Wine tasting holidays travel guide

Whether you’re partial to Douro ports, classic Tuscan Chianti or the fruity, full-bodied delights of New World wines, the finest wine tasting holidays tend to be those that allow you to drink in plenty of the local culture as well. Admire historic French chateaux, immerse yourself in rural Tuscan tranquillity and pair your wines with sumptuous regional cuisine – essentially, just allow your itinerary to breathe.
Visiting vineyards, vast cellars piled to the ceiling with barrels or medieval monasteries where the monks have perfected their processes over centuries, you’ll taste tradition in every glass.
These trips decant fascinating history and practical knowledge on wines of the world, how to improve your palate, or hone your own amateur fermentations, and naturally they allow you to pep up your collection too. These holidays go Bacchus to the basics, following and indulging your passion in some of the world’s most picturesque locations.
Read our wine tasting holidays travel guide for more details.

Wine tasting holidays are…

easy to tie-in with everything from walking in Croatia to truffle-hunting in France, archaeological tours in Greece and safaris in South Africa.

Wine tasting holidays aren’t…

to be sniffed at. They’re to be sniffed, swirled, savoured, sized up then spat out or swallowed down.

What does this kind of trip entail?

The number of opportunities you’ll have for tasting can depend on whether you opt for a small group tour or a tailormade itinerary. On a Tuscany small group trip, for instance, you might have three tasting sessions included in a week, with one at a wine school and one at a vineyard. But if you are taking a tailormade trip, such as to Croatia or a South Africa self-drive tour, then you can essentially visit as many vineyards and wineries as you want, and build in extra days if you feel you’d like to explore a region in more detail. Expect to stay in locally owned guesthouses and hotels often situated in the heart of a wine region, or close by.
Wine tasting lends itself perfectly to lots of other activities of course, given that many vineyards tend to be located in extraordinarily attractive landscapes. Walking and tasting sessions are popular in Croatia and Portugal, while in Burgundy self-guided cycling between vineyards is dreamy, and importantly requires little serious exertion. You might also have fun pairing wines with local cuisine in Tuscany, Georgia, Croatia or South Africa, and this type of itinerary will frequently feature cookery lessons, too – in Tuscany you can even learn how to forage your own truffles.
Now, of course, if you know a little about wine already it’s going to help you narrow down the types you’d like to try on your holiday in the hope of finding something that really meets your tastes. But by no means do you need to be a connoisseur. In fact, even if the limit of your knowledge is recognising which are whites and which are reds you can still find wine tasting holidays a fascinating and informative experience. That’s because as well as learning how to taste, perhaps guided by professional sommeliers, you will also frequently tour vineyards, and wineries, as well as the cellars, finding out about every different stage of the process. Who knows, you may be inspired to try some DIY wine-making when you get home – it’s easier than you might think.
There’s no reason why you can’t combine wine tasting with a family holiday either. Stay in a gorgeous rustic farmhouse in Tuscany for instance, where kids will love off-roading, learning how to make pizza and ravioli, and going out at night to listen for wolves. Walking and wine holidays in Croatia are also great for older kids.

Our top Wine tasting Holiday

Food and wine tour in Croatia and Slovenia

Food and wine tour in Croatia and Slovenia

Food, wine and culinary traditions of Slovenia and Croatia

From €3240 10 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 24 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Wine tasting or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go on a
wine tasting holiday

Wine tasting holidays can be either small group tours which depart on set dates, or follow tailormade itineraries allowing you to travel at any time of year. Of course, most wineries and vineyards also have year-round tastings available, but joining an organised tour means you don’t need to worry about scheduling your own appointments. The best time to go on a wine tasting holiday is usually during the summer, when the scenery is magnificent, or during the harvest when there are a lot of festivals and other wine-related events going on. For very prestigious and popular destinations such as the South Africa winelands, you may prefer to travel in spring when it is not so busy.
Many people prefer to travel during the harvest season when the atmosphere in busy wine regions gets very lively. In Northern Hemisphere countries that falls between August and October, with September the peak month. The reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere of course, so for the harvest in South Africa you should aim for between February and April, with things getting into full swing in March. If planning a wine holiday around Dubrovnik in Croatia, then consider skipping the summer months when the city becomes ridiculously overcrowded. In May the weather is usually lovely and warm and you’ll be ahead of the intense peak season. Georgia is lovely in June, with warm weather in the Kakheti region. Popular destinations get quite busy with domestic and foreign tourists during the summer, but go a little earlier and it’s far more peaceful. The roads of popular wine destinations such as Tuscany and Burgundy get very busy during late July and August, so holidays that feature wine tasting and cycling here are recommended in spring and autumn, when the scenery is at its finest and the roads quieter. December and January are months to avoid in the Northern Hemisphere wine regions of course, generally cold and wet weather stripping the joy out of seeing landscapes that are at their best in the sunshine. Consider South Africa instead, which basks in the summer between November and February. In fact, South Africa is worth thinking about as early as October, when Cape Town temperatures can reach 21°C and you will often see whales breaching off the coast around Hermanus.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Capricorn Studio] [Are aren't: Kelsey Knight] [Vineyard: Sven Wilhelm] [Grapes: David Kohler]
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