Come Jan. 1, we all make a list of resolutions that look somewhat the same: lose weight, eat healthier, and, best of all, travel more. We’ve vowed to make 2017 the year we do something exciting.
As much as we love those all-inclusive resort vacations, we’re looking to broaden our horizons this year and veer off the beaten path. Meshing your love of wine and love of travel is a great way to incorporate all your favorite things into one paramount adventure. Our advice to you this year is to seek out a lesser-known region; the more under the radar, the more to discover, right? While Bordeaux may be brilliant and Tuscany tremendous, look to one of the regions below for a more adventurous, off-the-beaten experience.
More often than not, French wine lovers head to the two big Bs (Bordeaux and Burgundy) for their wine-soaked adventures. However, we highly recommend heading down south to the Rhone Valley, where it’s warmer, sunnier, and just as loaded with wine. Head to Cairanne, the latest Rhone village granted AOC status, for a Mediterranean adventure of a lifetime. Chateauneuf-du-Pape lovers, this place is for you.
Believe it or not, winemaking originated in the Middle East over 7,000 years ago. Even the Bible’s Book of Hosea cites winemaking in Lebanon! Despite the area being plagued by the terrorist organization Hezbollah, it also produces incredible wine. By heading to the Bekaa Valley, you’ll literally be throwing yourself into the roots of the craft. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Rhone varietals are dominant in the Bekaa Valley. Head to Chateau Ksara, and you’ll be tasting nearly 70 percent of the country’s production — that’s right, this winery alone produces that much wine. And don’t forget Chateau Musar.
Don’t get us wrong — we’re obsessed with the rolling hills of Tuscany. But just a hop, skip, and a jump away lies the summit city of Orvieto, surrounded by the lush vineyards of Umbria. Known for enticing indigenous varietals and gorgeous scenery, we’re absolutely obsessed with Umbria. Sipping on Sagrantino-based reds and Grechetto-based whites has never looked better.
Texas High Plains, Texas
Fear not, you don’t have to spend tons of money traveling internationally to visit an incredible wine region. In fact, Texas is one of the hottest up-and-coming regions on the American wine scene. The Texas High Plains AVA has been in existence since 1993 (crazy, right?) and is finally gaining some traction on the market. We recommend hitting it up now before it becomes all the rage.
While best known for their world-renowned Rieslings, did you know that 35 percent of German wine production is actually red? Head to Baden for all the Pinot Noir (that’s Spatburgunder in German) you’ll ever need. Red wine production predominantly takes place in the southern part of the country due to the warmer climates. You’ll love the quaint charm of the city center as well.
Franschhoek, South Africa
We know it’s far, but South Africa is worth. The. Trek. We promise. The history of Franschhoek is actually pretty intense. The region was first settled in 1688 by fewer than 200 French Huguenot refugees. The land was given to them by the Dutch, hence the reason that many wineries in the region have French- or Dutch-influenced names. Nowadays, the wine scene is flourishing, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz as the two key varietals.
Canary Islands, Spain
Like you need any excuse to convince you to head to the Canary Islands. Black and white sand beaches, tasty tapas, and endless sunshine are now joined by abundant winemaking. The island, located 60 miles off the coast of Morocco, boasts a bunch of indigenous varietals that anyone would be lucky to get their hands on.