For an avid wine enthusiast, taking a winecation will be a truly unforgettable experience. With plenty of wine tasting opportunities, Michelin-quality cuisine, and the chance to explore incredibly beautiful areas of the world, here are some tips when it comes to planning a winecation.
Choosing a Destination
There are fabulous wine-producing regions all over the world, providing you with many winecation destinations to choose from. Two of California’s most popular wine regions are Sonoma and Napa, although the region of Paso Robles is just as beautiful, and has the added advantage of being less crowded. For those that are fans of Malbec, Central Argentina’s Mendoza Province is where to go, while the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France is the largest wine-producing area in the world. Another great destination to consider is the Piedmont region of Italy, with the most prolific grapes here being the barbera and nebbiolo. For those who want to travel further afield, Cloudy Bay, in the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand, produces some of the finest sauvignon blanc in the world and is surrounded by several other world-renowned wineries.
Create an Itinerary
Once you have chosen the destination for your winecation, it is time to begin putting together a list of all of the different wineries that you want to visit. Many wine regions have websites that are filled with useful information, from detailed descriptions of each winery to maps and planning guides, so be sure to make the most of these. There are also usually wine associations in each region that you can contact for extra advice and information on planning your winecation.
When taking a winecation, you will notice that many of the wineries you visit boast their own local restaurants, making use of all of the fresh produce that is grown in their fertile land. Many of these restaurants focus on the finest gastronomy, pairing together elegant dishes with their extraordinary wines. Rather than visiting chain restaurants or establishments that target tourists, try to dine at as many local eateries as you can, as this will add an exciting element to your trip.
When to Travel
Although it slightly varies for different regions around the world, grape harvesting season usually falls somewhere between September and October, making these months the best time of the year to head off for your winecation. Not only will you be able to take part in the usual winery tours and tastings, but you will also be able to experience the different methods of harvesting grapes, and may even be able to help out.
No matter how well you may have planned your winecation, it is also important to be flexible at times, as you are likely to see many unexpected wine-related points of interest that are worth stopping off at. Do not forget to also leave yourself with some time to explore everything else that your destination has to offer, from its history to its culture, so that you leave your winecation with a rounded understanding of the many unique features that your destination likely has.