Whether you’re single and spending it with friends or coupled up and embarking on a romantic weekend, many of us like to raise a glass or two on Valentine’s Day. Why not step it up a notch this year and enjoy a glass of vino in one of the world’s most beautiful vineyards? We’ve put together a list of the top five wineries to visit this Valentine’s:
Loire Valley – France
What’s not to love about our neighbouring country France, when it is filled with great landscapes, food and culture? Another feature that they can add to their list of redeeming attributes is the wines they produce.
Some of the most popular French vineyards are located in the Loire Valley. The Loire is the longest wild river in France, and much of it is surrounded by the picturesque Loire Valley. The riverbanks are scattered with trails of vineyards and magnificent chateaus, which has provided the Valley with its second name: the ‘valley of the kings.’
Many great wines are produced in this region, such as the Sancerre and Savennieres. You can stop at a lot of chateaus and caves in the area – Saumur is particularly tranquil and stunning in the summertime!
You can also visit chateaus such as Chambord (which you may recognise from ‘Chambord’ Framboise liqueur that is produced in the area), and the beautiful Chenonceau with gorgeous gardens that are smaller and romantic in style. You could also explore the Amboise gardens, where Leonardo Da Vinci lived for a while.
Chianti – Italy
Wine and Italy seem to go hand-in-hand, so it’s not unexpected that an Italian vineyard is included on our list.
A region that is known for its excellent wine production is Tuscany; one particularly great wine estate is in Chianti, named the Viticco vineyard.
The Viticcio farm stretches from the castle above to the valley below, encompassing over 300,000 square meters of vineyards, olive groves, forest and includes nine impressive farmhouses (which can be rented out as accommodation – what an ideal way to spend a Valentine’s Day!)
Staying in the Viticcio farm provides 360° panoramic views of the vineyards, castles and small medieval hamlets, whilst also being in an ideal location for day trips to Florence.
Valentine’s day just got a little fruitier…
Barossa Valley – Australia
The Barossa Valley is based in the North-west region of Adelaide in Australia. The wine industry is arguably one of the key drivers of tourism in Barossa, with over 14,000 hectares under vine in the region. (To put it in context, that’s approximately 22,000 football pitches…)
This region is known for its quality production of red wines, particularly it’s Shiraz, which is a favourite around the globe.
An interesting feature of the Barossa Valley is that it is home to original Jacob’s Creek vineyard, which won an award for the Best Tourism Winery in Australia. Visitors can tour the demonstration vineyard of fourteen different grape varieties, whilst also learning about the story of how the founder planted the first vineyard in 1847.
Podravje – Slovenia
Some people may think of Slovenia as an underdog in this list, but don’t be fooled, many of its regions could be a great contender for your Valentine’s Day vineyard touring.
Firstly, Slovenia is a lot closer to visit than some of the other vineyards on this list such as Australia or Canada. Less money spent on long-haul flights means more money to spend on liquid souvenirs! In addition, bigger isn’t necessarily better; because of Slovenia’s compact size, it’s easy to visit and sample the grape from a number of different regions. Explore the East of Slovenia if you fancy reds or West if you prefer whites.
The Podravje region is the largest winegrowing area in the country and is located in eastern Slovenia, which is considered be among the best 4% of wine-producing areas in the world.
A large number of grapes from this area are used to produce wines such as Rhein Riesling and Chardonnay, followed by Sauvignon, Traminec and Yellow Muscat. If you’re more of a red person, they produce great Blue Franconian, Pinot Noir and Žametna Črnina (Black Velvet).
It also boasts idyllic scenery; the peaceful hilltop villages would make a perfect backdrop for your couples’ picture on Instagram.
Okanagan Valley - Canada
I’m yet to find anyone that has a bad word to say about Canada, and the same goes for their wine produce.
The Okanagan Valley is set in a beautiful corner of British Colombia and includes over 130 wineries. Aside from the wine production, the first thing to mention is the landscapes that surround the vineyards; mountains in the north and desert-land in the south, plus its set alongside the serene Lake Okanagan, you’re almost spoilt for choice here!
Experts say that this vineyard produces impeccable Pinot Noire for the red-lovers, and a beautifully crisp Chardonnay if you prefer a white.
It’s also worth adding that this particular wine region has some royal fans, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge having stopped here to taste the local goods. Why not give yourself the royal treatment this Valentine’s Day, too?
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a sceptic, enjoying some delectable wine in one of these vineyards will be sure to make your year. Don’t forget to top up your Caxton card before your trip, so you can spend abroad fee-free when purchasing the many bottles of Sancerre or Riesling.