6 Bucket List Wine Regions to Visit in Your Lifetime
Whether road tripping through France, driving down the West Coast, or weaving a few sun-drenched beach breaks into your Italian wine tasting regimen sounds more your style, we’ve put together a list of six unforgettable wine regions to visit in your lifetime. Get your passport ready – the #Winederlust is about to be real.
Bordeaux is truly the region that keeps on giving. From budget-friendly daily drinkers or to some of the world’s most collectible bottles, this versatile French wine region has something to offer every style of wine drinker. Best of all, accessing the Bordeaux wine region has never been easier, thanks to the newly opened (2017) high-speed TGV train route from Paris. Simply hop a train from Montparnasse (or quick flight from CDG) and post up in the region’s eponymous city center. Home to world-class restaurants, bustling wine bars, and a beautiful river-side path that’s perfect for enjoying a breath of fresh air, planning a visit to this world-renowned wine region is simply delightful. Be sure to visit the city’s interactive Cité du Vin museum, as well as plan some day trips to the nearby villages (Saint-Emilion is always a hit).
Who says you have to leave the continental US to experience an unforgettable jaunt to wine country? With Napa and Sonoma situated in the North Coast of California, planning your domestic wine-soaked getaway has never been easier. Simply hop a flight to San Francisco, rent a car, and you’re well on your way to experiencing some of the best wineries that the United States has to offer. Post up in downtown Napa or Healdsburg (Sonoma) as your home base, then plan your winery visits accordingly – be sure to make reservations in advance, and of course, always have a designated driver. Pop into PRESS for a tasty local meal, and be sure to grab a glass at Compline – and for a meal to remember, The French Laundry is where it’s at.
While many wine lovers flock to Piedmont, Tuscany, or the Veneto—and rightfully so—exploring off-the-beaten regions in Sicily is nothing short of a memorable experience. Contrary to northerly Italian wine regions, setting off for Sicily offers a sun-drenched, seafood-laden experience packed with days at the sea, nights on the sand, and breathtaking views of some of the world’s most extreme topographical features. For an unforgettable road trip, fly into Palermo and traverse the island by car, or simply fly into Catania for easier access to the viticultural region of Etna.
Although often overshadowed by France and Italy’s big-hitting names, planning a trip to Spain’s Rioja region is nothing short of incredible – especially if rowdy nights, flavor-packed tapas, and live music are your thing. For a fun and flavorful experience, we recommend flying into Madrid, enjoying the capital’s museums and restaurants for a few days, then commuting up to the town of Logroño and making it your home base. From there, you’ll be within driving distance to some of the region’s top wineries and subregions, as well as have a great place to eat, drink, and lay your head at night – though we imagine you probably won’t be getting much rest if partying with the Spaniards.
For many wine lovers, Burgundy is the holy grail. Home to some of the world’s most hallowed growing sites and talented producers, this small corner of the world is simply the cream of the crop for collectors, industry folk, and new wine consumers alike. Best of all, the region itself is relatively small, so accessing the entire thing from top to bottom is certainly doable within one trip. We recommend posting up in Dijon or Beaune as home base, then planning your visits from there. Be sure to drive through the sacred villages of Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, and Vosne-Romanée to snap copious amounts of album-worthy shots. For those looking to explore the Côte Chalonnaise and more southerly Mâcon area, posting up in Lyon as your home base is never a bad idea – especially for those with an affinity for hearty bouchon-inspired fare.
Can’t get enough bubbly in your life? Then a visit to Champagne offers the trip of a lifetime. Kick off your getaway with a food-and-wine-soaked visit to the City of Lights, then hop a quick hour-long train to the city of Reims to begin your sparkling wine-soaked venture. For those looking to visit smaller producers, we recommend renting a car (or hiring a driver) and venturing out to smaller villages around the region – as a general rule of thumb with smaller producers in all wine regions, making reservations in advance is highly recommended, if not mandatory. However, for those not looking to drive, worry not. One of the many great things about visiting Champagne is that sipping your way through city-based tasting rooms has never been easier, though of course you’ll sacrifice the beauty of seeing the vineyards first hand for convenience. Either way, you really can’t go wrong here. Even a simple day trip from Paris is worth the adventure!