You have always dreamed about Europe. The Old Continent has its own charm, slightly altered by globalization. Yet, some regions preserve that bohemian feeling that inspired so many artists. Wine regions have a beauty of their own,and the best news is that there are hundreds of them to choose from. We’ll give you just a mix of famous and hidden gems, but it is up to you to set up an itinerary to remember.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Champagne region is the crown jewel of French winemaking. It is as iconic as the Eiffel tower. Plan your trip a few months ahead and make firm reservations at the Champagne houses you intend to visit. To enjoy your experience, don’t select more than two locations for each day. These places are elegant mansions, so dress up and feel like royalty. Try to avoid public holidays and the lunch hour. Also, wear comfortable shoes. Taste, enjoy and ask your host about the production process. Oh, and don’t forget to speak a bit in French, it will be welcomed.
Spain, La Rioja
This is a bit of a hidden gem since although the red wines are famous, the charm of the region is mostly unknown to tourists. If you like blue skies and green landscapes, tucked between mountains, you might fall in love with this part of the world. Wineries here are family-owned and called bodegas. Expect to find excellent red, oaky, Tempranillo wines to pair with smoked meat. The only downside is that you’ll have a few hundred to pick from. Best to visit in fall, during harvest season.
The birthplace of the Renaissance has a strong cultural and historic vibe. Here, enjoying the finer things in life is almost a religion. Get ready to learn about the unsuspecting pairing between pizza and Chianti. There are numerous estates to choose from, some dating back a 1000 years ago like Castello di Nipozzano, others of a more recent date, like Salcheto, but with equal charm. Just try to get off the beaten path a bit and enjoy a few hours off the grid.
Another UNESCO site, the Hungarian region is famous for sweet, honey-colored wines. Be sure to schedule your arrival, since most wineries don’t have fixed hours for tours, but will accommodate you up to the highest hospitality standards. Although wine has been produced here for centuries, the region is still under development and has that hip, relaxed vibe of an experimental approach. Don’t hesitate to look for some historical landmarks too, the place is full of castles and mansions. For example, you could try Sárospatak Castle, which hosts the Great Tokaj Wine Auction.
A hidden Eastern European treasure, Moldova has been making wine for thousands of years. They even have the World’s Largest Wine Cellar at MillestiiMici. The second largest is nearby at Cricova. These are basically underground cities, which you can tour by bus. Be sure to ask your hotel to book a ticket in advance, especially during summer when it can be crowded.
If you think this is beyond your wildest imagination and you could never afford such a thing, how about you just give up your weekly brunch or pack coffee in the morning. Another option is to get a personal loan, online. Just search here, https://aaacreditguide.com/best-online-personal-loans/. Even an extended family holiday will only cost you up to $100/month but think of this as an investment in your well-being and make memories to last a lifetime.
Since you ‘ll be going to more rural areas be sure to visit an ATM before heading off to tastings. Most wineries accept credit cards, but you wouldn’t want to take chances and leave empty-handed just because you couldn’t use the plastic.
After you have the finances, don’t forget to check the visa requirements for each country you intend to visit. Most offer on arrival visas,but you should avoid bad surprises, especially when traveling with children.