Wine

Unwind at These Wine Tourism Hot Spots

Northern Arizona’s Verde Valley has now gained federal recognition as a viticultural area producing wines of distinction. Many of you are no doubt familiar with the 19 commercial vineyards and 25 tasting rooms scattered throughout its stunning and bucolic scenery.

Anyone who’s rambled down the Verde River understands the appeal of wine tourism — strolling beneath radiant sunshine through verdant fields and enjoying the greatest and latest flavors being produced by that soil.

Wine grapes are grown in some of the world’s most beautiful spots, which together draw millions of travelers each year.

It may have been a while since your last trip to a wine region outside of Arizona or California, so consider making one of these up-and-coming hubs your next destination.

ALTO ADIGE

Nestled in the Italian Alps, this lesser-known region is near the borders of Austria and France and combines the best of these cultures in its languages and architecture as well as its wine.

Once best known for its delicate pinkish red schiava, rich, ripe pinot grigios and chardonnays are among its biggest sellers today. Its grapes thrive on valley floors that heat up quickly in the summer, producing richer wines than might be expected from such a high altitude.

WESTERN CAPE

In South Africa at the extreme southern tip of the continent is one of the most scenic and diverse wine regions of the world, where you can find penguins living near baboons and an equally wide range of varietals are produced. The legendary sweet wines of Constantia, fresh and vigorous chenin blancs and powerful cabernet sauvignons all spring from the soil of this spellbinding province.

MENDOZA

Spreading out over the Argentine foothills of the Andes, this inland paradise made its name with smooth, fruity malbecs that still reign supreme. But if you’re looking for more variety the area is also the source of some excellent cabernets, syrahs and chardonnays, too. The city of Mendoza is the seat of Argentina’s wine industry and a perfect base to explore its sub-regions including Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley.

MOSEL VALLEY

It follows a tightly winding river at Germany’s western border and boasts the steepest vineyards in the world, famous for producing best- in-class rieslings from precarious slopes above quaint medieval villages. This varietal makes up 90% of the output from this region, which also features fairy-tale castles, hiking and biking trails, boisterous summer harvest festivals and languorous river cruises.

MARLBOROUGH

Notable wine regions are strung along both of New Zealand’s main islands, but the best known and visited is Marlborough, at the northern end of the South Island. Pungent sauvignon blancs form
the crown jewel of this sun-kissed region that produces other white wines including chardonnays and pinot grigios. Marlborough also has scrumptious seafood, scenic inlets and the famed Queen Charlotte track for runners and mountain bikers.

BEKAA VALLEY

This is one of the world’s oldest winemaking regions as well as the heart of Lebanon’s wine industry, churning out a wide range of options from its popular cabs and merlots to the sparkly musar white blend made from indigenous grapes by its most famous producer, Chateau Musar. While here you can enjoy the area’s authentically Mediterranean climate and cuisine.

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