Cheers to the Best Wine Regions of the World
Someone said to me recently ‘wine is a lifestyle’. I had never thought of it as a lifestyle, but when I think about it, wine is pretty much drunk in every country around the world and is involved with a meal. So yes, it is a lifestyle! To get the wine, I presume it is either imported or produced locally. In fact, there are many countries around the world that are wine producers and they have specific areas that are ideal for grapes to grow. This can be influenced by climate or alluvial soils. To discover some best wine regions of the world I have asked other travel bloggers who are working and travelling abroad which is their favourite wine region. And this is what they have said.
Please Note: I have listed the wine regions under country/continent area where you find them.
Also Note: This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure here.
Australian Wine Regions
Barossa Valley Wine Region, South Australia
Rusden Cellar Door, Barossa Valley, South Australia
The Barossa Valley wine region, or “the Barossa” is a must-visit stop on any South Australia itinerary. It is a bucket list region for any wine-lovers visiting Australia. It’s home to over 100 wineries and known for its bold wine flavours. And it is only located just an hour’s drive north of the city of Adelaide. I love the Barossa due to its beautiful landscapes and many high-quality and boutique wineries, most with open cellar doors and run as family businesses. The Barossa is also home to Maggie Beer, one of Australia’s most beloved chefs and cookbook authors. She has a quaint farm shop and restaurant here.
One of Australia’s most famous wineries is located in the Barossa, Jacob’s Creek, which exports all around the world. It has an impressive cellar door, cafe and shop on-site, and even has accommodation for visitors! My favorite cellar door in the Barossa is Rusden Wineries, a family-owned and run vineyard with a charming story behind each wine in the tasting.
Contributed by Erika from Erika’s Travelventures
Hunter Valley Wine Region, NSW
Hunter Valley Wineries
Embracing a climate very similar to some of the most popular wine regions in Europe, did you know it’s possible to enjoy “la dolce vita” in regional NSW, Australia? Located just 2 hours’ drive from Sydney, wine tasting is one my favourite things to do in the Hunter Valley whilst relaxing amongst the countryside’s rolling green hills.
The Hunter Valley is known for producing Semillon, Chardonnay, Verdelho, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Shiraz wines. 75% of the vineyards are dedicated to these kinds of wines. Some of my personal favourite wineries are Tulloch with their exclusive chocolate pairing and Briar Ridge with their delectable antipasto platters. There is something for everyone here, including child-friendly and pet-friendly wineries.
There are plenty of other activities to keep you busy when not sampling wines! Jump on horseback to explore the vineyards. Try your hand at at grape stomping or enjoy the country scenery from an electric bike. If it’s a special occasion, take to the skies in a hot air balloon or helicopter to admire the region from above. Don’t miss the beautifully-kept Hunter Valley Gardens, a must-see during your visit!
Contributed by Alyse from The Invisible Tourist
Margaret River Wine Region, Western Australia
Xanadu Winery, Margaret River Wine Region
Margaret River is a small town located in the south-west of Australia. It is about 3 hours from Perth, the nearest major city in Western Australia. The wine region takes its name from the town that it surrounds and is known internationally for the high quality of wines produced.
Margaret River produces only a small proportion of Australia’s grapes (around 3%) but accounts for over 20% of the premium wine sales! What makes Margaret River even more special is the quality of the cellar doors. There are so many beautiful and welcoming venues that you can return several times and not visit the same place twice. Needless to say, taking a Margaret River wine tour is the most popular activity in town.
There are many varieties produced in Margaret River but the climate best favours the French grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most acclaimed red wine produced here. In the white varieties, Margaret River produces amazing Chardonnay (Check out Xanadu for some of the best in town).
The reason I love this region is that in between tasting wines, you can explore some of Australia’s most beautiful natural attractions. Margaret River is famed for its surf breaks and beautiful beaches. There are also pristine forest hikes and many limestone caves to explore.
Contributed by Ann from The Road Is Life
Mornington Peninsula Wine Region, Victoria
Plenty of beaches and wineries to discover on the Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is located South of Melbourne in Victoria and is well known for its stunning coastline and beautiful nature. However, the Mornington Peninsula happens to be one of the best wine regions in Australia, if not the world. The main wine produced in the region is Pinot Noir but other varieties such as Pinot Gris, Tempranillo and Chardonnay are also commonly produced.
