We could be sipping on a glass of two of Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz to accompany our dinner, we could settle in on the couch with a glass of vintage Merlot, or we could be sharing a bubbly bottle of Prosecco in a time of celebration with our nearest and dearest. Regardless of the situation, we’re blessed to never be short of opportunities to enjoy a glass of wine.
From the sunny valleys of South Australia to the historic, centuries-old vineyards scattered across various European countries, and then over the diverse wine-centric cities throughout the USA, wine snobs will have no trouble rejoicing with the plethora of blends on offer.
10 Adelaide, Australia
The capital city of South Australia often falls into the shadows of its bigger neighbors in Sydney and Melbourne to the east. What Adelaide does boast, however, is an exceptional winemaking scene. There are two winemaking areas easily accessible from the main Adelaide area, with McLaren Vale on the outskirts of the city, and the world-famous Barossa Valley tucked a little further away to the north.
Easily one of the best areas for food and wine across the entire country, and one of the world’s frontrunners too, the Barossa Valley’s reputation precedes it. Shiraz grapes are the local speciality, so make sure to sample a few variations from the many cellar doors throughout the region.
9 Anchorage, Alaska, USA
We know what you’re thinking: it’s way too cold to grow any grapes up in the land of polar bears and icebergs. While that’s somewhat of an accurate statement for large portions of the year, the winemakers of Anchorage haven’t let it slow them down whatsoever.
The region actually thrives in berry wines, specializing in variations such as strawberry, raspberry, and rhubarb. To sample some of the best pours on offer, slide into the Anchorage branch of the Bear Creek Wineries, check out Denali, or head over by ferry to one of the many wineries spread across Kodiak Island.
8 San Francisco, California, USA
The windy city makes its way onto this wine-centric list thanks to its proximity to the Sonoma Valley area to its north. The Sonoma Valley is one of the largest winemaking areas across California, which, as a whole, produces 90% of all domestic wines. Across the region, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the specialties, both of which are considered some of the world’s best blends.
As for the inner-city options for wine-lovers, there’s plenty on offer. Bluxome Street Winery is conveniently located among the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco, while The Winery SF on Treasure Island comes highly recommended as well.
7 Melbourne, Australia
We’re heading back to the great Land Down Under for our next stop on this marvelous wine journey across the world. The capital city of Victoria is known for plenty of things, including its fantastic coffee culture and diverse nightlife. It’s also starting to get a reputation for its excellent wine, thanks to the plethora of wineries dotted through the Yarra Valley, situated about 45 minutes east of the city center.
There are plenty of tours that take visitors to and from the wineries, including Hop It, a hop-on-hop-off minibus that allows wine connoisseurs to sample their favorite blends without worrying about needing a designated driver.
6 Geneva, New York
Nestled in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region is the small city of Geneva, which acts as a central point to over 100 local wineries. The area predominantly produces Chardonnay, Riesling and Cabernet Franc, but also dabbles in a few native blends.
The best way for visitors to see (and taste, of course) as many wines as possible is to take the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. It flows through the heart of Finger Lakes Wine Country and comprises of 31 different wineries. Considering that it’s only a two-hour drive from the world-famous Niagara Falls, it would be criminal of any wine-lover to avoid a stop in Geneva if road tripping through the area.
5 Porto, Portugal
Port wine, a popular dessert variation that comes off much sweeter than the traditional reds, is created exclusively in Portugal’s Douro Valley, which spreads across the country’s northern provinces. As the largest major city in the area, and sharing the name with the type of wine itself, it should come as no surprise that Porto is therefore considered one of the wine capitals of the world.
Caves Ferreira, which has been producing port for almost 300 years, is one of the must-visit wineries in the region, while Caves Cálem comes highly recommended as a spot to check out as well.
4 Venice, Italy
The beautiful floating city of Venice makes its way onto this list thanks to its proximity to Italy’s Prosecco region. In the same vein as Porto’s relationship with Port wine, it’s pretty easy to put two and two together and realize that Prosecco in Italy is all about - you guessed it - Prosecco!
There are plenty of tours that depart from the Venice mainland that explore the area world-famous for its sparkling white wine, and most of the wineries are within an hour's drive. The pick of the bunch are Villa Sandi, Bortolomiol, and Bisol, which has been producing for centuries, since 1542!
3 Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Not only is Asheville the unofficial craft beer capital of America, with more breweries per capita than any other city across the county, but it also boasts a seriously impressive wine game. In retrospect, that should come as no surprise, considering that it’s home to more than 100 wineries.
Spread around the city, with a few up in the mountains as well, Asheville’s wineries combine to offer up various blends of everything from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Chardonnay, Syrah, and Riesling.
2 Cape Town, South Africa
The western South African city of Cape Town might be known more for its shark diving and the imposing Table Mountain, but it also has a very impressive wine industry. Just outside of the city are the Cape Winelands, which have been producing variations of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Pinot Noir for decades.
Only in recent years, however, have South African wines started to make their mark on the worldwide wine scene and receive the recognition they deserve. One of the most famous wine farms is Groot Constantia, which should be worked into any Cape Town itinerary.
1 Santorini, Greece
While it might be associated with its incredible sunsets over the Aegean Sea and famously picturesque aesthetic, the beautiful Greek island of Santorini has a little-known thriving wine scene as well. The area is known for its variations of whites and dessert wines rather than its reds, and it is also proudly the home of the oldest vineyard in Europe.
Take our word for it - once you’ve had a glass or two while looking over the water at dusk, you’ll never want to leave. There are a handful of tour options, such as Santorini Wine Adventure Tours, or you can explore the island’s wine scene at your own pace.