Wine is not just a beverage, it could also tell the story of an entire region. Europe specifically has a lot of beautiful vineyards which makes it hard to select the top 10 wine regions and vineyards in the country. But we’ll try. Even if you are not a fan of the drink, we hope you love nature and love taking strolls around beautiful vineyards. Looking for the best wines regions and vineyards in Europe? Here is our top 10 picks.
Wine Regions in Europe: A Top 10 Wine Regions and Vineyards in Europe.
1. Bordeaux, France
When I think of France, I think of croissants, coffee, and wine- well, among other things, at least. Wine is extremely popular in this country. Bordeaux is a region located in the southwest of France, and is considered one of the largest wine regions in Europe. Before heading to the popular village of Saint-Emilion to tour around the beautiful chateaus and vineyards, you can walk around the city and check out the local favorites. Bordeaux does not fall short on restaurants and shops.
Once you had your fill of the city, head on to Saint-Emilion and have a taste of its exquisite wine. This quaint medieval town has been well preserved, and is surrounded by over 12,355 acres (5,000 hectares) of vines. This historic village was also listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. Visiting here will give you a wine and history filled day.
2. Piedmont, Italy
Aside from pasta and gelato, wine is among the most common denominators in the country. It’s present in any meals and in any occasions. Piedmont (Piemonte in Italian) is a beautiful wine region in the northwest of Italy.
It borders Italy, Switzerland, and France. Its mountainous yet fertile landscape is home to agricultural products such as rice and grapevines. Barolo and Barbaresco dominate the region. On your visit, you may also want to try other wines such as Barberad ’Asti and Asti Spumante.
3. Alentejo, Portugal
Wines and festivals often go hand in hand in Portugal. Alentejo has more than 250 wine producers, and the vineyards span out over 54,363 acres (22,000 hectares). Wine is good all year in Alentejo, but it would be best to visit during their Festa da Vinha e do Vinho (Festival of the Vine and Wine) which takes place every November.
The festival is celebrated in Alentejo’s sub-region Borba. Aside from vines and wines, indulge yourself with some history and culture by dropping by Redondo and checking out Enoteca and the Museum do Vinho.
4. Mosel, Germany
Mosel is one of the thirteen wine regions in Germany. Although the country is more famous for its beer, the vast vineyards of these 13 regions as well as the country’s efficient rail network make Germany one of the top wine producers across Europe. In this vast wine region, various types of wines are available.
Upper Mosel wines are often characterized by their low alcohol content, with powerful fruity notes and high acidity. Middle Mosel wines, on the other hand, are aged gracefully for fifty to one hundred years and are considered the complete examples of German wines. If you would like to visit for the view, hop on a train and take the riverside ride between Cochem and Koblenz for a picturesque view.
5. La Rioja, Spain
La Rioja is a wine region in northern Spain that has a total of 140 acres (57 fifty hectares) of vineyards. This region produces about 66 million gallons (250 million liters) of wine per year. That’s a lot of wine. If you would like to join the festivities of harvest time, visit around September to late October.
The most abundant red grape here is the Tempranillo; other varieties include Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, and Mazuelo. For whites, Viura dominates the region’s vineyards. To have the best wine tasting experience here, join an all-night tapas and wine crawl in the regional capital of Logroño, and have your fill of the authentic Spanish tapas y vinos.
6. Tuscany, Italy
Have you seen the film “Under the Tuscan Sun”? If you have, you already know that it’s a beautiful place full of flowers, olive trees, and vineyards. Tuscany is located in central Italy and is frequented by tourists because of its scenic landscapes, artistic heritage, and magnificent cities- Florence, being one.
Aside from beautiful vineyards and exquisite wine, Tuscany is also home to Renaissance art and architecture masterpieces. For a different scene, the Tuscan Archipelago is surrounded by a crystal clear sea with long and sandy beaches, which makes it an ultimate vacation destination. And while in Tuscany, please check out other attractions in the area.
7. Santorini, Greece
The beach may be the first thing you’ll think of when Santorini comes up in a conversation. It is afterall ranked one of the best island in the world. Postcards of Santorini always show the breathtaking ocean and the lovely village with all of its white villas. But of course, like most of the regions listed on this post, Santorini has so much more to offer, including wine. Santorini is Greece’s most prominent wine region and is home of the oldest vineyard in Europe.
There are three classifications of Santorini wines; Santorini, Vinsanto, and Nykteri. Santorini variety contains at least 75% of Assyrtiko grape (the island’s flagship grape). Vinsanto wines are made up of natural sugar and acids of the late harvested grapes that have been sun dried for two weeks. These will be left for fermentation and aging for at least two years. Nykteri wines are from grapes that are harvested at night or before sunrise to avoid hot temperatures. Aging for this wine is at least three months. Sipping a glass of Santorini’s finest wine with the view of the ocean seems to be an element of a good vacation.
8. Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary
Tokaj-Hegyalja is one of the twenty-two wine regions in Hungary. With its over 27,181 acres (11,000 hectares) of classified vineyards, the region was been declared a World Heritage Site in 2002 under the name Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape. There is so much to see in the region, but the most popular jump-off would be the foothills of the Zemplen Mountains in Tokaj.
If you are planning to visit, you can get here in four hours via train from Budapest. The region has long been popular, even before it was declared as heritage site because of its full-bodied sweet desert wine called Tokajiaszú, which is also the world’s oldest botrytized wine. And to sweeten things up, Hungary is on our list of the cheapest places to visit in Europe this year.
9. Champagne, France
Champagne is one of the most popular and accessible wine regions in France. You can easily get here via train from Paris. If you will take the high-speed train from Paris to Reims, travel time is only an hour. Day trippers frequent this place, but if you prefer to spend the night to have more time to explore the vineyards, taste some wine, and tour around Reims, a couple of accommodations are available.
If you are lucky, you might be allowed to explore the wine cellars that were dug below the city a couple of centuries ago. French peoplrtake their wine very seriously. As per wine experts, only sparkling wine made in Champagne, France can be labeled as true champagne. Luxury labels such as Moët &Chandon and Dom Pérignon are produced here. The breathtaking beauty of the region entices long walks and conversations with fellow wine enthusiasts.
10. Catalonia, Spain
The climate in Catalonia, Spain is perfect for growing abundant vineyards. The sun shines all year long here, even in winter. During summertime, the temperature is moderate and rainfall is usually consistent around spring and fall. Catalonia is more than just your usual wine region.
Aside from the expected wine tasting sessions, festivals, food and wine classes, endless strolls to vineyards, and visits to wineries, wellness centers are sprouting like mushrooms here. Yes, you can associate wine with wellness. There are centers that focus on wine therapy treatments, which applies grape and wine properties to health and wellness. Where do I sign up? This is definitely something a couple of us would be interested in.
Hope our list of top 10 Vineyards in Europe inspires you to visit some soon and remember, drink responsibly.