Wine tourism or Enotourism means organizing travel around the appreciation of, tasting of, and purchase of wine.
As wine is usually regarded as the most sophisticated of alcoholic beverages, this is a kind of tourism highly developed in many regions around the world, and it can be as simple as hopping on a wine shuttle in Napa Valley or as complicated as renting a villa in the south of France for a month. Enotourism is a great way to learn about the people, culture, heritage, and customs of an area. Some of the famous wine producing regions of the world have been producing wine for centuries or even millennia, and the production and consumption of wine is deeply ingrained in the local culture. Also, these areas tend to be off the beaten tourist track (although not that far off) so enotourism can expose travelers to new and interesting areas. Getting out and visiting wine producers provides contact with local farmers and artisans who care deeply about the area. Wine growers are farmers, and their perspective on the local area, and life in general, tends to be different from other locals typically encountered while traveling.
For the oenophile, enotourism is a wonderful way to better understand terroir, the difficult to define concept that wine makers often use to describe a key component of their art. Roughly speaking, it has to do with how the quality of the land in which the grapes are grown affects the taste of the wine. Tasting wine at a wine shop or in the comfort of home can provide a hint at the terroir that produced the wine. But spending several days visiting the area, chatting with the wine makers and growers, and eating the local cuisine (which has evolved together with the wine for the two to perfectly complement each other) will provide an exceptional context for the wine and give deep insight into why and how the wine turned out the way it did.
See and do
The heart of enotourism is visiting wineries, and of course, tasting the wines.
One of the best ways to begin an adventure in enotourism is to attend wine classes at a respectable Wine School. There are several across the United States, with notable ones being the Chicago wine school, the International Wine Center in New York, and the Wine School in Philadelphia.
Don't drink and drive.
- Rheinhessen: Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Dornfelder, Silvaner, Portugieser, Kerner, Spätburgunder, Grauburgunder, Scheurebe
- Palatinate: Riesling, Dornfelder, Müller-Thurgau, Portugieser, Spätburgunder, Kerner, Grauburgunder, Weißburgunder
- Baden: Spätburgunder, Müller-Thurgau, Grauburgunder, Riesling, Weißburgunder, Gutedel
- Württemberg:Trollinger, Riesling, Schwarzriesling, Lemberger, Spätburgunder, Kerner
- Mosel:Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Elbling, Kerner
- Franconia: Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Bacchus
- Nahe: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Dornfelder
- Rheingau: Riesling, Spätburgunder, Müller-Thurgau
- Saale-Unstrut: Müller-Thurgau, Weißburgunder, Silvaner
- Ahr: Spätburgunder, Riesling, Portugieser
- Saxony: Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Weißburgunder
- Mittelrhein: Riesling, Spätburgunder, Müller-Thurgau
- Hessische Bergstraße: Riesling, Spätburgunder, Grauburgunder
Like in France, wine is a traditional product in Italy. It is produced virtually everywhere in the country, and this means no matter where you are going, you can combine your next trip to Italy with a bit of enotourism.
That said, if you're going specifically for the wine, there are some regions that stand out. If you use the awards given by the Italian wine bible Vini d'Italia as an indication, the two regions where the best wine is produced are Piedmont and Tuscany. Both have one particularly important subregion. For Piedmont it is Langhe, where among others the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are produced. For Tuscany it is Chianti together with the towns of Montalcino and Montepulciano. Rome's Enotourism is also increased, The Roman Hills and Frascati are the most enjoiable places where "Dolce Vita" still is.
Enotourism is highly evolved in Italy, and many producers offer other services as well. Of particular importance is the agriturismo system of providing accommodation for tourists at the estate, making it easy to explore the surrounding region.
The event of Cantine Aperte on the last Sunday of May is a good opportunity for anyone interested in Italian wine. This is the day many wine producers throughout Italy open their doors for a free tasting of their wines.
Most of the country is a wine-growing area.
- Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
- Niagara Region, Ontario
- On a smaller scale, Prince Edward County in Ontario and the Eastern Townships in Québec
- Napa Valley, California
- Russian River, California
- Sonoma County, California
- Colorado's Wine Country, Colorado
- Finger Lakes, New York
- North Fork of Long Island, New York
- Yadkin Valley, North Carolina
- Swan Creek, North Carolina
- Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Loudoun County, Virginia
- Walla Walla in the Columbia River Plateau of Washington