Whether you're an avid drinker or not, wine tours can be exciting ways to get to know a country's culture. Plenty of wineries have their own special methods of brewing and producing wine, and many of them have been around for decades. But of course, there are many more interesting wine tours across the world than the old favourites Tuscany and Napa Valley.
If you're in the mood for something off the beaten path, here are some unique wine tours from around the world.
Vinho Verde, Portugal
Vinho Verde is the largest vineyard in Portugal, spanning over 34,000 hectares along the Portuguese-Spanish border, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean and Porto. Although Vinho Verde literally translates to “green wine," the local translation is closer to “young wine” as their wine doesn't need to mature for too long before getting bottled and ready for consumption. Visit Vinho Verde to see the secret behind their “sparkle” – a special type of in-bottle fermentation that generates that bit of carbon dioxide, giving their wine that extra fizz.
Many wineries have been around for decades (even centuries), but few are as rich with history as The Sottomarino Winery. Located in San Francisco, California, the Sottomarino is situated on a former military base in Treasure Island, an old World War II naval facility. What was once known as the USS Buttercup submarine is now a two-level winery that offers classic Italian varietals and a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay waterfront.
Image Credit: Sottomarino Winery
Western Cape, South Africa
If submarines aren’t your thing, hop on the next plane to South Africa where you can experience a unique boat wine tour in one of Western Cape’s wineries, namely: Constantia, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch or Paarl. The only things these four have in common is the 5.5-hour shark breach and cave dives its visitors have to go through, before tasting some of the area’s locally made produce. They are particularly famous for their Chenin Blanc white and Pinotage, a red wine cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault.
Image Credit: Capey Tours
Marisa Cuomo, Italy
There are hundreds of wineries in Italy, but Marisa Cuomo takes the cake for most dramatic and breathtaking scenery. This winery is perched on a cliff along the Amalfi Coast, 1,300 feet above sea level. Unlike the usual vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see, Marisa Cuomo clings to the limestone cliff face overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Their wine cellar is also carved into the cliff side and filled with some of the finest-tasting white wine in all of Italy.
Image Credit: The Grand Wine Tour
La Trinidad, The Philippines
Wine may not be one of the country’s top exports, but the Philippines’ distinctive climate and local culture has given birth to unique wines that can only be found in this particular region.
The town of La Trinidad is famous for its strawberry wine made from locally sourced produce. Every year, the town holds an annual Strawberry Wine Fair to showcase and celebrate their authentic fruit wine. Plus, the locals also allow visitors to handpick their own strawberries during November to May.
Image Credit: The Backpack Adventures
El Grifo, Spain
Grapes grow almost anywhere – even on volcanoes. El Grifo, the oldest winery in the Canary Islands, is proof of this. El Grifo produces wine from local Malvasía grapes – a fruit whose vines grow out of volcanic ash and surrounds itself with low volcanic stone walls to protect them from the wind and getting too dry. Explore its unique lava gravel vineyards for yourself, and sample some of the fieriest wines on the planet.
Image Credit: Lanzarote Holidays
Hahndorf Hill, Australia
Hahndorf Hill Winery, based in the Adelaide Hills region, is famous for two things: their Austrian grape varieties and “Chocovino." Simply put, ChocoVino is based on the concept of terroir, which is the taste of a plant brought about by its soil. This means that all wine-chocolate pairings at Hahndorf Hill Winery are all tied to their terroir. Guests are invited to a room overlooking the Adelaide hillside and are taught how to properly “taste” their products with all five senses. After this course, you’re sure to have a newfound appreciation for both treats.
Image Credit: South Australia Tourism
Exclusively written for blog.winetourismportugal.com
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