A Wine Lover's Travel Guide (Travel Guide Series Pt. 2)
Hey travelers! We know there are lots of reasons you choose to travel; sometimes to see friends or family, and other times to get away from said friends and family. There are also some special, more specific incentives for traveling, and in this four part “Travel Guide” series, we’ll be exploring my personal favorites: beer, wine, cheese, and music! Because it’s my blog, not yours!! But hey, we’re always looking for more excuses to go exploring, so if you have any more travel vices that you feel should be highlighted, hit us up.
In today’s installment, I’ll be investigating the only thing better than grape juice: fermented grape juice! Or as other (more boring) people call it, wine! Whether you like it red, white, pink, or green, drinkers all over the world have created hot-spots for wines of all tastes and shades, and you don’t have to resort to tourist heavy Napa or Tuscany to get your fix (though, you should, eventually, they’re beautiful).
Read on to find out where to indulge in the good stuff. After all, in vino veritas, right? Or maybe that’s just the wine talking...
Okay, so it’s not that far away from Tuscany, but hey, what can I say? The Italians make great wine!
Just 10km southeast of Perugia lies the commune of Torgiano in northern Italy. If you’re looking for the definition of “wine country,” this is it. With the top three tourist destinations being The Wine Museum of Torgiano, the Cantico Wine Route, and winery Cantine Giorgio Lungarotti, this is the first spot on the list for a reason.
Torgiano is located within the region of Umbria, AKA wine heaven. Winemaking in Umbria can be traced all the way back to the time of the Benedictine Monks in the 10th century. For many centuries, Torgiano and Umbria as a whole have been overshadowed by their neighbor Tuscany, but due to themild Meditterranian microclimate, Torgiano has been able to produce wines of competitive quality. In fact, there is even a wine named after the commune, “Torgiano Rosso Riserva DOCG.”
If you really want to get your money’s worth, go in November for Mostra d'arte “Vaselle d'autore per il vino novello” or, Festival of New Wine.
Georgia (as in, the country, not the state) may seem like a surprising choice, but real win-o’s around the world know it as one of the original “wine regions.” The culture of Georgian winemaking, especially in the region of Kakheti is so intertwined within the international identity of wine production, UNESCO has included the ancient traditional Georgian wine cultivation methods to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
The economy of Georgia is driven by agriculture of all kinds, but is mostly comprised of nuts and fruits, and yes, that includes grapes. Writers from winemag.com recommend visiting because it “is natural wine heaven, and as an agricultural country, it is farm-fresh vegetable and cheese paradise as well. Meals included a lineup of entirely unpronounceable but utterly delicious wines accompanied by a supra, a feast of salads and spreads served with cheese-filled bread and freshly grilled meat.” If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, I don’t know what will.
While you’re there, try filling your cup at Pheasant's Tears Winery.
For the more effervescent amongst us, English wine is tailor-made. Typically on the bubblier side of things, English sparkling wine used to be a novelty, and has now earned the county of Kent notoriety in the wine world.
How’s some white bubbly any different from champagne, you may ask (I did). While it may seem similar on the surface, what with all the cork-popping and such, there are key differences. English sparklers are indeed inspired by champagne, but boast a unique lightness in palate. Glasses of the pale wine taste fruity and fresh, with balanced levels of acidity and depth of flavor.
In Kent alone, there are dozens of up and coming vineyards to choose from, all with their own unique take on the viticultural classic sparkling wine. Chapel Down is an award winning choice and one of the U.Ks largest winegrowers.
Here’s to looking at the glass half full...of bubbles, that is.
Guadalupe Valley, Mexico
In a shock to, well, no one, Mexico has proven their excellence in the field of horticulture (no pun intended) once again. This time, don’t come for the beaches, music, history, art, architecture, nature (whew, I’m outta breath already) alone, but add Guadalupe Valley wineries to your itinerary to drink it all in.
This Baja California spot is well known to locals, but has yet to emerge as a tourist hot spot. Think this bodes unwell for the area? Think again. Guadalupe Valley is the perfect wine-cation destination for anyone looking to sip in peace, away from the tourist hubbub that usually accompanies distinguished wine regions such as this.
Imagine: wine tours small enough that you and your party can get the full attention of your group leader, not having to deal with all of those annoying (drunk) couples taking pictures in front of the sunset, and local boutique hotels that don’t cost the price of a plane ticket per night.
Organic wines, vineyard horseback rides, and world class cuisine? Sign me up.
For all this and more, give Adobe Guadalupe a go.
What’s that saying? When life gives you grapes, make wine?
In any case, let someone else make the wine, and if you want it done right, get it from one of these spots. All have been compiled with COVID-19 in mind, so across the board they rank low on tourist populations, and are great places for standing 6 feet apart from strangers and 6 inches away from the closest bottle of wine.
That’s that for this installment of the Travel Guide Series. If you have any favorite wine spots that I missed, shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most importantly, drink responsibly, Travel Safe, and Travel Covered!
Alexa Lieberthal is a professional actress, singer, and writer from Boston, MA. Though her passions are many, and range from fitness to Star Trek, the biggest of all is travel. Alexa is based in NYC, but has spent the past 4 years exploring and performing in places all over the world, including Western Europe, the Caribbean Islands, and the U.K. Most recently, she spent two years seeing the world by working aboard AIDA Cruises, singing and sailing and savoring the earth. The next place on her travel bucket-list is Berlin, Germany! You can follow Alexa's adventures on Instagram @ny.see and her website areneeact.com.