There are plenty of things to do on the Mornington Peninsula. Most notably strawberry picking, visiting numerous beaches, relaxing in the hot springs and visiting the Cape Schanck Lighthouse. However, you must also include a visit to some of the wineries to truly get the most out of the Mornington Peninsula. On your winery list should be Montalto. Here you can explore the vineyard and enjoy some fine dining or a woodfire pizza and Jackalope. It is known for its architecturally designed building and also offers luxury accommodation. Ten minutes by Tractor, Foxey’s Hangout and Paringa Estate are also well worth a visit.
It is recommended that you stop by The General Store. The beautiful rustic shop sells some of the local wine for you to pick up and enjoy with a charcuterie board. Make sure you take a bottle of wine (or 6) home with you to keep the Mornington Peninsula winery experience alive.
Contributed by Fiona from Travelling Thirties
European Wine Regions
Enjoying the local Austrian wine!
Styria is located between the alps and the Adriatic region, in Austria, and is known for mild weather and a beautiful landscape with rolling hills. Styria is known for 3 major wine growing areas, which are Vulkanland, west and south Styria. All three regions have acquired the DAC status, which is a legal abbreviation given to Austrian quality wine. The Vulkanland is known for fruity, deeply flavored white wines. West Styria is specialized in Rosé wines, and South Styria produces crisp Sauvignon Blanc wine. Local vineyard owners also run their taverns, which are called Buschenschanken. Their specialty is the so called “Heuriger”, which translates as this year’s wine. The Heuriger can only come from Austria, and it has a long-standing tradition. The taverns serve their wines with local meat specialties from the region. Styria is Austria’s best kept secret! A night out at the Buschenschanken is great fun with friends, and you get to taste different wines. Yet, Styria has so much more to offer! The region is known for having the best public accessible thermal hot springs. Its history is also rich, with castles and old towns worth exploring. When in Styria, try to hunt down for its green gold, the pumpkin seed oil. It’s a specialty from the region, great used over salads.
Contributed by Paul of Paul Marina
Loire Valley, France
Castles amongst the vineyards in Loire Valley, France
One of my favourite wine regions is France’s third-biggest wine region, the Loire Valley. I particularly love the diversity of the experiences visitors can get there.
It stretches from the centre of the country to the Atlantic coast. With different climates and soil types, everyone can find a wine they like from this region. The most reputed Loire Valley wines are primarily white wines (Vouvray, Coteaux du Layon, Saumur, Sancerre, Pouilly – one of my favourite), but they also have red wines (Chinon). I found some memorable oenotourism experiences in the Loire Valley, for example, at the Domaine de Noiré in Chinon, where they a horse-drawn carriage tour through the vines to learn more about the wines and taste local products.
But a trip to the Loire Valley is not only about the wines. I enjoyed visiting the Loire Valley castles, which are at least as famous as the wineries, and the region offers excellent cuisine in cute villages.
The Loire Valley starts only 200km south of Paris, so it’s easy to add this destination to any Europe itinerary. It’s possible to go there by train, but the best spots in the region are only accessible by car. A big plus when wine tasting is on the itinerary: there are tours to avoid driving!
Contributed by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes
Vineyards in Provence – one of the best wine regions in the world
Southern France is a well-known destination for many reasons. The agreeable climate, the enchanting hilltop villages, and the expansive lavender fields to name a few. But there is one more attraction visitors from around the world flock to Provence for, and that’s its charming vineyards and excellent wines. Rosé wine leads the charge, with around 88% of the region’s output being pink. But the earthy reds and fruity whites produced in the Provence wine region deserve recognition too. To sample, you don’t need to go any further than the local supermarket’s well-stocked shelves. But perhaps a more enjoyable way to experience the famous rosé is to visit one of the very many wine châteaux that punctuate the countryside. You can find them almost anywhere, just look out for the roadside signs. Or head along to perhaps the most famous, Chateau La Coste near Aix-en-Provence which is renowned for its art & architecture as much as its wine!
Contributed by Nadine from Le Long Weekend
Wineries in Georgia punctured amongst magnificent old buildings and castles
Georgia has been making wine for almost 8,000 years and is considered the birthplace of wine. The country’s east is the most important wine region in an area called Kakheti. Kakheti wine is unique in the way that it is fermented. Grapes are placed with stems and skin in giant clay vessels called qvevri, which are then buried in the ground for vinification. Come springtime, winemakers open the qvevri, which is usually followed by some festival. Kakheti produces various reds and whites, of which Rkatsiteli (white) and Saperavi (red) are the most famous.
Rkatsiteli was my favourite wine I’ve tried in Kakheti. This dry white wine has fruity, spicy and citrusy tones and has a deep amber colour. It’s commonly known as Amber wine, and you should definitely try this unique Kakheti wine. The best place to enjoy Kakaheti wine is in the picturesque town of Sighnaghi. Various wineries in and around town offer ample winetasting opportunities. The outstanding Pheasant’s Tears in town has phenomenal food and wine pairings.
