If you’re a wine-lover, you may have previously asked yourself the question — ‘what’s better than a good glass of wine’? Well, how about multiple glasses of world-class wine, drank in a breathtaking setting, with more variety than you knew existed?
Sounds like a dream, right?
Luckily, at Alternative Airlines, when your dreams are travel-related, we’re all about helping you realise them. That’s why we have compiled a list of the best wine regions in the world and how you can fly to them.
The Aconcagua region is known for producing some fantastic red wines. The area’s unique landscape means that altitude can range from 50––1000m, which has allowed some wine producers to grow wine grapes in some unusual climates and produce untraditional, complex wines with less alcohol content.
Aconcagua’s best known wine-growing area is Aconcagua Valley, where the Errazuriz winery lays claim to most of the production in the area. The Aconcagua Valley is very hot and dry, which isn’t typically the best conditions to produce high standards of wine. However, the snow from the caps of surrounding Aconcagua mountain provides the valley with a vital stream of meltwater that helps the region produce the world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that its become highly regarded for.
You can take a wine tour of Errarzuriz or most of the other wineries in the region, where you’ll learn the history of the area, how the wine is produced and, of course, taste all the different wines yourself.
Aside from the wine, Aconcagua mountain is undoubtedly the highlight of this region. At 6962m, the mountain is the highest mountain in all of the Americas and around 3,500 people attempt to climb it each year.
The best airport to fly to is Santiago International Airport (SCL). Santiago International Airport is around a one-hour and 20-minute drive to Aconcagua Valley. Airlines that fly to Santiago International include Aerolineas Argentinas, Air France, ITA, British Airways, JetSmart, Iberia, LATAM and United.
Franschhoek wine tram. Credit: Wikimedia — South African Tourism
We’ve already hailed Franschhoek Wine Valley as one of our cheap alternative travel destinations, so it’s only natural to list it as one of our favourite wine regions in the world too. Just a 40-minute drive from Cape Town, Franschhoek is a beautiful area, surrounded by mountains and filled with verdant hills and fields.
Aside from its beauty, there are two things that make Franschhoek stand out among the best wine regions in the world.
The first is the wine itself. Franschhoek Wine Valley has a great variety of wines and some of the best-tasting wine in South Africa. Each wine is renowned locally, with some sold internationally. You can find delicious tasting Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon, while popular red wines grown in Franschhoek include Cabinet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Shiraz.
The second thing that makes Franschoek so special is its tram line. Franschhoek's hop-on hop-off tram line might be the most fun way to experience wine-tasting in the world. Choose between eight different lines and journey from vineyard-to-vineyard — stopping off at as many wineries along the way as you wish!
The town is also the unofficial culinary capital of South Africa. Which means, with over 100 top-class restaurants in the area, you’ll never have to look too far to find an outstanding meal to pair your wine with.
The nearest airport to Franschhoek is Cape Town International Airport (CPT). Cape Town International is roughly a one hour and 20-minute drive away from Franschoek. You can fly to Cape Town on airlines such as Air Botswana, Airlink, Air Mauritius, Air Namibia, British Airways, CemAir, FlySafair, Kenya Airways, KLM, Kulula, Mango, Qatar Airways, Rwandair, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways.
It would be unjust to leave France’s Champagne region out of any list that mentions the best wine regions in the world. The Champagne region is world-famous for producing, you guessed it — champagne.
Champagne is made from three types of grape: Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Although there are many other wine regions that produce sparkling wine, the Champagne region is the only region in the world that makes the special type of sparkling wine that is referred to as ‘champagne’.
For a complete experience, make sure to visit a good mix of the champagne houses in the region — both the major houses with established brands such as Dom Perignon and Moët & Chandon, as well as the smaller ones with locally sold champagne. Moët & Chandon, Mercier and other houses all offer tours of their vineyards, cellars and production, making it an enjoyable and educational experience, you do get a glass of bubbly too!
The Champagne region is located in Épernay and Reims. And, while both destinations have plenty about them (particularly Reims and its impressive Gothic cathedral), you’d be missing a trick if you didn’t pair your wine-holiday in Champagne with a trip to Paris — which is just an hour train ride from the region.
Paris Charles-de Gaulle(CDG) is the closest airport to Champagne. You can reach Champagne from Paris via high-speed train in around an hour. Many airlines fly to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, including Air France, Finnair, Delta, Lufthansa, easyJet, Vueling, and Turkish Airlines.
