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A vino voyage

Friday, July 20, 2012

If you’re the sort of person who appreciates a good glass of wine, Gargi Bansod takes you on a sojourn across some of the world’s best vineyards

‘In vino veritas’ goes a Latin phrase which means ‘in wine there is truth.’ And there sure is! If you are an avid traveller and a wine lover, there’s nothing better than combining the two. We tell you where across the world you can go for vineyard tours and get a chance to sip on some of the best wines.

The largest wine producing country in the world, France has the highest number of wine regions from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne to Alsace, Rhone, Loire and Provence. If you’re in the mood for some indulgence, head to Champagne to enjoy the world’s most expensive glass of bubbly. If you prefer red wine or a glass of chilled Chardonnay, head down to the Bourgogne wine districts and the Loire Valley, which is paradise for wine lovers. The Loire Valley has rich and fertile soil and a moderate climate and accounts for almost 75% of France’s wine production. When you visit, make sure to taste the famous white wines, especially the popular Sauvignon Blanc.

Does it really get any better than a warm plate of pasta and a glass of chilled wine? The Italians love wine and have a long history of wine culture. Italy’s most famous wine regions are Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, Trentino and Friuli. If you’re planning a trip to Italy, take a detour to Milan and drive up to Piedmont in northwest Italy. It is famous for white truffles and full bodied red wines. You can also visit the Azienda Agricola Erbaluna winery in La Morra which is famous for its organic produce and elegant wines from grape varieties. The district of Chianti, located between Siena and Florence, is Italy’s premier wine region. With beautiful castles and ruins, olive groves and over 10,000 acres of vineyards, Chianti is a must-visit. Winemakers there still stomp the grapes with their feet! It’s a sight to watch if you visit during autumn.


This might just be the oldest wine producing country, with wine production dating back to over 3,000 years. Spain is famous for its red wine and you should not miss the family Alvarez Vega Sicilia winery in Valbuena de Duero, which is in the Ribera Del Duero wine region. You can take a weekend trip to Barcelona and visit the family-run winery Pares Balta or visit the neighbouring region, Priorato which has one of the region’s top wineries, Clos Erasmus, known for its high-quality wine.

Australian wine is modern and innovative and offers you a lot of high quality varieties. In Australia, the vineyards are mainly located at the southern and south-western coasts in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia. Grange is one of Australia’s best red wines which is produced by the famous Penfolds winery in the Barossa Valley. Eastern Australia produces Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. If you love Pinot Noir, head to the vineyards near Sydney and for sparkling wine lovers, Yarra Valley is your pick. Another way to celebrate wine in Australia is by attending the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival held every March which promotes the best purveyors, chefs, farmers and winemakers that Australia has to offer.

South Africa
Don’t hesitate to make a trip to South Africa when you want to indulge in a little wine heaven, especially if you like to try new things. It is the seventh largest wine producing country in the world and is filled with a lot of great wine varieties. They work mainly with white grapes, often Chenin Blanc. The speciality of their vineyards is that they produce their own varieties of grapes by crossing different yeast strains such as the rustic South African Pinotage, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut grapes. Head here for an experimental wine experience.

Vineyards in India
Going to these places might not be feasible for all. Don’t fret! You don’t need to go across the world to enjoy wine. We bring you the best vineyards in India:
Sula Vineyards: Most of us have heard about them as Sula Vineyards have carved a niche for themselves. Situated on the outskirts of Nashik, Sula wines are very popular in India. They have a complete wine tour set for you. From vineyard tour to wine tasting and sampling to a resort for you to spend a beautiful weekend at the vineyard, Sula offers everything. They have also launched India’s first reserve wine, the Dindori Reserve Shiraz as well as India’s first dessert wine, the Late Harvest Chenin Blanc.
Website www.sulawines.com

Fratelli Wines: A little outside the Solapur district you’ll find the Fratelli Wines. A picturesque location, tours of two vineyards, wine tasting sessions in a cellar, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) rides amidst the vineyards, a bonfire with traditional folk music and dance and innumerable glasses of their varieties of wines from classic reds and whites, Chardonnay, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc to their in house classic Fratelli, you’ll be submerged into a complete world of wine culture. They have various packages such as couples package and rejuvenation package.
Website www.fratelliwines.in

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