If you’re a serious oenophile you have probably dreamed about visiting a famous global wine capital or two. Well picture this: Waking up in an exotic location, surrounded by quaint wineries and steeped in history and culture. And nearby the sound of breaking waves is calling you to pristine sun-drenched beaches. Now that is what we call having it al – a wine holiday by the sea! Some of these picture-perfect destinations might be familiar to you and others somewhat obscure, but one thing is certain: they are all bucket-list worthy!
1. Amalfi, Italy
The Amalfi Coast in south-western Italy has to be one of the most scenic drives in the world, spanning about 50 km of unspoilt sea vistas. It is situated in the Campania region where grapes have been grown for over 2 000 years, a tradition first introduced by the ancient Greeks and continued by the Romans. Yet the area is probably most famous for another alcoholic beverage – Limoncello, the famous Italian lemon liqueur made from the gigantic lemons produced here.
2. Margaret River, Australia
This scenic wine region lies on the western edge of Australia, about 3 hours’ drive south of Perth. Margaret River has built its wine reputation on big, bold Cabernets, and the Chardonnay is also excellent. The region is also famous for its exceptional fresh produce and bustling foodie and restaurant scene. But one of its biggest drawing cards is the postcard-pretty beaches offering crystal clear turquoise water and incredible surfing.
3. Porto, Portugal
This ancient port with its beautiful bridges hugs the River Douro and the Atlantic Ocean. The historical old town centre is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and lined with majestic monuments. But the highlight for tourists has to be a wine cruise on the river, which stretches for more than 200 into Portugal, visiting the atmospheric Quintas (wine estates) and tasting the Douro Valley’s signature port wines. And the outlying beaches are terrific by the way.
4. Hermanus, South Africa
One of South Africa’s most loved coastal towns, Hermanus is known for whale spotting but also boasts a scenic wine route that produces some of the country’s finest premium wines. The Hemel-en-Aarde (literally translated as Heaven and Earth) Valley just outside town is perched on beautiful fynbos-clad mountains in close proximity to the sea. Here you’ll find some outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in particular. Sounds like heaven on earth indeed.
5. Santorini, Greece
Not much can be said about the beauty of this famous Greek Island that hasn’t been lyricised already. Suffice it to say that with its cliffhanging whitewashed buildings, romantic sunsets and volcanic pebble beaches it is a must-visit for any traveller, regardless of whether you are a wine lover or not. But for those looking for a glass (or bottle) of Santorini’s finest, the wide variety of indigenous Assyrtiko whites come highly recommended.
Wine and sea is undoubtably a marriage made in heaven. And when these two meet, you can be sure that other great things will follow – spectacular views, fantastic weather, delicious fresh fare and gregarious locals, and not to mention that intangible vibe that ignites your soul.