When we think of wine regions, our minds often jump to the famous names: Napa Valley, Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Champagne. But there are many wine regions around the world that are lesser-known, yet just as worthy of a visit. These off-the-beaten-path destinations offer unique wine experiences, stunning scenery, and a chance to taste wines that you won't find anywhere else. Here are some of the top wine regions to visit that are less heard of:
- Colchagua Valley, Chile - Located in the central part of Chile, Colchagua Valley is known for its red wines, especially Carmenere. This grape variety was once thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in Chile in the 1990s. In addition to wine tasting, visitors can enjoy horseback riding, hot air balloon rides, and cycling through the vineyards.
- Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - Despite being one of the oldest wine regions in the world, Bekaa Valley is not well-known outside of the Middle East. The valley's hot and dry climate is perfect for producing full-bodied red wines made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. In addition to wine tasting, visitors can explore ancient Roman ruins and enjoy traditional Lebanese cuisine.
Kakheti, Georgia - Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world, and Kakheti is its most famous wine region. The region is known for its orange wines, which are made by fermenting white grapes with their skins, seeds, and stems. Visitors can stay in traditional Georgian guesthouses, attend wine festivals, and visit ancient monasteries and churches.
- Lavaux, Switzerland - Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lavaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of Switzerland's best wines. The steeply terraced vineyards are planted with Chasselas grapes, which produce crisp and refreshing white wines. Visitors can take a train or boat tour of the vineyards, visit medieval towns, and enjoy panoramic views of the lake and mountains.
- Mendoza, Argentina - While Argentina is known for its Malbec, the Mendoza region produces a wide range of other varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. Visitors can take a bike tour of the vineyards, go horseback riding in the Andes Mountains, and explore the region's many art galleries and museums.
- Nagano, Japan - While Japan may not be the first country that comes to mind when you think of wine, the Nagano region is making a name for itself with its award-winning wines. The region's cool climate is perfect for producing delicate white wines made from grapes like Koshu and Chardonnay. Visitors can enjoy hot springs, visit ancient temples and shrines, and try traditional Japanese cuisine.
- Swartland, South Africa - While South Africa is best known for its Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, the Swartland region is gaining a reputation for producing unique wines that reflect the region's rugged landscape. Visitors can explore the region's wine farms by car or bike, attend local music festivals, and hike in the nearby mountains.
- Okanagan Valley, Canada - Located in British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is Canada's second-largest wine region and produces some of the country's best wines. The region is known for its crisp white wines and full-bodied reds made from grapes like Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. Visitors can explore the region's vineyards by bike, go on a wine tasting tour by boat, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking