Wine tourism is becoming extremely popular, and sipping a glass of Chianti in Tuscany, tasting Malbec in Argentina and sampling Sauvignon Blanc in Chile are atop many wine fans’ bucket lists this year. For this guide, we look at locations where one can pair relaxation with the world’s best wines.
Wine is intertwined with culture the world over. Over recent years, the merits of drinking it have swung back and forth; some will swear it is good for you, while others will say no alcohol is good for you. However, in my opinion, the argument has been well and truly settled, and it is due to the comments of British Professor of genetic epidemiology, medical doctor and science writer Timothy David Spector OBE FMedSci.
Of the multitude of people offering opinions on nutrition, the one person we tend to trust above all others concerning this complicated area is Professor Spector. As the head of the ZOE Health Study, he is regularly asked for his views on mainstream television and in conversations with other leading health experts. Over the years, Professor Spector has revealed how little the world knows about what our bodies need and how much we’ve been taught was wrong.
In one groundbreaking study, titled “Red Wine Consumption Associated With Increased Gut Microbiota α-Diversity in 3 Independent Cohorts”, published in Gastrojounal.org, Professor Spector and his team of researchers from the Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology found that people who drink red wine had an increased gut microbiota diversity, along with lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Recently, we’ve been writing about the importance of the letter ‘M’ in 2023 and onwards, incorporating meditation, microbiome and mindfulness. Professor Spector’s positive view on red wine is the ideal incentive for us to publish a piece using some information provided by our friends at Panache Cruises, which highlights the fantastic places people can learn about and experience the world’s finest wines.
Over the past ten years, Alentejo has become a key component in Portugal’s wine revival and is a well-known region for wine fans. The wine produced here is typically made with a black grape called Tempranillo, which produces full-bodied red wines.
The preferred choice of white grape in the area is Antao Vaz, which is known for producing a good acidity level and some rather splendid tropical fruit flavours. One of the must-visit wine producers in this area is the Cartuxa Winery in Alentejo’s capital Évora, which produces the famous Pêra-Manca wine.
Tuscany is much more than a picturesque location with mediaeval architecture, beautiful countryside and masterful works of art; it is also known for being the home to some of Italy’s finest Wines, including Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
One of the best places for wine fans to visit in Tuscany, and the reason why is rather obvious, is Chianti, home to beautiful hilltop towns and picturesque vineyards and, of course, its namesake red wine.
La Rioja, Spain
The name alone should be a clue as to why it should be a must-visit place for wine fans. La Rioja is located in a remote region in northern Spain and is regarded by many as Spain’s largest and best destination for wine. Aside from the multitude of wine producers, there is also the incredible landscape for visitors to enjoy, alongside some excellent museums for those wanting to know more about its history.
The area is known for producing excellent value-for-money wines of consistently good quality. Ninety per cent of the wine produced here is red, with sparkling, white and rosé wines accounting for the remainder.
Hunter Valley, Australia
Situated in one of the world’s top wine countries, Hunter Valley is famous for its award-winning wines and is home to the country’s first commercial vineyards. Vineyards dating back to the 1860s, the stunning scenery and the opportunity to taste delicious wines make the site so attractive to visitors.
The area is known for a mix of traditional and innovative varieties, with a growing list of alternative varieties being produced alongside the classics Chardonnay and Shiraz.
Mendoza sits at the foot of the country, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. The region is home to extensive vineyards, which produces around seventy per cent of the country’s wine.
The shining star of this region is white Malbec; however, it also produces red wines of great intensity and concentration. Another of the big draws for wine fans to this region is the extensive planting of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Torrontes and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Vinhedos Valley, Brazil
Brazil is best known for its jungle, carnival and tropical beaches, so it might come as a surprise that it appears in this guide for best destinations for wine fans. The place to head to in Brazil is the Vinhedos Valley, regarded as the country’s wine region due to its proliferation of wineries, vineyards and farms.
It is also home to Moet & Chandon’s outpost, which is responsible for the mass production of sparkling wine in the region. In addition, it houses many smaller boutique family wineries that utilise less than a hectare of vines. Although the wine types made here are what we would call “made in Brazil”, in essence, their heritage and roots are steeped in Italy, which is why it is becoming a popular destination for wine tourism.
As the wine-growing region of Chile, Casablanca Valley has built a reputation for producing crisp white wines made from the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grape varieties. These grapes have gained recognition as one of Chile’s quality wine regions, with wine companies from around the country and abroad looking to invest in the area to boost their wine portfolio.
If you would like more information on exploring the world’s wine capitals via luxury cruise lines, please visit https://www.panachecruises.com/.
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