Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest vacations travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest vacations entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your vacation.
Wine tasting vacations travel guide
Whether you’re partial to Douro ports, classic Tuscan Chianti or the fruity, full-bodied delights of New World wines, the finest wine tasting vacations tend to be those that allow you to drink in plenty of the local culture as well. Admire historic French chateaux, immerse yourself in rural Tuscan tranquillity and pair your wines with sumptuous regional cuisine – essentially, just allow your itinerary to breathe.
Visiting vineyards, vast cellars piled to the ceiling with barrels or medieval monasteries where the monks have perfected their processes over centuries, you’ll taste tradition in every glass.
These trips decant fascinating history and practical knowledge on wines of the world, how to improve your palate, or hone your own amateur fermentations, and naturally they allow you to pep up your collection too. These vacations go Bacchus to the basics, following and indulging your passion in some of the world’s most picturesque locations.
Read our wine tasting vacations travel guide for more details.
Wine tasting vacations are…
easy to tie-in with everything from walking in Croatia to truffle-hunting in France, archaeological tours in Greece and safaris in South Africa.
Wine tasting vacations aren’t…
to be sniffed at. They’re to be sniffed, swirled, savoured, sized up then spat out or swallowed down.
Our Wine tasting Vacations
What does this kind of trip entail?
The number of opportunities you’ll have for tasting can depend on whether you opt for a small group tour or a tailormade itinerary. On a Tuscany small group trip, for instance, you might have three tasting sessions included in a week, with one at a wine school and one at a vineyard. But if you are taking a tailormade trip, such as to Croatia or a South Africa self-drive tour, then you can essentially visit as many vineyards and wineries as you want, and build in extra days if you feel you’d like to explore a region in more detail. Expect to stay in locally owned guesthouses and hotels often situated in the heart of a wine region, or close by.
Wine tasting lends itself perfectly to lots of other activities of course, given that many vineyards tend to be located in extraordinarily attractive landscapes. Walking and tasting sessions are popular in Croatia and Portugal, while in Burgundy self-guided cycling between vineyards is dreamy, and importantly requires little serious exertion. You might also have fun pairing wines with local cuisine in Tuscany, Georgia, Croatia or South Africa, and this type of itinerary will frequently feature cookery lessons, too – in Tuscany you can even learn how to forage your own truffles.
Now, of course, if you know a little about wine already it’s going to help you narrow down the types you’d like to try on your vacation in the hope of finding something that really meets your tastes. But by no means do you need to be a connoisseur. In fact, even if the limit of your knowledge is recognising which are whites and which are reds you can still find wine tasting vacations a fascinating and informative experience. That’s because as well as learning how to taste, perhaps guided by professional sommeliers, you will also frequently tour vineyards, and wineries, as well as the cellars, finding out about every different stage of the process. Who knows, you may be inspired to try some DIY wine-making when you get home – it’s easier than you might think.
There’s no reason why you can’t combine wine tasting with a family vacation either. Stay in a gorgeous rustic farmhouse in Tuscany for instance, where kids will love off-roading, learning how to make pizza and ravioli, and going out at night to listen for wolves. Walking and wine vacations in Croatia are also great for older kids.
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Best time to go on a
wine tasting vacation
Wine tasting vacations can be either small group tours which depart on set dates, or follow tailormade itineraries allowing you to travel at any time of year. Of course, most wineries and vineyards also have year-round tastings available, but joining an organised tour means you don’t need to worry about scheduling your own appointments. The best time to go on a wine tasting vacation is usually during the summer, when the scenery is magnificent, or during the harvest when there are a lot of festivals and other wine-related events going on. For very prestigious and popular destinations such as the South Africa winelands, you may prefer to travel in spring when it is not so busy.
More about Wine tasting
From the Old World to the New, our map and highlights page explores some of the finest wine-producing destinations including France, Italy, Georgia and South Africa, with some sterling advice from our suppliers too.
Wine tasting vacations in Georgia reveal one of the world’s oldest wine producing countries, where tradition still holds sway for the most part over modern techniques.
Wine tasting vacations in South Africa explore the prestigious Winelands just to the east of Cape Town, principally the historic towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.
Wine tasting vacations in Tuscany are idyllic, but the breadth of things you can do in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance to compliment your tasting sessions may surprise you.
Spanish wine is basking in a well-deserved resurgence, with up-and-coming regions such as Andalucía especially in the spotlight.