the Cape winelands boast an explosion of trendy picks.
Why go? It’s one of the most diverse and beautiful parts of the world with scenic and awe-inspiring views. Explore sweet wines, fresh and exciting Chenin Blancs, and big-bad-bold Cabernet Sauvignons.
3. Walla Walla Valley, USA
Washington State is on the down-low, but its actually the 2nd largest wine producer in the United States. Walla Walla Valley is a treasure trove for lovers of bold red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.
Where? Sitting on the very eastern edge of Washington, Walla Walla Valley straddles the border of Oregon.
Why go? Walla Walla Valley is experiencing an explosion of wine country growth potential, with notable wine collections, ground floor price points and super talented wine producers.
4. Napa Valley, USA
California’s answer to Bordeaux and the most famous US wine region.
Where? A short northbound jaunt out of San Francisco lands you in Napa Valley, just off of the San Pablo Bay.
Why go? If you want to have a plush wine excursion and taste outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot, then Napa is your thing. They invented wine tourism paired with excellent food, great amenities, and a laid-back California vibe.
5. Mendoza, Argentina
The second highest mountain chain serves as a tasting room backdrop when visiting Mendoza. If that’s not a drawing card, then let juicy Malbec lead the way…
Where? 600 miles (1000 km) west of Buenos Aires, in the foothills of the Andes.
Why go? What happens when you can combine altitude and experimentation? Some of the world’s most unique wines. Malbec is king here, but you’ll find some amazing Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Wine is the culture here, so go immerse yourself in it!
6. Bordeaux, France
Perhaps the world’s best known wine region that produces some of the finest wines. Bordeaux is a pilgrimage of sorts for the wine lover.
Where? Located next to the Atlantic Ocean, 500km (300 miles) south-west of Paris, France.
Why go? The world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends live there. Throw in amazing gastronomy, history, and UNESCO world heritage sites, and what’s not to love!
7. Southern Chile
The Bío-Bío, Itata, and Malleco Valleys are en route to Patagonia. Expect to find exquisite vistas and rustic vineyards.
Where? Located more than 400km south of Santiago, east of the town of Concepción, on your way to Patagonia.
Why go? Viticulture started in Chile, and this is where some of the most interesting and atypical wines are originating. Awesome Pais, Carignan, and Moscatel are a few, coupled with natural and skin contact wines.
8. Mosel, Germany
If you are prone to vertigo, then beware of the Mosel Valley in Germany. With the world’s steepest vineyards sitting at 65 degrees, you might want to pack your grappling hook, crampons, and meds!
Where? This winding river starts in France and borders Germany and Luxembourg, but for wine lovers, the best bit is found between Trier and Koblenz in Germany.
Why go? Germany’s oldest wine region has a lot of experience producing the world’s finest Riesling. Traverse the world’s steepest vineyards and picturesque villages. A must visit for Riesling petrol heads.
9. New Zealand
Simply put, it’s paradise! Visit Auckland and Waiheke Island, Hawke’s Bay, and Martinborough, and Marlborough and Queenstown on South Island.
Where? New Zealand is one of the most isolated countries, and a 3-hour plane flight from Sydney, Australia. The long journey will not disappoint!
Why go? Picturesque mountains, sandy beaches, fjords, lonely islands, active volcanoes, a diversity of landscapes, Sauvignon Blanc, and some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
10. Margaret River, Australia
The Margaret River is surrounded by wild, natural beauty and the Indian Ocean.
Where? It’s a 3-hour drive north from the closest city of Perth, and considered the world’s most isolated city.
Why go? The beautiful Indian Ocean meets boutique wineries producing world-renowned Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc-Sémillon blends.
Reference material taken in part from the following sources: winefolly.com, author Christine Marsiglio, MW