Are you an oenophile? Did you say you do not like wines? Then probably you did not have the right kind of wine or may be you had bought a new bottle. Tasting world class wine is a gift in itself. The more vintage a bottle is, the more is its taste and value. Today we shall undertake a journey to world’s top 5 vineyard trips where along with some picturesque views, you will have an opportunity to taste exquisite quality wines and food dishes.
Finger Lakes, New York: You will astonish to know that upstate New York can have such a bucolic ambience as is offered by the Finger Lakes area. Some exclusive glacial lakes are located here from which its name originated. Some top quality wines that are only produced in cool climates, are grown here and the best known quality is Riesling.
Vineyards surround 3 main lake areas namely, Seneca, Cayuga and Keuka. Some of the most popular varieties except Riesling are Teroldego and Gruner Veltliner. This region is a paradise not only for the oenophiles but also for gourmet lovers.
- Best time to visit: Best seasons are the fall and summer.
- Main activities: This place is located near to a State Park and a National Forest. Adventure lovers may hike to Watkins Glen State Park or a bit more relaxed trips on a horseback to Finger Lakes National Forest.
- Dine and wine: Local specialties are amply available and one of them is Whole Hog. Homemade sausage topped with homemade curd or cheese, egg and bacon along with Oreo Stout milkshake and poutine are some of the lip-smacking delicacies. Local vineyards also offer a joint hangout such that is presented at Microclimate Wine Bar. Enjoy your dinner at Dano, and watch spectacular views of sunset over Lake Seneca.
- Popular wines: Riesling, Syrah, Pinot noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay.
- Your temporary abode: Upscale accommodation is available at The Harbor Hotel. A luxurious family vacation can be availed at a duplex villa at the Winery of Bellangelo.
Piedmont, Italy: This vast mountainous state of Italy has a stunning backdrop, crafted with snowcapped Alps and rolling vineyards. Piedmont is one of the most scenic states of Italy as it borders Switzerland. Some highly celebrated vineyards are located here namely Monferrato, Langhe and Roero that are recently crowned with UNESCO World Heritage Site enlistment in 2014.
Piedmont literally means ‘mountain foot’ and is notoriously famous for white truffles. With ample options of fairytale abodes and a paradise for foodies, Piedmont can easily take a place in the list of your dream honeymoon destinations.
- Best time to visit: Pre-harvest period of September or October is the best time to visit Piedmont.
- Main activities: Piedmont is a site for premier Alpine resorts where world class skiing opportunities are available. Monferrato hill is home to some quality golf courses like that of Golf Feudo d’ Asti. More adventurous souls can go for trekking on the slopes to search for treasures like white truffles.
- Dine and wine: If you want a rendition of traditional dishes with modern twists then go and visit La Ciau del Tornavento. It also boasts of an envious list of wines. Enoclub offers you with classic Langhe cuisines. Set against an informal backdrop, Trattoria Risorgimento is a treasure of local delicacies whereas local organic produces are modified into traditional dishes at Da Felicin.
- Popular wines: Nebbiolo, a native grape variety gives rise to spectacular red wines like Barbaresco and Barolo. Other popular wine varieties are Gattinara, Roero, Ghemme etc.
- Your temporary abode: Country hotel of Castello di Sinio also serves as a local wines and delicacies hotspot. Do you want to experience old world grandeur then go for Relais San Maurizio. It is included with a wellness spa and a famous restaurant, Guido da Costigliole.
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand: Hawkes Bay is the perfect specimen for nation’s tourism slogan ‘100 percent pure New Zealand’, with its pure New Zealander landscape, people and food. Spectacular sceneries of rolling hills speckled with white spots (made by grazing sheep), zigzag rivers and girdled bay area towards the Pacific at the North Island; Hawkes Bay has sheltering hills tucking in the vineyards from west. This place has a soothing Mediterranean climate just apt for grapes’ growth.
- Best time to visit: A member of the southern-hemisphere, New Zealand is best to be visited in the summer that is in January or February.