Besides drinking wine, Sighnaghi is a beautiful town to explore with cobbled streets, pastel-coloured houses, Orthodox churches, and grand views. Don’t miss the stunning gardens and frescoes of the Bodbe monastery.
Contributed by De Wet from Museum of Wander
Vineyard in Algarve, Portugal looking very similar to vineyards around the world
The spectacular Algarve, famous for its beautiful coastline with sandstone cliffs, dropping into the turquoise ocean produces some of the best wines in Portugal. Bordering the ocean and protected by the surrounding mountains, the location gives the perfect climate and landscape for the production of fantastic and unique wines. More than 300 days of sunshine per year results in a perfect warm climate and the ocean breeze cools the vines in the evenings.
The beautiful Algarve wine region is home to 4 defined geographical areas; Lagos, Portimao, Lagoa, and Tavira. This wine region has become a popular wine route for visitors to Portugal combining wine tourism with a beach holiday. Don’t miss beautiful natural wonders like the Benagil sea cave and Ponta da Piedade.
The wine route is filled with excellent activities, wine tasting experiences, and accommodation options. With its hot climate the Algarve is best known for red wines produced here. Tinta Negra Mole and Crato Branco are the most popular varietals for production of red wine. Most of the red wines produced are soft, easy drinking wines low in alcohol and acidity. White wines are also produced here; Siria, Alicant-Branco, Moscatel Graudo are the most common cultivars and wines are usually full bodied and fresh.
Contributed by Aya from The Algarve Family
There is no better place to try amazing wine than on the volcanic island of Lanzarote. The wine production is one of a kind and you will probably not find it anywhere else in the world. On the dry land, inhabitants of Lanzarote found a way to cultivate grapes. The volcanic ash is like a shell preventing the soil from drying out.
A visit to the Bodega Barreto winery is one of the best things to do in Lanzarote. I love this place because there are many wine fields that are so unique only to this region. The grapes are surrounded by curved stone walls to protect them from the wind which is very common in Lanzarote.
Outside the winery, there is a row of big barrels that serve as tables. Moreover, huge cactus trees make this place so special. I am sure that you will fall in love not only with Lanzarote’s wine but also with the volcanic scenery that surrounds Bodega Barreto.
Contributed by Paulina from Ukeveryday
Walls of wine in Moldavia
Chișinău is the capital of Moldavia, a small country in Eastern Europe known for great wine. Just next to the capital there are two wineries where many of the most powerful people in the world keep their wine, Cricova and Mileștii Mici. I visited them both and have to say that, even if they share similar history and natural conditions, they are both unique in their own way. One should really visit them both in order to get acquainted with the quality of the wine and the hospitality of the locals.
Both Cricova and Mileștii Mici look like huge underground cities, with streets that have names like Dyonisos, Cabernet, Sauvignon or Lumiere. The tunnels were formed as limestone was extracted. Due to the humidity and constant temperature, ideal conditions for keeping and maturing wine, locals started to store the beloved drink here more than a century ago. In these wineries, I also got to see how champagne is made, by following the traditional French method, even if they are not allowed to use the name and tasted ice wine.
The wineries can be easily reached by taxi as they are 5, respectively 15 km away from the city and taxis in Moldavia are pretty cheap. Wine is also far cheaper than in other regions famous for wine making. The traditional apple and cheese pies in large quantities accompany the wine glasses just perfectly.
Contributed by Raluca of Travel With A Spin
Glass of Madeira wine anyone!
Even though Madeira is a very small island, it is famous for producing the famous Madeira Wine. Whilst many people know Madeira wine as a dessert wine, there are many different varieties, including a dry version and an aperitif.
Wine has been produced in Madeira starting from the 15th century, shortly after the island has been discovered. The vineyards in Madeira are small, and most of the grape plants are grown on man-made terraces, due to the dramatic landscape of the island. Because of it, the grapes can only be picked by hand, as there is no space for automatic equipment.
The process of making Madeira wine is unique. After the grapes are harvested and pressed, the juice is put into barrels and left to oxidize on rooftops, exposed to the natural heat. Madeira wine is a long-lasting wine, that can last for decades, even if the bottle has been opened.
You can learn more about the Madeira wine if you take a tour at one of the distilleries around the island. The most popular one is Blandy’s, in the centre of Funchal. If you visit Madeira, you must order a glass of Madeira wine as an aperitif, before you try some of the delicious food in Madeira, or as a sweet treat, alongside a passionfruit-based dessert.
