There’s nothing quite as satisfying as sipping on a glass of wine produced just minutes from your patio, which is why wine-tasting tours are so popular. But planning a holiday to the French wine regions like Bordeaux and Champagne is all too predictable (no shade there, everyone knows French wine regions hold an unparalleled prestige).
Instead, why not spruce up your itinerary by visiting one of the many other wine regions around the world? From the far-flung reaches of the Okanagan Valley in Canada to the nearer Yarra Valley in Australia, it’s the perfect opportunity to expand your palate to savour more than just your standard bottle of red wine.
To quench your never-ending thirst for the best wines, here are our recommendations of the best wine regions around the world that are not in France.
Okanagan Valley, Canada
Yes, Canadians make more than just the best maple syrup in the world. The Okanagan Valley is home to more than 80 percent of all vineyards in the province of British Columbia, with over 185 wineries in the region. There, expect the signature Canadian hospitality, a multitude of wine varietals to pair with some of the freshest salmon, and picturesque views of the mountains.
Best known for: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay
Yarra Valley, Australia
Just a hop and a skip away from Melbourne lies the Yarra Valley, one of Australia’s best regions for you to wine and dine. The combination of Melbourne’s brunch culture coupled with a bottle or two of sparkling wine from Domaine Chandon will make for the perfect summer afternoon.
Best known for: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz
Limari Valley, Chile
Lovers of white wine, or specifically chardonnay, should make the journey across the Pacific Ocean to the Limari Valley in Chile. In just 20 years, the region has grown from a producer of goat cheese to one of the biggest Chilean wine exporters despite it being one of the driest climates in the world. But thanks to the sandwich effect of the Andes mountains and the Pacific, it creates a suitable climate for the grapes to grow.
Best known for: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc
Franschhoek Valley, South Africa
Down in South Africa is the Cape Winelands, and a part of it is the Franschhoek Valley. The latter is coined the “food and wine capital” of South Africa for its superb gastronomic scene and (obviously) the wine estates that date back to the Huguenots that settled in over 300 years ago. If you’re time-strapped and only have a day or two, book a trip aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram for either a hop-on-hop-off experience or a full-day tour to select wineries. Have a bit more time? Embark on the curated wine experience, which includes wine tastings and even a three-course meal.
Best known for: Méthode Cap Classique, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma Valley, United States of America
Just adjacent to the prestigious Napa Valley is the more laid-back Sonoma Valley. No one is better than the other, for the former is more suited to high-rollers who pull up in stretch limousines, and the latter for a relaxing afternoon sipping on some Chardonnay on a wooden patio. The best time to visit would be around September to October for crisp autumn weather with none of the summer crowds.
Best known for: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon
UPDATE (1 AUG 2019): The Franschhoek Valley, South Africa text was edited to clarify that the wine tasting and three-course meal are part of a curated tour.