When it comes to wine, Napa Valley Wine Tours and chateaux stays in Bordeaux are what typically come to mind. But if you’d rather explore wine travel destinations featuring unconventional or burgeoning vintages, as well as techniques that don’t sacrifice quality or flavor, we have the list for you.
The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia
Many know Canada for its maple syrup and glacial blue lakes, but many parts of British Columbia actually have a climate perfect for cultivating wine grapes. The Okanagan region in particular isn’t just mild and dry, but also a lot less crowded than Napa or Bordeaux, despite the fact that the number of wineries here is growing fast. Enjoy a tasting of local Pinot Noir or Chardonnay at any of the local estates with Okanagan Lake as your backdrop, or else savor a glass paired with farm-to-table fare that shines in its own right, thanks to the local culinary schools as well as the region’s rich farming tradition. Then head to Myra Canyon Ranch for the night, which features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Okanagan Valley, an outdoor jacuzzi, and a porch that wraps around the historic wooden ranch.
The Romanian wine industry is having a renaissance
Even though the Romanian wine industry was almost completely destroyed under Soviet rule, it’s now enjoying a steady rebirth. Local, independent vineyards founded by young entrepreneurs are popping up everywhere within the country, making it one of the world’s most promising wine regions right now. Try one of the tours, tastings (of local artisan bread, olive oil, and wine), or fine dining restaurants here – you won’t be disappointed. After an indulgent day, Bookers can head back to Diana's Flat Bucharest, just a short distance from Bucharest’s Old Town.
Croatia has a wide variety of indigenous grapes
Croatia is truly a hidden gem among wine regions, since its delicious wine doesn’t have the same level of prestige as that of its European neighbors – yet. Crisp whites are the country’s speciality, and are best enjoyed with a splash of ice-cold sparkling water, paired with Croatian truffle-infused cured meat or olives in a quiet hilltop village. International varieties like Merlot and Chardonnay are also grown here, though this region has a huge range of indigenous grapes that are well worth trying. Fun fact: Zinfandel—one of California’s most popular varieties—is said to have descended from one of Croatia’s indigenous grape varieties. After a day of exploring new wines, Bookers can head back to Villa Residence Burgus-Antium, a quaint vine-draped stone house near the beach that has its own restaurant.
Georgia still sticks to its tradition of fermenting grapes in clay jars
Cultivated vineyards existed in Georgia during the neolithic period, and qvevri—the ancient method of fermenting grapes in clay jars—is still used today. The indigenous grape varieties have also survived alongside ancient winemaking traditions, giving Georgian wines a unique, sophisticated, and expressive quality. Apartment Old Town Levanto is the most highly-rated property in Tbilisi and within walking distance of Freedom Square.
Try a fruity, sparkling wine in Tasmania
Australian wine as a whole may be better-known than Tasmanian varieties, but the latter is a strong contender for equal international spotlight. The island state's cool climate and proximity to Australian vineyards have made its rugged terrain among the world’s most sought-after wine regions. Tasmania mostly specializes in lighter shiraz, pinot noir, chardonnay and a variety of fruity, sparkling wines that give French Champagne a run for its money. Freycinet Lodge, located in the middle of a national park, offers Bookers views of Great Oyster Bay from private balconies, local wine-tastings at its restaurant, and sunset walks along the beach below.
Texas Hill Country has produced many award-winning wines
Surprisingly, Texan vineyards were established over a century before those in California. However, Prohibition effectively killed the state’s wine industry until the 1970s, when it made a comeback after the founding of a few progressive wineries. Bookers can take a tour of the Texas Hill Country—located near Austin—and enjoy tastings featuring some of the area’s award-winning wines. Texan wines are usually made from native or Mediterranean grapes, adding a special local twist to classic blends. The Hotel Granduca Austin is an elegant property, whose in-house Visconti Ristorante serves traditional northern Italian cuisine with local, seasonal ingredients alongside a variety of wines.
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