Top 7 Wine Destinations for the Ultimate Wine Aficionado
The beauty of great wine is that it has the power to transform the most mundane of nights into a gustatory adventure. A sip of the finest Cabernet blend from Bordeaux, evokes images of France’s verdant plains, and the rows and rows of fertile vines lining the vineyard of a rustic, faraway château.
Of course, it’s one thing to ‘travel’ to a wine’s homeland through your taste buds, and it’s quite another to actually be there. For traditional wine lovers, the ultimate vacation involves being under the scorching sun, in the middle of a vineyard—ripe fruit and herbal aromas of grapes wafting by as an errant breeze ruffles their hair and tugs at their day clothes. While urban wine lovers dream of staying right smack in the middle of a metropolitan wine hub, surrounded by first-class restaurants, sommeliers ready to pour the city’s top artisanal wines.
Whether you’re planning your first solo sojourn into an idyllic wine region, or working out the details of a city restaurant tour for an entire group of enthusiasts, Singapore Wine Vault has your basic research needs covered.
1. Penn Yan, Finger Lakes
The Finger Lakes wine region in Upstate New York, is fast becoming one of the most popular wine destinations in the United States. With its glorious emerald landscape, vast farmlands, and stunning glacial lakes, the region is a must-see for nature lovers and avid travelers. Finger Lakes is also home to some of the finest cool climate wines in the country. Wine cellar must-haves include top notch Riesling—which comes in a myriad of styles, from bone-dry to sumptuously sweet—and bright and lip-smackingly good Chardonnay.
There are over 100 wineries surrounding the region’s primary lakes, Keuka, Cayuga, and Seneca. For easy access to these wineries, we recommend staying at the center of the wine country, in Penn Yan. This lovely village is at the northern tip of the scenic Keuka Lake, and is a mere stone’s throw from 20 of the Finger Lakes’ top wineries.
2. San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a veritable wine hub that’s filled with restaurants offering a plethora of local wines. Because the city is a melting pot for various cultures, you can dream up hundreds of wine-food pairings as you hop from one restaurant to another. It’s also strategically close to hundreds of vineyards. So, if you’re tired of the city scene, (although honestly, who could tire of San Francisco?), you can opt to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to get to Napa Valley and Sonoma.
If you find yourself in Napa Valley, we recommend exploring the county’s picturesque vineyards, and of course, sampling its many fine wines. This county is home to 50 grape varieties, so you can find a wealth of top-class tipples for your wine vault. We particularly love Napa Valley’s Cabernet Sauvignon.
If, however, you decide to go for the equally gorgeous Sonoma County, there’s one particular California classic that’s an absolute must-try—the county’s rich and complex Zinfandel. One word: delectable.
3. Turin, Piedmont, Italy
It’s really hard to pick just one city to visit in Piedmont. But if you’re planning a short stay in Italy, we recommend settling in at Turin. This charming Italian city is known for its magnificent Baroque architecture, and of course, for being home to the Shroud of Turin. As wine lovers, we really enjoyed the city’s selection of premium Italian wines. Turin’s food culture—which includes scrumptious spreads of hazelnuts and truffles—also makes for excellent wine-food pairings.
And since you’re already in the area, we implore you to take a tour around Piedmont, specifically the vineyards in Roero, Langhe, and Monferrato. Imagine sipping a fruity Barbera d’Alba while gazing out at the region’s awe-inspiring landscape—its rolling hills and craggy, snow-capped mountains. It’s heaven. Now, while you’re there, be sure to grab a few bottles of Barolo, Barbaresco, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, and Moscato d’Asti for your wine cellar.
4. Florence, Tuscany
Florence—the 89th most visited city in the world. A city known for its rich history and staggering Renaissance architecture and artwork. One could spend days exploring its many museums and art galleries. But for wine lovers, there’s another reason to visit Florence—the copious amounts of Chianti Classico. This city is a must-see for grape seekers looking to up the quality of their wine collections.
Should you find yourself in this red wine paradise, take a wine tour around Tuscany, and make a stopover at the Castello del Trebbio. This tourist site was once a castle owned by the infamous Pazzi family. Today, there’s far less plotting and a lot more winemaking going on behind the castle walls. Castello del Trebbio is now a prominent and privately owned Tuscan winery.
5. Kelowna, Okanagan Valley
Kelowna is the primary city in the scenic Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. This city has fantastic wine tours that will take you through some of the region’s top wineries. With over 60 grape varieties grown in 8,000 acres of vineyards, Okanagan Valley is filled with fantastic, must-try varietals. We recommend savoring the region’s Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Syrah, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chasselas. Okanagan Valley also has exceptionally good Bordeaux blends that could rival their French counterparts.
And the clincher? The region offers a wide range of outdoor activities. From watersports to golf, biking to hiking—this is one wine vacation that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
6. Saumur, Loire Valley
At Singapore Wine Vault, we do love our rich Cabernets and crisp Sauvignon Blancs. Now, where better to savor these tipples than in a regal château in Loire Valley, right? Nicknamed the Garden of France, Loire Valley overflows with gorgeous fruit orchards, lush vineyards, and vast artichoke fields. This wine region spans 280 kilometers and is known for its awe-inspiring architecture and delicious array of fine wines.
For avid wine lovers, we recommend a stay at the historic town of Saumur. Aside from making delightful Chenin Blanc Mousseux, this town is also recognized for its light and fruity Cabernet Franc.
7. Napier, Hawkes Bay
The final wine destination on this list takes us to the cerulean, seaport town of Napier. While tourists are flocking the city for its exquisite Art Deco structures and décor, wine enthusiasts are arriving in droves for the ultimate grape escape. You see, Napier is the seat of the highly celebrated New Zealand wine region, Hawkes Bay. Restaurants in the city offer a wide selection of the country’s finest Chardonnays, Syrahs, Bordeaux blends, and Cabernets. To complete your wine vacation, we recommend exploring the multitude of wineries and vineyards in Gimblett Gravels and the Bridge Pa Triangle.
So for your next wine vacation, make it extra-special—go for one of our top seven wine destinations. We guarantee that whichever city you choose, you’re still going to have an epic grape escape.