Just over ten years ago, Valencia’s wine region was primarily known for producing cheap everyday wine made from the famous Moscatel grape. While this wine offers great value and is recognised worldwide, it’s not the type that is worthy of a dedicated wine-holiday.
However, in recent years, there’s been an emergence of young experimental wine-makers. These growers have put their efforts into exploring the different variety of wines that can be produced in the region, with a goal to restore Valencia’s wine-making reputation, which allegedly dates back thousands of years to the Neolithic Age.
Out of all the wine regions in Valencia, Utiel-Requena is the pick of the bunch. It’s the largest, with the best-known label and has a great variety of wineries located in a picturesque mountainous setting with quaint villages to explore.
The main airport in Valencia is Valencia Airport (VLC). You can fly to Valencia Airport on airlines such as Aegean Airlines, Aeroflot, Air Europa, easyJet, Air Nostrum, KLM, Lauda, Ryanair, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines and Vueling.
As the birthplace of wine in Southern Australia, McLaren Vale has been producing high-quality and innovative wine for years. The vast majority of wine produced in this region is red, with classics such as Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, as well as newer wines such as Nero d’Avola, Fiano and Vermentino.
McLaren Vale wines are some of the oldest, most in-demand global wines in Australia. But, unlike many other regions that reach similar heights in popularity, the region hasn’t become complacent and still strives to maintain the innovative reputation that caught the rest of the world’s attention in the first place.
Aside from its excellent wineries, McLaren Vale is a charming area to visit with beautiful vineyards, small villages and sandy beaches nearby.
Adelaide International Airport is the closest airport to McLaren Vale. It’s around a 40-minute drive between the two destinations. You can fly to Adelaide Airport on airlines such as Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, China Southern, Emirates, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Tigerair Australia.
The Tuscan wine region is one of the most prestigious wine regions in Europe, with iconic Super Tuscan wine brands such as Sassicaia and Tignanello.
Not only is it Italy’s oldest wine-making region but it’s also one of the most varied, with everything from sweet-white wines to full-bodied reds grown in the area. The most notable wines are Chianti, Brunello di Montepulciano and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, each hailed by wine connoisseurs worldwide.
If you know anything about Tuscany, then you won’t need us to tell you how breathtaking the scenery is. See the standout cities of Florence and Siena, both famed for their art, or visit the idyllic countryside villages of San Gimignano and Volterra. No matter where you are in Tuscany, its vineyards and wineries overlook postcard-perfect rolling slopes of green.
The most central airport in Tuscany is Florence Airport, located in the capital of Tuscany, Florence. Airlines that fly to Florence Airport include Air Dolomiti, Air France, Albawings, ITA, Blue Air, Ernest Airlines, Eurowings, Iberia, KLM, Lufthansa, SWISS and Vueling.
If you live outside of Asia, you probably won’t associate China with wine-making, outside of its production of rice wine. So, it might come as a surprise to you that China has the second-largest amount of vineyards in the world by surface area. The country has over 1.97m acres of land dedicated to growing wine grapes, which is more than double of what France has!
Despite this, wine culture is still very new in China and, as a result, it’s a country that’s still very much figuring things out. While there are some great wines being produced in the country, there’s also quite a few that would have even the most forgiving wine enthusiast spitting it back into the glass.
However, one Chinese wine region that is definitely getting it right is Hebei, located on the East Coast of China. Hebei’s wine regions are split into sub-regions, with the two most noteworthy being Shacheng, where the famous Great Wall Wine Company is based, and Changli, which produces wines that are inspired by Bordeaux’s wine region.
As with most wine regions in China, Hebei specialises in the production of red wine, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt and Merlot being the most popular to come out of this region.
Hebei itself is best known for being the province that surrounds Beijing. Unlike its noisy neighbour, Hebei presents a slow-paced version of China which is full of small villages, remote towns and earthy fields. It's a great place if you want to get away from the bustle of Beijing and visiting its wineries is among the top things to do.
The main airport in Hebei is Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport (SJW). You can fly to Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport on many Chinese domestic airlines, including Air Chang’an, Air China, Beijing Capital Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, China United, Colorful Guizhou Airlines, GX Airlines, Hebei Airlines, Kunming Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Spring Airlines, as well as an international connection from Moscow on NordStar.
If your flying from outside of China or would like to pair your trip with a visit in Beijing, it’s best to fly to Beijing Capital International Airport. Airlines that fly to Beijing Capital International include Aeroflot, Air Canada, ANA, British Airways, Delta, Emirates, Finnair, KLM, Qatar, S7 Airlines, SWISS, UIA and United.
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