Best Wine Vacations
Gorgeous vineyards, colorful landscapes and (of course) top-notch vino — these are the essentials of a wine vacation. To help you plan a wine-lover's retreat (where winery tours and tastings are just the start), U.S. News has tracked down the best destinations across the globe. Each region or city promises spectacular scenery and a distinguished wine culture. Vote for your favorite spot to sip chardonnay or shiraz to help form next year's rankings. Then grab a glass, pour some "cab" and start packing.
Why go: Tuscany's world-renowned Chianti Classico draws grape-seekers in droves. But another major draw is the region's verdant landscape with its rolling hills and leafy vineyards. For a heavenly glass, visit Castello del Trebbio, a palace-turned-winery skirting Florence. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Tuscany
Why go: For an incredible grape escape, visit California wine country. Filled with cozy caverns, scenic vineyards and more than 50 types of grapes, this scenic retreat sits just 66 miles north of San Francisco. Seeking an intimate setting? Head to Frog's Leap or O'Brien Estate. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Napa Valley
Why go: This picturesque region of France consists of regal chateaus, lush vineyards and rolling rivers. The gentle Loire River slivers past vineyards that yield some of the finest French vintages. Here, you'll try sweet muscadets and crisp sauvignon blancs as well as smoky cabernets.
Why go: Head about 30 minutes south of Cape Town, and you'll find the Constantia Valley. The valley's wine caught the attention of bigwigs, including the likes of Napoleon Bonaparte. Here, you'll sip sparkling chardonnay as you gaze at the picturesque Table Mountain. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Town
Why go: This fertile New Zealand region boasts magnificent vineyards. Tour the Queenstown Wine Trail and you'll savor spectacular scenery along with sauvignon blancs. The crisp air, the gorgeous vineyards and the aromatic flavors are sure to leave you craving more. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Queenstown
Why go: To taste the smoky pinot noirs of Oregon, drive an hour south of Portland to the Willamette Valley. Oregon hosts some of the most celebrated pinot noir appellations, so you're sure to uncork smooth vintages. Many notable wineries hug Oregon's Route 99W highway. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Portland, OR
Why go: Want to sip red wine while admiring volcanic remnants and cerulean sea? Here, full-bodied Greek vino flows almost as freely as the hot springs near the island's volcano. A trip to the Boutari Winery in Perissa is a must for red wine admirers. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Santorini
Why go: Often overlooked in favor of neighboring Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley boasts an equally impressive landscape and a collection of vineyards. And with top-tier restaurants and hotels nearby, you'll be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave.
Why go: Vast vineyards surround Monticello, Charlotteville's premier wine destination. Chardonnay lovers will want to visit Blenheim Vineyards, a winery located about 10 miles south of town and pioneered by Charlottesville native, Dave Matthews. Read More»
Read On: Top Things to Do in Charlottesville
Why go: This is the wine destination for those who study the art of winemaking. The region's dark soils and dry climate enables wine-cultivators to produce delectable syrahs and chardonnays. Sample the vintages at local wineries dotting the Pacific coastline. Read More»