5 Top Emerging Wine Regions to Experience in 2016

Grape-seekers, rejoice: These underrated destinations offer scenic vineyards and rare varieties. 

U.S. News & World Report

5 Top Emerging Wine Regions to Experience in 2016

Piles of grapes

Whether you're a connoisseur of crisp whites, bold reds, sparking wines or rose's, you'll find the perfect glass in these up-and-coming destinations.(Getty Images)

As any oenophile can attest, one of the best aspects of traveling is the chance to savor fine wines and top-tier vintages as you soak in striking vineyard scenery. And happily, there are a new generation of winemakers who are well-trained and dedicated to producing world-renowned vino in unconventional wine regions. These winemakers are offering cutting-edge techniques, distinct wines and a new reason for grape-seekers to plan a trip. So, instead of planning your next wine vacation in Tuscany or Napa Valley, visit these picturesque regions to sample the wine of the future.

Ribera del Duero
Spain

Spain has a long history of producing some of the world's best wines. And within Spain, the Tempranillo black grape is the key ingredient in bold red wines across the country. In the Castilla y León territory in northern Spain, at 2,800 feet above sea level, wine producers create unique varieties of rich, bold reds that get their distinct character and complexity from layers of limestone, chalk and clay. Plus, in addition to finding top-notch wine in Ribera del Duero, you'll also find many charming villages and countless underground cellars that date back to the beginning of the century.

Ontario
Canada

The Lake Erie North Shore region and Pelee Island in Prince Edward County, Niagara-on-the-lake and the Niagara Escarpment and Twenty Valley wine route have helped Ontario stand out as a premier wine-producing region. And within the province, there are a wealth of wine meccas with local wineries producing a wide array of award-winning vintages that are starting to create a buzz across the country. In Ontario's sprawling wine country, vineyards are cropping up in unexpected places, thanks to dedicated winemakers who are trying new varietal blends on local terrain. The shore near Long Point is an area that's especially garnering attention from wine enthusiasts due to its distinctive climate, which is warmer than other regions. And north of Toronto, Oak Ridges Moraine and Georgian Bay are also attracting wine lovers with hybrid varieties in overlooked regions. A variety of other wine destinations continue to pop up all over the province and are expected to continue to lure international visitors, especially in the Northumberland Hills area, near Prince Edward County.

Meteora
Greece

The Meteora region of Greece not only overflows with excellent wine – it also brims with Byzantine art and monasteries. Here, you'll find cherished sites built atop natural sandstone rock pillars. And interestingly, Meteora's distinctive viticulture techniques was first practiced by monks. Within this region, places like Tsililis Winery produce award-winning vintages that have gained recognition from a variety of publications and have even earned acclaimed Decanter World Wine Awards since 2014.

Rueda
Spain

Northwest of Madrid sits Rueda, a small town and standout wine region best-known by winemakers and enthusiasts for its cherished verdejo grape. Ninety percent of the region grows the verdejo grape, yielding some of the finest white wine in the world. Due to the region's intense climate, with blazing summer heat and bitterly cold winters, grapes can flourish, creating an aromatic, dry and nutty fruit that isn't grown anywhere else in Europe. Valladolid, a city north of Madrid, is among one of the most important spots on the Rueda wine trail, and is rich with culture, history and vibrant restaurants and shops.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico may not be thought of as a place that's ideal for producing wine, but surprisingly it's become a top destination for wine lovers. Bodegas Andreu Solé, a winery and vineyard located in Ensenada, Puerto Rico, has been experimenting with growing wine along the coast of Guánica, which is ideal for producing Spanish varietals due to its fertile and dry characteristics. Another key factor that makes Puerto Rico an up-and-coming wine region: it's proximity to the Caribbean. With year-round pleasant temperatures in the 80s, the area offers an advantageous micro-climate for growing unique grapes and producing inventive handcrafted wines.

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Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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