Whenever we travel we try to experience new countries from different angles, immersing in their cultural and natural heritage. The best way to do it when travelling in one of the wine regions is to pay a visit to a wine farm and to participate in wine tastings. France, Italy, Argentina, Chile, South Africa are just some of the countries which offer the best experiences when it comes to wine tours, showing you parts of these magnificent countries which you wouldn’t see otherwise.
If you feel like drinking is not a type of adventure you necessarily need during your travels, I might offer you a different perspective. Contrary to popular belief wine tastings are not at all just about having a few glasses of high-quality alcohol. Here are a few good reasons why you should not skip this experience.
1. You will learn about local culture.
Wine production, especially in southern Europe, is not just a significant part of the economy, but a phenomenon which is deeply rooted in the culture of the place. Wine is integrated into everyday life and without an exaggeration it carries social significance. A passionate winemaker will always be generous with his knowledge of local wine rituals and anecdotes, which is passed down from one generation to another, just like any other folklore!
2. As much as it is about wine, wine tastings are about local food!
A wine tasting is always accompanied with matching local foods, and often even with a proper dinner. Sometimes you can even try olives, cheeses, or other local delicacies, produced on the same farm! Besides, it’s a great opportunity to learn about the fine art of food and wine paring and apply this knowledge at home. Remember, wine is truly enjoyed in combination with the right meal, which can bring out the richness of its flavour and aroma.
3. You will learn about local (natural) environment
Wine grape production is a complex science and it depends heavily on the natural environment and soil of a specific place. If this is something you enjoy, ask during your tour to tell you more about terroir – a set of unique environmental aspects of a place where the wine is produced, and how it affects the taste.
4. You will meet local family businesses
Most of the wine farms in Tuscany, for example, are small family-owned businesses, which have been operating the same way for generations. Tours are often led by the members of the family, and they happily and proudly take visitors through the entire production process, demonstrating their cellars and barrels, which were still used by their grandparents.
5. You will see splendid countryside and spend a wonderful day in nature
Wine regions are always blessed with breath-taking scenery. Medieval towns in the hills of Tuscany, majestic mountains of Chile and Argentina, Douro River Valley in Portugal, lavender fields in Provence, just to name a few natural wonders you would enjoy during your drive through a wine region.
6. You will learn about history and traditions of the place
As well as culture, history of wine production is an integral part of the history of the place where the wine is made. Smaller artisan producers use traditional means of production, and their properties are a real living history. Many smaller wineries even belong to monasteries or royal families, and as a guest you get a chance to visit unique historical building and savor their mystical ambience.
This post was written by Anastasia Sharova. Anastasia is the founder of Happy Bellyfish, a booking platform for cooking classes and food tours worldwide. She explores traditional ways of cooking and food production, following her passion for nutrition, cultures and environment. Find her food stories on Happy Bellyfish Blog, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.