The Perfect 10: Wine Destinations

15/03/2011 18:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

France and Italy might be firm favourites for wine connoisseurs, while Greece boasts of being one of the first countries to cultivate vines (although Georgia might disagree) but with September marking the grape harvest, we've hunted out some more unusual wine destinations.

Here's our top grape escapes.,feedConfig,localizationConfig,entry&id=935560&pid=935559&uts=1285218847

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

You needn't pack a passport to sample some award-winning wine. British vineyards have been slowly but surely making a name for themselves – with one Sussex sparkling wine beating off competition from Champagne. And in Cornwall, the award-winning Camel Valley vineyard runs a grand tour and tasting at 5pm on Wednesdays between Easter and October 30, priced £10. Book at

Stay over at Beach Retreats, which has a concierge service which can also organise wine tours. 7 Saints Way, Little Petherick on the Camel Estuary, costs from £248 for a weekend and sleeps four. Or try the brand new Camel Quarry House, opening in October, which sleeps 16 and costs from £3,000.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

You might not associate Africa with rolling vineyards, but thanks to Morocco's French heritage, the country boasts acres of vines around imperial city Meknes with Cabernet Sauvignon, the famous rose Pinot Gris and local Gerouanne wines. Contact the vineyard direct to arrange tours at or email

The Best of Morocco can also arrange bespoke trips, with three nights' B&B in Fez at Dar Anebar and two nights' half board at Meknes' Riad Lahboul costing from £715 pp, including flights. Email for more information.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

California might get the high profile but Washington state is the second biggest wine-producer in the USA. Base yourself in Seattle for some DIY tasting nearby or to join a city tour. Chateau Ste Michelle runs free tours and tastings, while Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery offers four wine tastings for a £2 donation to an animal rescue organisation and Columbia Winery does tastings for £3.25.

Or Seattle Urban Wine Tour runs a two-hour trip with cheese, meat and chocolate pairings with your wine, for around £30. Then check in to the wine-themed Vintage Park hotel, £799 for four nights including flights from Bon Voyage.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

The Swiss export only a tiny fraction of their wine, so you have to make a special trip to sample it – but it's worth booking a ticket. Geneva alone boasts nearly 100 wineries, many offering free tastings on Saturday mornings while the Train des Vignes travels through the terraced Lavaux vineyards dating back to the 13th century as it heads from nearby Vevey along Lake Geneva and costs around £6.50 return.

Arblaster & Clarke wine tours is planning a trip through Switzerland and Burgundy from September 11-17, with tastings at wine domains around Vevey, through the Jura before continuing to Beaune in France. Visit for more information. Prices are expected to start from £1,499.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

Not so long ago, Malta had the reputation for less than impressive vintages, despite having a history of wine-making going back to Roman times. But the island has upped its wine game in recent years.

Base yourself in the capital Valletta, where the Marsovin winery in nearby Marsa runs two-hour tours and tastings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Or not far away in Paola, the Emmanuel Delicata winery also offers tastings in its 17th century cellars. Continue the theme at the Fortina Spa hotel, with several bars and restaurants offering local vintages. Seven nights all inclusive including flights starts from £699.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

Australian wine might not be a well-kept secret, but what's less well-known is that in the Barossa valley, you can actually blend your own wine. Penfolds Make Your Own Blend tour, around £40, lets you visit the winemakers' laboratory for some tasting and testing, as you create your own Bin 138 which is bottled and labelled with your name. The tour runs at 10.30 and 2pm, visit to book. Or Wolf Blass offers similar tours, visit

Stay at The Louise, surrounded by vineyards, where nine of the region's top boutique winemakers arrange special events for guests. They can also book the Penfolds tour and other wine packages. Rates cost from around £260 per night.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

It's not all port in Portugal – the country is also famous for its lightly sparkling vinho verde, but it's the red wines of the Alentejo region which really make it worth a visit. Head to Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, a family estate complete with boutique hotel and infinity pool looking out over the vineyards.

There's local grapes growing beside better-known varieties, the estate's bottles are decorated with drawings by the owners' children, and you can tour the winery as well as taking guided tours and tasting sessions. A double room costs around £210, including wine tour and a complimentary bottle of wine. Visit for more information.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

Skip Cape Town and head into South Africa's winelands region to stay amid the almost endless vineyards. Tsibatsiba tours runs daily outings through Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschoek, with bespoke options including cheese and chocolate tastings and lunch, all without breaking the bank. Prices are based on the specific options you choose.

Stay in the heart of the winelands at Franschoek. Cape Portfolios' villa Franschoek Haven, complete with four-poster bed, is in the middle of a family-owned boutique vineyard and costs from £65 per person per night. Or Explorers four bedroom villa is just a few minutes from the village, priced £380 per night.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

Often overshadowed by neighbouring France, Spain's wines shouldn't be overlooked – and it's not just red that you find in Rioja. Between the mountains and the river, La Rioja Alavesa region has the perfect micro-climate for vines, producing the white viura as well as the famous tempranillo grape.

Stay at Hotel Viura where you can explore the large cellar featuring more than 200 local wines and even the restaurant ceiling is made from old wine barrels. Rooms start from around £100, or the Wine and Light Aircraft getaway, includes two nights' accommodation, winery tour and tasting plus a flight over the stunning countryside, from around £420.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations

Chile has helped transform the reputation of South American wine – and even some of the country's less temperate areas are home to vineyards as well. The ninth largest producer of wines in the world, there are five wine-producing areas with grapes also grown in the Atacama, home to the driest desert in the world.

Get exploring with Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa in the Chilean Altiplano, which is currently offering a deal including a night in the La Casona boutique hotel at the award-winning Matetic Vineyards, winery tour and tasting, plus another night at the Ritz-Carlton in Santiago when you book five nights with them. Prices start from around £1,290 and must be taken by October 31, 2010.

Perfect 10: Wine destinations


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