Wine lovers know that much of the joy of drinking is in the experience, as well as the actual taste. The scenery, the sight of the bottle arriving, the uncorking, the pouring, and the rituals of swirling, sniffing, and sipping – all combine to create a unique wine story.
Every glass of wine has the power to take its sampler on a journey, telling the unique narrative of its terroir, climate, and tradition, but to get the full story, it’s vital to go straight to the source.
Therefore, in this article, we will explore some of the world’s most prestigious destinations for dedicated oenophiles, giving you inspiration for your next luxury wine experience.
Provence is the oldest winemaking region in France and here you will be overwhelmed with choice when it comes to luxury wine experiences. The vineyards stretch out over miles of land, around historic cities, along the Mediterranean coastlines, and into the lush hills and mountains, with a variety of microclimates and soils.
Predominantly known for its rosé wines (up to 90% of the area's total production) you can sample a wide range of local wines from over 65 independent wineries, which will not disappoint. You could take a heli-wine tour, flying by helicopter to Aix to sample its Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence or land near Maison des Vines Coteaux Varois en Provence towards Le Val to taste their exceptional rosés.
Why not also hire a bike to ride through the vineyards and orchards of cherries and apricots? TerraVentoux is a 200-hectare vineyard in the heart of the Mont-Ventoux Regional Natural Park, which offers electric bike ride tours, and they’ll personally guide you to the most beautiful places, like the beautiful hidden town of Flassan located in the centre of vineyards and orchards.
The highest quality red wines of Provence are produced in Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, and in Chateauneuf-du-Pape to the north of Provence. Excellent reds are also made in Palette to the east of Aix, where there is more Mourvèdre in the blend, reflecting a warmer climate.
Cachapoal Valley, Chile
Nestled between the Andes and the Coastal Range in the Chilean winemaking heartland., you can find Cachapoal Valley. This temperate northern part of the prospering Rapel Valley has a constant Mediterranean climate, making it a perfect location for producing top-quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. It’s also breathtakingly beautiful to visit.
Tour its stunning landscapes and vineyards on horseback or by mountain bike and take your time to enjoy the notorious Chilean hospitality at one of its many friendly vineyards, restaurants, and hotels.
Here you can discover both historic wineries and modern boutique vineyards and enjoy the powerful reds of this vinicultural paradise.
One of the most innovative wineries in the Rapel Valley is the VIK Vineyard. Opened in 2004 by Alex and Carrie VIK, the ambitious couple set out with the goal of making one of the world’s best wines, and after a 2-year scientific search, they found their terroir in Millahue and opened the vineyard right here. Located amidst the foothills of the Andes mountains, here you will find 4,300 hectares of astonishing Chilean wilderness, planted with over 327 hectares of vines composed of over 12 valleys – each with its own micro-climate and distinct exposures.
Avant-garde, eco-sustainable, and technologically innovative, VIK Chile has a visually striking appearance – taking you on a journey that promises to redefine any wine experience you’ve ever previously done. Perfectly designed with contemporary architecture, the hotel here is well renowned as the most luxurious hotel in Chile, allowing you to switch off and unwind in between tastings. You can simply relax and sip poolside, or explore the reserve via biking, trekking, or horseback riding.
Take part in premium tasting experiences that include their three blends - Milla Cala, La Piu Belle, and the iconic wine VIK, plus a barrel-tasting of three varieties - Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, and Syrah. Discover VIK’s most closely guarded secrets with insider info from the experts who will be there to guide you every step of the way.
The wine credentials of Bordeaux need no introduction. It is the biggest appellation (AOC) in France and produces more than 75 million cases of wine each year. A trip here is an absolute duty for dedicated wine lovers, however making appointments at the best cellars is far from easy, and you’ll need to be in the know to find all the hidden gems.
For this reason, our private, two-night Best of Bordeaux experience offers you that perfect insider access. The invitation-only excursion includes a visit to the cellars of a highly prestigious private wine estate in the village of Margaux for a private tasting with a master sommelier and the opportunity to blend your own wine and design your own wine label. It’s even possible to arrange to have bottles of your personalised wine shipped to your home every six months.
Stay at the charming, five-star Les Sources De Caudalie, surrounded by the Grand Cru vineyards of the famed Château Smith Haut Lafitte. Here you can relax in beautiful, antique-filled suites as well as enjoy luxurious grape-based treatments at the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa and gourmet dining at the two-Michelin-star La Grand’Vigne restaurant.
