Get off the beaten path and explore the vines and new cuvées of some of the least visited wineries in the world.
Wine destination to visit: Argentina
When it comes to wine destinations, Argentina is a must – this South American country is the world’s fifth largest producer. Before the 1990s, the wine produced by this nation of 40 million inhabitants was of very average quality and mainly reserved for local consumption. Since then, Argentina has become the largest exporter in the Americas. In 2015, the country exported nearly 270 million liters of wine with a total value of over one billion Canadian dollars. The province of Mendoza, located in the foothills of the Andes and 1000 km west of Buenos Aires , is the most important wine region in the country and produces excellent wines from varietals such as Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and chardonnay.
Wine destination to visit: Thailand
It’s not the first country that comes to mind when talking about wine production, but Thailand has a growing wine industry. The six members of the Thai Wine Association produce around 800,000 bottles from a local grape variety, all within a few hours’ drive of Bangkok, making it an easy destination if you’re vacationing in Thailand. And where could you visit a vineyard with an optional elephant ride?
Wine destination to visit: Croatia
Given its geography and its past in the Roman Empire, there is no doubt that this jewel of the Adriatic has a long and beautiful history with wine. Nearly three decades after the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the local industry has emancipated itself from the mediocre wines of the Soviet era and now produces delicious wines where quality takes precedence over quantity. Take the road to Istria in the northwest of the country to feast on an invigorating white wine, malvazija, a local specialty from producers Matošević and Kozlović .
Wine destination to visit: Portugal
Located in the west of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has a lot to offer its visitors in terms of wine tourism. The local specialties are the vinho verde, “young” or “green” wines, light and fresh whites , reds and rosés characterized by an acidity and a slight effervescence produced in the northwest. And of course Port, a fortified wine – to which distilled alcohol has been added – from the Douro mountain regions. Besides these famous wines, the producers of the country offer visitors many varieties of wines, regardless of the region they visit.
Wine destination to visit: Sicily
Mount Etna, still very active, and the volcanic past of this island have given Sicily a soil rich in minerals, a real blessing for farmers and winemakers . In a few decades, Sicily has gone from being a producer who sent his grapes to the continent to be vinified there, to that of a producer of fine wines, an evolution that has taken place in conjunction with the rediscovery of the exceptional local gastronomy of island – long before locavores were in vogue. The best local grape variety is undoubtedly Nero d’Avola, produced alone or in blends. Without forgetting the Marsala, a Sicilian fortified wine. On the slopes of the volcano, admire the vineyards planted with carricante (for white wine) and nerello mascalese (for red).
Wine destination to visit: Georgia
This former Soviet republic bordered by the Black Sea is one of the oldest wine regions in the region – vines were already cultivated there 8000 years ago. With more than 500 native grape varieties sometimes growing in a territory the size of a pocket handkerchief, you will never be short of discoveries to accompany the remarkable cuisine of the country. In eastern Georgia, especially Kakheti, look for sites where wine is made the old-fashioned way: large clay vessels called Qvevri are filled with crushed grapes and buried in the ground where they will ferment naturally at a constant temperature.
Wine destination to visit: Chile
As in many Latin American countries, Chile ‘s wine-growing history dates back to the time of the Spanish conquistadors, for whom the import of wine vines was vital. The modernization of this industry began in the 1980s and the country is now one of the largest wine exporters. Depart from the capital, Santiago, where you’re sure to find some of the best local wines in trendy restaurants and wine bars, then head north or south where you’ll stumble across vineyard-covered valleys. In addition to tasting and pairing food and wine, the vineyard visit can also include horseback riding, workshops to learn how to make your own blends, and even a funicular ride that will take you to an astronomical observatory.
Wine destination to visit: Bulgaria
Bordered by Turkey and Greece to the south and by Macedonia, Serbia and Romania to the west and north, this Balkan country opening onto the Black Sea was known in the 1980s for its inexpensive wines . At the time, Bulgaria was one of the biggest exporters in the world, but the industry could not resist the collapse of communism. Bulgaria is still relatively unknown as a tourist destination , but it has five distinct wine regions that are breaking through and ready to welcome visitors.
Wine destination to visit: Greece
There is no doubt that this country has history on its side: wine has been made there for thousands of years without interruption. And whether you visit the wine bars of Athens , the northern province of Macedonia or the island of Crete, right in the middle of the Mediterranean, you will always find endless supplies of delicious local wines that will pair with marvel with the particular cuisine of this country .
Wine destination to visit: Canada
If the price of plane tickets is holding you back from discovering the wines of the world, then you may be in a better position to take a ” road trip ” – and what more beautiful place is there to discover than his own garden? In addition to the well-known Canadian wine regions of British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, you’ll find superb vineyards producing excellent wines in Quebec , primarily in Montérégie and the Eastern Townships , but also in Nova Scotia, Ontario (Pele Island and Prince Edward County, and all over British Columbia – Vancouver Island, Similkameen Valley and Gulf Islands.