If you're dreaming of a wine-tasting vacation, chances are that you already know the basics--Napa Valley, Champagne and Burgundy, for instance. However, if you want to try some of the unusual top wine destinations for 2016 that are producing some of the truly spectacular wines, you can step outside of that box and try something new.
Let's Explore The Top Wine Destinations!
Whether you prefer red or white, fruity or earthy, light or full-bodied, you're sure to find a location where you can taste your ideal wine in the very site where it's picked, pressed and bottled.
Valais holds the finest vineyards in Switzerland (hence it being one of the top wine destinations!) --but they're a well-kept secret because only 1 to 2 percent of their wines are exported. If you want to try the best Switzerland has to offer, you'll have to travel to Valais yourself, where you can try up to 200 varieties of grapes that are grown into unique varieties of wine like Armigne, Heida, and Durize. Whites here often have a signature stony, mineral taste. Furthermore, with the friendly Swiss citizens and the breathtaking views of the Alps, you'll find yourself with much more to enjoy about your vacation than the amazing wine.
The vineyards in Mosel, Germany's top wine-growing region, have been described as closer to small, beautiful parks than anything else, with winding hiking paths along the Mosel River that give this wine destination a wonderful "roughing it" feel. Picturesque German villages add to the feeling of an ideal stroll through a wine-drenched countryside. The vineyards turn out excellent wines, including a resurgence of the oft-derided Riesling. You'll never know how full a Riesling's flavor can be until you try one in Mosel.
If the thought of kosher wine makes you wrinkle your nose at the remembered taste of Manischewitz, it's time to expand your horizons. Boutique wineries have started cropping up around the country, turning Israel into one of the world's top wine destinations. While only a few vineyards are offering private tastings at this point, those vineyards have wines you shouldn't miss. Vineyards have moved from the humid coastline to the drier, cooler Judean Hills and Golan Heights; now a country that has been producing wine since Biblical times is creating tastes that are worthy of that long-standing heritage.
Mt. Etna, Sicily
If you want to take in gorgeous volcanic mountain views over the Mediterranean sea while sipping delicious reds and whites, Mt. Etna is one of the top wine destinations you shouldn't miss. Because wine tourism in Mt. Etna is still in its infancy, you'll have to make your own itinerary rather than relying on the sorts of guided wine tours you'd find in Tuscany. For an independent-minded Italian wine lover, however, Mt. Etna offers a superb combination of wine, food, and culture.
The Rhone Valley, France
If you don't like the idea of choosing your own itinerary at Mt. Etna, the Rhone Valley may be right up your alley. As France's second-largest wine region, the Rhone Valley has multiple wine trails and a dizzying variety of wine types for every palate. The most famous grape in the Rhone Valley is the Syrah, which produces a red wine with a rich, peppery flavor. Beyond wine, the region also has a marvelous array of historical treasures, with Renaissance and medieval buildings, art, and cultural opportunities galore. The historical and wine-loving aspects come together best in the famous village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which provided wine for the Avignon popes and still makes exquisite reds today.
The rolling hills of Piemonte produce two of the finest red wines in the world: barolo and barbaresco. Not coincidentally, those two wines also taste fabulous with the regional cuisine, so a trip to Piemonte is sure to have pitch perfect food and wine pairings. Because Piemonte is a lesser known wine destination than the Rhone Valley or Valais, you can avoid fighting the crowds while still not compromising on wine quality. Because of the lack of overcrowding, Piemonte is astonishingly welcoming for tourists, with some small vintners setting up their homes as B&B's for wine tourists and others offering appointment-free tastings.
Santorini is a breathtaking paradise island, with beautiful architecture and perfect beaches. It also happens to produce some truly spectacular wine, which many claim is the best in Greece. The volcanic soil lends acidity to the grapes, and like the wines from Piemonte, Santorini's wines pair beautifully with local foods like squid, octopus, and fish. Santorini is also home to some unique grape varieties such as Assyrtiko, Athyri, and Aidani, giving you the chance to try wines that you truly cannot taste in any other part of the world.
The Republic of Georgia
The former Soviet nation of Georgia is quickly becoming a wine hotspot--not so much because of its unique grapes, as with some of the other regions, but because of its fermentation methods. Georgian vintners have traditionally fermented, aged, and stored wine in clay amphorae called kvevris. The resulting wines have a much stronger body and more robust taste structure, sometimes giving white wines a level of potency that one normally only finds in reds.
Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas doesn't have a single vineyard in sight--but it still prides itself on its wine tourism. That's because the glitzy city can afford to bring in unique vintages from around the world, with sommeliers who are ready to tell you exactly what unusual wine best fits your preferences. If you want to tour a vineyard, watch how wines are made, and sample a specific wine from a certain region, steer clear of Vegas. If you want the chance to sample a "best of" list of wines from around the world, Vegas might be a worthwhile--if completely unorthodox--and fun wine destination.