Who doesn't like a bit of wine now and then? What's great about it is that different people enjoy it for different reasons. Some enjoy it almost as a game - the subtle intricacies of the flavours provide a good taste-bud workout for the budding connoisseur. Others - and by others, I mean myself - don't see further than the fact it has an ABV percentage. What of it? You're not my mum.
Anyway, instead of judging my sad and uncultured existance, let's instead journey together through wine country and have a look at some of the best destinations for the vino enthusiast. These locations were suggested to us by the good members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com. Remember to leave your car keys at home...
PICNIC IN HEALDSBURG, CALIFORNIA
Situated just off Highway 128 in Healdsburg, CA Jimtown Store, a self-proclaimed country store and café with a wider worldview, serves up delicious salads, sandwiches, soups and entrees all made from scratch. Stop in here and pick up a bite before heading next door to family run Hawkes Vineyards and Winery. The small tasting room is unassuming even though it sits on some of the most beautiful property in all of Alexander Valley. You can taste many wines or ask one of the knowledgeable staff to find the perfect pair for your meal. Grab your wine and food and head out to their vineyard where you can enjoy your picnic and delicious wine, while looking at the gorgeous view.
VINO MEXICO, VALLE DE GUADALUPE, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
Let’s be honest. When people think of wine regions, Mexico is probably not at the top of the list. But over the last 20 years, the quality of wine from Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California has caught the eye of many. Now complete with its very own wine route, the Guadalupe Valley offers a South of the Border experience allowing visitors to the area to choose from over 50 wineries, a dozen small hotels and B&Bs, and even fine dining. VirtualTourist members recommend checking out the wines and the view at Vinas de Garza and insist that dinner at Laja, which has been dubbed Mexico’s version of French Laundry, is a must.
WINE AND CHESS, ANCIENT LAKES OF COLUMBIA VALLEY, WASHINGTON
Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley, more commonly known as Quincy Basin, became an official American Viticultural Area in the state of Washington in 2012. With only six wineries and commercial vineyards in the area, this is a fantastic region to visit for those looking to avoid the crowds, for now. VirtualTourist members noted that White Heron Cellars located above the Columbia River offers a good selection of wines as well as various outdoor activities. After grabbing a glass of your favorite poor from the tasting room, head outside to the oversized chessboard or partake in a game of petanque, the French version of bocce.
CYCLING IN YARRA VALLEY, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s first wine growing region and today is recognized as one of Australia’s top cool climate producers. For wine lovers looking to enjoy not only great tasting wine, but really take in the scenery, Yarra Valley offers the perfect terrain for cyclists of all levels. One of the most popular routes is to start at the northern end of Lilydale and wind your way through to Warburton. With a mostly fine gravel surface taking you through open forest, farmland and hills, there are plenty of great cafes, pubs, restaurants and wineries to experience along the trail.
KEEPING IT FRESH, LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK
The youngest and fastest growing region in New York, Long Island Wine Region is quickly becoming known as one of the most diverse in America. With just 17 acres planted 30 years ago, the area now boasts more than 3,000 and produces both red and white varietals. VirtualTourists members say that while enjoying a day of wine tasting that visitors should be sure to check out the many Farm Stands in the area which offer everything from fresh fruit and produce to cheese and pies.