Contributed by Joanna from World in my Pocket
Malaga, situated in the southern part of Spain in Andalucia, makes one of the largest and most popular wine regions. The province of Malaga has been producing wines for more than 3000 years since the Phoenicians arrived. The wine hub of this province is the city of Malaga.
The Malaga wine region has been famous for its sweet fortified wines. They are made from Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel grape varieties. At present, Malaga has over 3,800 hectares of vineyards producing various grape varieties. One of the most sought-after wines in the region is D.O Malaga. The producers have over 3000 years of experience in wine production and have mastered the art of winemaking. I tried their sweet, fortified white wine that clearly speaks why Malaga is famous for wines. Visitors must also try Sherry, D.O. Montilla-Moriles, and D.O. Granada. These are just to name a few. The province is full of vineyards and wine varieties.
Additionally, there are a lot of things to do in Malaga like La Alcazaba, Roman Theatre, Malaga Cathedral, and more. I liked the diversity of the little province as you get to see everything from culture, history to modern life.
Contributed by Paulina from Paulina on the Road
New Zealand Wine Regions
Wairarapa Wine Region in New Zealand
Sit amongst the vines in New Zealand
The Wairarapa region, only an hour and a half north of Wellington, is one of New Zealand’s lesser-known wine regions. It’s packed with top quality wineries and cute small towns. Plus lots of artisan food producers making snacks to accompany your wine tastings. There are 30+ wineries in and around Martinborough, the main town in the region, giving the town an impressive winery to people ratio of about 1:60.
You can get to the Wairarapa by train from Wellington, however, it’s easiest to get around if you have a car. Given the southerly location, the Wairarapa mostly makes cool-climate wines. The high-tannin pinot noirs are the main speciality of the region.
What I love about the Wairarapa wineries is that they are all small-scale artisan producers, often family businesses. This means that you get super friendly welcomes and lots of knowledge sharing. It’s common that the person pouring the wine at your tasting owns and runs the vineyard and they’re very happy to tell you all about their business. There is also a growing focus on sustainable and organic wine production.
Contributed by Kate from Where in Wellington
South Africa Wine Regions
Stellenbosch, Cape Town
High Mountains overlooking one of the world’s best wine regions
Situated in the Cape Winelands, a short drive from Cape Town, Stellenbosch was the first place where grapes were planted for wine production in South Africa in 1679. The world renowned Stellenbosch wine area is home to more than 150 wine farms forming a network of farms that wine lovers can explore. This was the first organised wine route in South Africa and has been operating since 1971.
Most wine farms have a dedicated tasting room and well trained staff to assist you with the tasting. Many tasting rooms are spectacular venues with fantastic views. Some of the wine farms also have world class fine dining restaurants with some of the top chefs in the country.
The hot, dry climate is fantastic conditions for production of quality red-wine grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab blends account for most of the top reds produced in the Stellenbosch area followed by Shiraz, Pinotage and Merlot. The Cool breeze from the ocean in False Bay creates a nice climate for growing white grapes. Chenin Blanc is the most common cultivar and many award winning Chardonnays are made in Stellenbosch. The area is well known for Pinotage wines. This red grape was created in Stellenbosch in 1925 by Prof Abraham Perold at Stellenbosch University.
Contributed by Campbell Louw of Stingy Nomads
South America Wine Regions
Mendoza Wine Region
Mendoza is a city located in the mountainous area of Western Argentina, within the Cuyo region. It’s best known for its wine, and most notably the popular Malbec. Due to its geographical positioning and rugged terrain, it has some of the most favourable conditions for red wine, and produces some of the best brands in the world. One of the most popular activities to do is to explore the Maipu Valley by bike, where you’ll visit many wineries and bodegas along the way. Mendoza is also home to the massive Parque San Martín, which is a great way to spend the day getting lost in nature. Another reason many visit Mendoza is to hike Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain in South America. We liked Mendoza as it has a very safe and cosmopolitan feel to it, and also has a ton of cool things to see and do. For anyone who is backpacking South America or on an extravagant trip through Argentina, we would say Mendoza is a must-visit staple along the way.”
Contributed by Dan & George from Backpacking Latin America
Add Mexican wine to your Mexican holiday!
When you think about wine, Mexico does not really come to mind and very few people know about Mexico’s wine regions. There are over 10 wine countries in Mexico but my most favorite is Queretaro.
Queretaro is a state in Mexico with a capital bearing the same name (Queretaro City). It is just 2.5 hours from Mexico City Airport and about an hour and a half from Silao Airport. Although Queretaro is not the biggest wine producing state in Mexico, the vineyards here are growing every year with the help of their annual Wine and Cheese Festival. This festival is held for four weekends in June with different wine themes every weekend.
At present, there are less than 20 vineyards in Queretaro, all of which are specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Most producers at least have one rose or one white but this region is heavy on the reds. Some of the best vineyards to visit include Viñedos Azteca, Viñedo de Cote, Viñedos del Polo, Viñedo Donato, Freixenet, De Cote, La Redonda, San Juanito, Puerta del Lobo, Donato Queretaro and Viñedos Los Rosales.
I recommend Queretaro as a weekend trip to Mexico as there are many direct flights from the US/Canada to Mexico City and Silao Airports. This destination is also ideal for those who are looking for not so popular places to visit in Mexico. This will definitely change what you think and know about Mexico as this country’s southern peninsula (Cancun, Tulum, and the whole state of Quintana Roo) are more commercialized and busy tourist spots. San Miguel de Allende (SMA) is also an hour away and there are also many vineyards in the state where SMA is located (state of Guanajuato). These 2 wine trips can be combined easily.
Contributed by Trisha from Mexico Insider
USA Wine Regions
Missouri River Valley, USA
The Missouri River Valley used to be the wine industry capital of America before Napa Valley took the title in California. It’s most popular wine destinations are Hermann and Augusta, Missouri. The Norton Grape is the official grape of Missouri, so they are famous for making wine with this particular grape. These grapes produce red wines with a rich flavor.
German immigrants settled in the Missouri River Valley in the 1800’s and began growing wine in the region. So towns like Hermann and Augusta have a rich history of producing wine in the region. Today, visitors can explore the many wines around this area of Missouri. Towns like Hermann offer shuttle buses from winery to winery, so you can safely visit each winery.
Some of my favorite wineries in the region include Noboleis Vineyards in Augusta and Stone Hill Winery in Hermann. Each winery has comfortable outdoor seating areas, gorgeous views of the rolling hills and forests, and great wine!
Contributed by Brandon of Zimmerman Around the World
Napa Valley, California, USA
World-renowned Napa Valley, California
The Napa Valley is home to 16 AVA wine regions located just north of San Francisco and the San Pablo Bay. It’s steep hillsides, special soil composition, and unique microclimate make it the best place in the world to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. The Napa Valley is also home to some of the best Chardonnay from wineries like Chateau Montelena which won the Judgement of Paris besting the finest from France. This legendary competition spread the word about Napa wines; now the valley is home to over 400 wineries.
Our visits to the Napa Valley have always been about luxury and enjoying the spoils of life. We loved visiting and exploring the multi-million dollar wineries. This was also the perfect opportunity to have a meal at some of the world’s highest-rated restaurants like the French Laundry. There is also an endless amount of opulent accommodations ranging from 5 diamond hotels to stunning boutique inns. After a good night’s sleep, we rode a gondola to the top of the mountain to taste wines and follow it up with a visit to a winery inside of a castle. This is why the Napa Valley draws in close to 4 million visitors annually.
Contributed by Gabriel of Chef Travel Guide
Northern Virginia Wine Region
Vines in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia is home to dozens of award winning wineries. They come with the added bonus of being within just a few hours drive from Washington, D.C. and the northern Virginia suburbs. Many of the northern Virginia wineries are located in western Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Fauquier County off the main routes of Interstate 66, Route 50 toward Middleburg, and Route 7 toward Leesburg. You can easily reach several wineries within several miles of each other.
Northern Virginia is well known for the light white wine Viognier and for the hearty red Norton wine. Some of my favorite wineries to visit in the area include Paradise Springs, which is conveniently located relatively close to D.C. in Clifton, Virginia. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, which features lovely rolling hills and a fabulous collection of robust wines. And Grey Ghost Vineyards, a personal favorite of mine, which features an excellent Gewurztraminer.
There are a number of other attractions in the northern Virginia region that are worth a visit. Great Falls National Park in McLean, VA, is one of the top natural attractions in the area and a great destination for hiking. I also enjoy pairing a winery visit with a trip to the town of Clifton. It features several cute shops and restaurants that are worth a visit. The historic town of Middleburg is another great place to explore when visiting the nearby wineries. There are several resorts and B&Bs in town that make it a great stop for an overnight weekend wine tour.
Contributed by Merry from Virginia Vacation Guide
Which Wine Region of the World will You Choose to Visit?