By Viator, December 2010
Whether it’s French Champagne, Italian Chianti or Californian Zinfandel, a wine-tasting tour reveals the traditions and history of both people and place, and whisks you on a road trip through stunning rural countryside.
Designed for both wine novices and experts, wine-tasting tours are hugely informative and entertaining. Combining stops at several working wineries and cellar doors, you have the chance to sample different varieties, purchase wines and pick up wine-tasting tips, wine-making background and tasting notes.
Tours are led by professional vinologists and wine lovers, and are usually accompanied by cheese and produce platters, or lunch featuring gourmet local produce at a vineyard restaurant.
Of course, some of the most popular wine-tasting destinations include Italy and France. Drive through the poplar-dotted Tuscan countryside to sip Chianti, sample wines and cheeses in Florence or visit a royal cellar for a wine masterclass with a professional sommelier in central Paris.
In South Africa, wine-tasting tours target the lovely Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl Valley regions to sip Shiraz, Chardonnay and Semillon wines.
California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys are home to some of the most prestigious wineries in the US, producing sparkling varieties, reds and whites, including groundbreaking biodynamic labels.
One of Australia’s premier wine-producing areas is Victoria’s lovely Yarra Valley, where an abundance of wine tours are offered to boutique wineries, gourmet specialists and vineyard restaurants. Specialties here include Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Private tours, small group tours, helicopter tours, bike tours, food-pairing tours, chocolate and wine tours, wine-tasting walking tours – wine tours come in all shapes and sizes, offering a convivial, fun way to meet people and share a little local hospitality.