8 unusual wine destinations to check out around the world

Sep 11 2023, 9:28 pm

For the adventurous wine lover seeking to explore unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences, the world offers plenty of unconventional wine tourism destinations.

Beyond the famed vineyards of France, Italy, and California, hidden gems await in Croatia, China, Mexico, Georgia, the Canary Islands, Uruguay, India, and Chile.

These extraordinary wine regions offer distinct cultural, historical, and geographical characteristics that set them apart from traditional wine destinations.

Croatia

 

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Nestled along the Adriatic coast, Croatia’s wine tourism scene has been gaining serious momentum over the past decade. The country’s diverse geography, consisting of rocky coastlines, fertile plains, and rugged mountains, lends itself to a rich array of grape varieties. Croatian wines, especially those from Istria and Dalmatia, are celebrated for their indigenous grape varieties and traditional winemaking methods.

Tourists can savour the unique flavours of GraÅ”evina, Malvasia Istriana, and Plavac Mali, among others, while immersing themselves in the country’s vibrant history and breathtaking landscapes.

China

 

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China may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of wine tourism, but the country’s winemaking history dates back thousands of years. Today, regions like Ningxia and Xinjiang are garnering international attention for producing world-class wines. Chinese vineyards often integrate traditional Chinese architecture, creating a visually captivating experience.

Moreover, the chance to explore the evolving world of Chinese wine and its blend of Old and New World winemaking techniques makes this a compelling destination for the adventurous oenophile.

Mexico

Mexico’s wine country, specifically the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, is still relatively undiscovered despite its excellent wines and beautiful scenery. The region’s warm climate and fertile soil allow for the cultivation of various grape varieties, such as Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, and Chenin Blanc.

What sets the Mexican wine experience apart is its fusion of ancient winemaking traditions and modern wine practices, creating wines with a distinctive Mexican flair. Additionally, the region’s burgeoning culinary scene makes it a gastronomic paradise for wine enthusiasts.

Georgia

 

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Georgia, often considered the cradle of wine civilization, boasts an extraordinary 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition. The country’s ancient qvevri winemaking technique, where wine is fermented and aged in amphora (large clay vessels) buried underground, is a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Georgian wines are made using indigenous grape varieties like Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, and Kisi, resulting in unique flavours and characteristics. The hospitable locals and the captivating UNESCO World Heritage sites make Georgia an alluring destination for those seeking a historical and authentic wine experience.

Tenerife & Lanzarote

In Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife and Lanzarote offer one-of-a-kind wine tourism experiences. The volcanic soils and unique microclimates provide a distinctive terroir that influences the wines’ taste. Vineyards here are often planted in small craters, creating a visually stunning and surreal landscape.

The main grape variety in Tenerife is ListĆ”n Negro, while Lanzarote’s famous Malvasia wines capture the essence of the volcanic soil. These islands’ allure lies in their extraordinary blend of natural beauty, rich history, and notable wines.

Uruguay

 

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Nestled between Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay’s wine regions, particularly Canelones and Colonia, are an absolute delight for wine enthusiasts. The country is known for producing Tannat wines, which are robust, full-bodied, and gaining international acclaim.

The laid-back and friendly atmosphere in Uruguayan wineries allows visitors to connect intimately with winemakers and learn about their passion for the craft. Add to that charming colonial towns adjacent to stunning coastal landscapes and you have all the ingredients for a truly unparalleled wine journey.

India

 

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India’s nascent wine industry is blossoming in regions like Nashik, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. The country’s climate and diverse terroir allow for the cultivation of both international and indigenous grape varieties.

Indian winemakers have been experimenting with grape-growing techniques to adapt to the country’s unique conditions. Exploring India’s wine regions not only introduces visitors to the world of Indian viticulture but also exposes them to the country’s rich cultural heritage and ancient traditions.

Chile’s Elqui Valley

 

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While Chile’s reputation for winemaking is well known, the Elqui Valley offers an unconventional and captivating wine experience. Situated in the northern region near the Andes Mountains, this high-altitude valley is garnering its own acclaim for producing stellar Syrah and aromatic Muscat wines.

The clear skies also make it an ideal location for stargazing and exploring spirituality. The combination of celestial beauty, spectacular landscapes, and exquisite wines make the Elqui Valley a must-visit destination for the adventurous wine lover.

Allison WallaceAllison Wallace

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