Although we spend three-quarters of the year anticipating summer, the season sure does have a way of slipping through our fingers.
Drink in these blissful months of sunshine and unwind with a visit to some of the best vineyards the world has to offer. Whether at home or abroad, here is a list of our ten favourite wine regions to help make the most of this summer.
Whether at home or abroad, here is a list of our ten favourite wine regions to help make the most of this summer.
Napa Valley, California
Why we love it: The internationally recognized Napa Valley is home to over 800 varieties of some of the world’s finest wine. The high number of family-owned wineries give the region a quaint and welcoming atmosphere, despite the commitment to fine-dining and wealth of luxury hotels that have earned the region 14 prestigious Michelin Stars. Each with someone special to offer, the wineries in the region combine art, architecture and gourmet food to offer visitors a truly unique California experience.
Where to stay: Nothing pairs better than wine and chocolate, and thanks to the Exclusive Resorts suites at the Fairmont Heritage Place hotel in Ghirardelli Square, guests can have both. Just a short drive from the iconic wine regions, San Francisco is bursting with festivals, nightlife and urban adventures, perfect for wine lovers who are a little more city than country. Exclusive Resorts’ partnership with the car rental sevice, Avis, makes travelling to the wineries easy. A private driver will meet guests in the lobby and chauffeur them to and from Napa Valley, all from the comfort of their rental car.
For more information, visit www.exclusiveresorts.com.
Barossa Valley, Australia
Why we love it: Barossa Valley is the perfect wine region for discerning drinkers and foodies alike. Known for its Shiraz, the Australian climate also allows for a diverse array of grapes and produce to grow. With music festivals, art galleries and weekly farmer’s markets full of fresh, local and flavourful foods, the Barossa Valley embraces local and travelling wine lovers alike.
Where to stay: Perched on the quiet hillside overlooking the vineyards sits The Louise, a luxurious hotel dedicated to preserving Australia’s generous bounty. Thanks to its “locavore” philosophy, much of the menu’s seasonal produce at the hotel restaurant, The Appellation, is grown within 50 kilometers of the hotel. With produce and vineyards just a stone’s throw away from the hotel, The Louise gives guests a taste of some of the freshest Australian treats.
Rooms at The Louise start at $422. For more information and for reservations, visit www.smithhotels.com.
Why we love it: For the history-buff meets wine connoisseur, there is no destination more perfect that Bordeaux, France. Wander through the vast French vineyards and soak up the history that has gone into producing some of the world’s finest wines since the eighth century. The region is known for its bold, rich reds, but with over 120,000 hectares of vines, Bordeaux also produces whites that will have you pouring a second glass.
Where to stay: Bordeaux, France is filled to the brim with charm and sophistication, and the Château La Thuilière is no exception. With only five rooms, the hotel offers guests an intimate experience in the heart of France’s wine country. Pair your favorite vintage with the delectable four-course tasting menu at the hotel’s restaurant and cap off the evening with a moonlit stroll through the hotel’s private park.
Rates from $140/night. Visit www.smithhotels.com for reservations and for more details.
Why we love it: Covering more than a third of Portugal’s footprint and with only a fraction of the population, the Alentejo region is the calm, quiet home to some of Portugal’s best wineries.
With everything from Roman ruins to pristine Atlantic beaches, Alentejo is full of hidden treasures
Where to stay: The Herdade da Malhadinha Nova hotel doubles as a working winery, giving guests an unparalleled access to Portugal’s finest wine region. Sip wine in the hotel’s bar or relax in the guest rooms situated in the thick of the vineyards. For those looking to fully soak in the wine-making experience, the hotel can arrange grape picking and lets guests jump right in by arranging grape trampling, the traditional method of stomping grapes by foot.
Rates from CA$345.00/night. Visit www.smithhotels.com for reservations and for more details.
Why we love it: With over 20 different varieties of grapes grown in the region, Niagara wineries are bottling some spectacular vintages that have received recognition and fanfare in the last decade. Close enough for a weekend getaway, the Niagara-on-the-lake region has been voted one of the prettiest towns in Ontario.
Where to stay: With shopping, wineries and cycling trails just steps away, Niagara on the Lake’s Charles Inn is the perfect venue for a weekend retreat. Built in 1832, the refurbished hotel is full of luxurious amenities, including the new Shaw Spa, perfect for a couples retreat or a girlfriends getaway.
For more information, visit www.niagarasfinest.com.
Okanagan, British Columbia
Why we love it: Sip wine lake-side while basking in the glory of the great Canadian Rockies. British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley is Canada’s second largest wine producer, and with a climate that allows for nearly every style of grape to be grown, the local vineyards bottle over 60 varieties of fine wines. With sandy beaches, outdoor activities and the warmest temperatures in all of Canada, Okanagan is perfect destination for a relaxing vineyard retreat.
Where to stay: Overlooking the beautiful Lake Okanagan, Sparkling Hill Resort is the ultimate wellness retreat in British Columbia. The fantastic KurSpa aims to rejuvenate and relax with unique, European inspired treatments. Nestled between the mountains and the Okanagan Valley, this modern oasis offers guests the very best in relaxation.
For more information visit www.sparklinghill.com.
Why we love it: Full of rustic charm, the Sonoma Valley wine region offers a unique experience for vino-aficionados and amateur oenophiles alike. One may think that the birthplace of the California wine industry would be all about wine, but a glass of wine without the perfect pairing just doesn’t cut it. The abundance of local, fresh food perfectly complements the region’s wines.
Where to stay: With a private rose garden, a private pool and expansive outdoor space, Exclusive Resorts’ Sonoma Creek Residence holds all of the elegance you’d expect from this classic wine country. The luxury villa’s concierge can direct guests to the very best that the region has to offer. From wine tours to hiking trails, Exclusive Resorts knows the inside scoop into the very best the region has to offer.