If you’re anything like me, you are both a travel and wine enthusiast, and I enjoy combining the two as much as possible. I am a sucker for a good wine tour, a great wine bar and I always try, if possible to enjoy, for better or worse, trying out locally produced wines everywhere I visit.
Over the past seven years, I have spent time exploring the world, city by city, drinking in both the culture, and the wine, learning as much as I can about both. To prevent you from bad wine and making a ‘pour’ decision – because no one got time for that, I have compiled below 6 of my favourite wine experiences from around the world, all tried and tested by me – some several times over, because for some wines, are worth going back for more. You’ll definitely be adding these to you travel-bucket list, post-isolation…
And for good ‘measure’, I have thrown in some great stories, and fun facts! So this year for International Wine Day, pour a glass, sit back and let me take you around the world whilst you’re in the comfort of your own home, because ‘Wine, Not’!
I can’t create a list of the best wine experiences without the mention of Waiheke, and putting it at the top! Waiheke is an island in New Zealand, about an hour’s ferry ride from Auckland. Waiheke is known for its wine tours, and there are plenty to choose from. You can experience a huge selection of wines on the island, as well as explore the sights, panoramic views and collection of billionaires homes. It really is a wonderful day out!
Wein & Co, Austria. I have visited Vienna a couple of times, and this is one of my favourite wine bars to visit in the city. Though a little on the expensive side, the wine selection is wonderful and they know what they are talking about when it comes to grapes. I love the style of the wine bar, it’s comfortable, cosy and welcoming. One of my best memories there was sitting doing a crossword puzzle, whilst killing time before heading back to the airport.
I can’t not mention Komiza, Croatia. Komiza is a small town on the island of Vis, about a 2 hour ferry ride from Split. I visit Komiza every year in September for a music festival Goulash, but I also love to visit the town and harbour to explore the small, but diverse array of restaurants and shops that it has, as well as to sit and watch the fish and the world go by. Much of Vis island is devoted to vineyards and they are renowned for producing the white wine Vugava, and red wine Plavac. Winemaking has a long history on the island, dating back to the Greeks. The white wine grape was brought to the island by the Romans. We bought a local bottle of red wine from a local shop and it was one of the nicest reds I have ever tasted. Pairing it with great friends, dinner, a Croatian a sunset and a party afterwards surely added to the taste.
Plum wine, or Umeshu (梅酒) is a Japanese liqueur made by steeping fresh Japanese plum in white liquor and sugar. The taste offers both sweet and sour flavours, with a very fruity aroma. It is one of the nicest flavoured wines I have ever tasted. I tried Plum wine in Tokyo and was hooked! It’s a great dessert wine, or if you just fancy a glass. On another note, Tokyo is one of my favourite places in the world, and it is definitely worth a visit, for much more than the wine!
Cold red wine. Yes, you read that right. Red wine is traditionally served unchilled at room temperature, but Valencia doesn’t follow the rules and are actually doing it the right way. The belief that red wine should be served at room temperature predates the days of central heating. The houses that could afford wine, were often cool and unheated so the bottles were left outside. This is something that people during the Victorian era, through to modern times have continued to do, believing that red wine should be served unchilled. Cold red wine has its benefits – being served chilled brings out its flavours and produces a more fresh, and light taste and experience.
Disney – wasn’t expecting this one was you! The first time I visited Disney World Florida, I was 8. The second, and third time, I was well into my twenties, and guess what? You can order wine from most of the parks, making for a very different experience. In fact the only park you can’t order wine from is Magical Kingdom. Wine is in such demand at Disney, there are hundreds of designated blogs to the subject, and Disney hosts after dark events, and Disney Epcot even hosts an International Food and Wine Festival. I wouldn’t recommend drinking too much (health and safety disclaimer), but I can confidently say, it definitely adds to the experience.