Franschhoek Wine Valley, South Africa
Huddled between lofty mountain ranges in the beautiful Cape winelands lies the magnificent Franschhoek Valley. This is the ultimate wine heartland of the country, where splendid wines are grown, and remarkable cuisine is prepared by world-class chefs.
Spectacular vineyards spread across the vast mountain slopes, settled more than 300 years ago, and picturesque villages of friendly, hospitable locals are dotted here and there, ready to welcome you.
Boschendal Wine Farm is one of the Western Cape’s oldest wine farms, however, their robust thinking and sustainable agricultural techniques have made them pioneers in modern, regenerative farming. Their winemaking philosophy puts their natural heritage first, balancing tradition and experience with contemporary innovation to produce classic wines with a measured modern new world attitude. Here you can sample premium wines of unwavering exceptional quality in a convivial and openhearted setting.
Babylonstoren is another of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. It is located at the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek Wine Valley and features a unique hotel, gardens, and 232 acres of vineyards, producing 13 different grape varieties including pinot noir and chardonnay. Wines are produced in a state-of-the-art winery and are made to showcase the soils and climate where their grapes are grown. Enjoy private tastings led by cellar master Charl Coetzee and winemaker Klaas Stoffberg while soaking in views of the conical Babylonstoren hill, Simonsberg, and the Banghoek Mountains. Tram goers can hop off at Babylonstoren for a wine tasting or daily cellar tour as part of the Franschhoek Wine Tram experience, which covers eight different wine estates in the valley.
Douro Valley, Portugal
Portugal’s stunning Douro Valley is the oldest, and one of the most exciting, wine regions in the world. Here you can explore numerous wineries to appreciate the diversity of flavours and cultures throughout the region.
While in the region, we can introduce you to the owners of some of the most revered wine and port estates, as well as offer you some of the finest cuisine in the most picturesque locations. You could take a tour of the Ramos Pinto cellars in Porto, as well as blend your very own port wine, which we will bottle and send back to your home.
During your luxury wine experience in the Douro Valley, you could also enjoy a private tour around Graham’s famous port cellars, culminating in a tasting of one of their earliest ports blended in 1883, followed by a beautiful dinner on their private terrace overlooking the Douro Valley. Or, how about sailing aboard the glorious Pippadouro II boat, voyaging upstream to the Vesuvio Estate to enjoy lunch on the terrace paired with wines and ports, then spending the night on an exclusive fly camp, sleeping under the stars and waking up to a glowing sunrise.
We highly recommend staying at the Six Senses resort, enjoying rare wines and pampering treatments, as well as sampling some of the finest tawny and vintage ports at Quinta do Noval, while dining al fresco underneath their hundred-year-old cedar tree.
Italy is a delight for food and wine lovers. And, with so many famed areas to choose from, the decision of where to base yourself could be a tricky one.
The Barolo region is one area, which is particularly special, particularly for oenophiles. Located in the Piedmont region, the landscape here features endless rolling hills and vineyards, producing some of the world’s greatest wines. Barolo wine can only be produced in one of 11 villages: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba, (which are entirely included in the production area), and Monforte d’Alba, La Morra, Verduno, Novello, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d’Alba, Roddi and Cherasco (partially included in the Appellation boundaries.)
Perhaps one of the most highly regarded wineries in the Barolo region is Cantina Mascarello Bartolo. The exclusive Mascarello Bartolo wines are nearly impossible to find anywhere else in Italy or internationally as the winery produces only a limited number of bottles each year, and they are sold out well before the wines are even bottled. The owner of the winery, Maria Teresa (daughter of the late Bartolo Mascarello), takes extra special care to produce their wines using traditional methods and makes only enough wine to comfortably sustain her business, her family, employees, and a handful of loyal customers.
Just a few kilometres from Barolo, you can find Monforte d’Alba - a small medieval hilltop village with steep streets, an open-air amphitheatre and expanses of vineyards. It’s not surprising at all that the village has been on the list of the most beautiful villages in Italy. Here you can enjoy demonstrations of the traditional dégorgement of a vintage cuvee by hand as you dine on Michelin-star food and look out over historic buildings and the far-reaching landscape of grapevines.
If these wine destinations have made you thirsty for more, then we would love to help you create a bespoke itinerary, wherever it may be in the world. Get in touch today to speak with one of our wine and travel experts and let us create your next wine travel story.