- Main activities: In general people in New Zealand love sports and Hawkes Bay is a place where one can indulge in lots of sporting activities like cycling through vineyard trails. This is called by a special name and that is ‘Wineries Ride’. In between your ride, you can taste best wines too. One of the best things is bi-yearly program of food and wine by F.A.W.C. that is the Food and Wine Classic. They commemorate the coming of summer and winter with food and wine festivals. Hastings is the place of country’s oldest farmers’ market and you can enjoy a fair like atmosphere here on every Sunday.
- Dine and Wine: Award winning restaurant ‘Elephant Hill’ is located beside Te Awanga coast that spells dream with its splendid decorations and world-class cuisines. You can bite into lip-smacking dishes made of organic produce under vine canopies at Black Barn Bistro. For tasting best wines visit one of the oldest wineries of the region that is Te Mata Estate.
- Popular wines: Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Your temporary abode: For those seeking a private luxury you can head for The Farm at Cape Kidnappers or modern cottages of Craggy Range. Stay at restored heritage suites at The Crown Hotel.
Rhone Valley, France: This second most popular wine region of France is breathtakingly beautiful with scenic villages and perfectly tended vineyards. Those in know of French landscape can never deny the beauty of Provence and Lyon. Interestingly the trails through Rhone Valley go through these two places.
- Best time to visit: Three top festivals of the region are Festival of Vine and Wine in the month of May, Festival d’Avignon in July and the harvest festival of Ban des Vendanges in October. At Festival d’Avignon you can have a glimpse of region’s cultural heritage.
- Main Activities: France is the land of innovation and that is reflected in village activities of Rhone Valley. Culinary workshops are organized by villagers where you can match wines with macarons, mushrooms, nougat and truffles. The whole of the Rhone Valley is zigzagged by bike trails and you can go to a hiking trail at Dentelles de Montmirail.
- Dine and wine: Rhone Valley is divided into two parts that is narrow north and abundant south. North has two culinary superstars that is Maison Pic and Michel Chabran. If you want cost-effective dishes at an amazing ambience then go for Bistrot de Serine or Le Cercle les Vignerons. One of the most interesting things of this region is that there are free wine tasting houses in the villages called Maison des Vines. Big cooperative vineyard like Beaumes de Venise has tasting rooms as well as fine restaurants like Le Dolium.
- Popular wines: Jean-Louis Chave, Cote-Rotie and Condrieu are some famous wines of the region.
- Your temporary abode: Hotel Crillon le Brave in South is comprised of ancient stone houses, wine cellars, two restaurants and surrounding olive groves and vineyards. Want to revisit the region’s glorious past then go and stay at designer rooms of legendary Perrin family, located just above their wine boutique namely L’Outstalet.
Orlando, USA: Neighboring Winter Park and Mills 50 District are renowned for its gourmet restaurants and exquisite quality wines. Surely the state is coming out of its just-for-kids image.
- Best time to visit: The month of September is best to visit Orlando as for its cool temperature and fewer crowds of kids and their parents.
- Main activities: If you are a golfer then you have put your feet at the right place. Orlando has around 170 golf courses and some golf academies. Top golf courses are the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club and Grand Cypress Resort.
- Dine and wine: The Ravenous Pig delivers playful dishes like fried rabbit and cocoa-sprinkled pappardelle made with boar. Capa is a Spanish themed, wine friendly restaurant that offers grilled meat on white American Oak pieces. Ethnic food items are available at affordable price at Vietnam Cuisine while Hawkers Asian Street Fare offers you with lip-smacking Chinese and Indian dishes. Quality wines are available at Highball and Harvest. Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden has bohemian vibe, eclectic décor and a lush outdoor patio where you can sip from around 35 different wine selections and enjoy the view.
- Popular wine: Miomosa variety of wines is very popular.
- Your temporary abode: Four Seasons Orlando has Walt Disney themed rooms, spas, bars and water-slides. Florida’s natural splendor can be viewed at Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grand Lakes that is constructed upon a huge 500 acres land area with lush vegetation. Adjacent Shingle Creek is a retreat for water sports lovers.
These are some hand-picked selection of wine trips that are going to rule the tourist world for 2015. If you want to get a closer look and truly fall in love with the world of wines then the top 5 places are more than eager to welcome you. So get ready your luggage.