Wine holidays are not as expensive or opulent as they sound. In most wine regions around the world you can find a good bottle of wine at a reasonable price, especially when you buy directly from the producer. Here are a few wine regions that make excellent vacations without breaking the bank.
1. Oliver Osoyoos, British Columbia
The Okanogan Valley, located just north of central Washington State, is an often overlooked wine region, making it cheaper than more famous regions nearby. It also happens to be one of the most breathtaking wine regions in the world. Here the towering Cascade and Columbia mountains surround a green valley bursting with vineyards, eateries, and budget-friendly lodging.
You can start your day at Road 13 and end it with a sunset at Burrowing Owl on the other side of the valley. Rustico Farms and Cellars, a winery with a western motif, is a great stop along the way. Additionally, Church and State boast wines with inventive, occasionally offensive, labels. Rarely are tastings more than $9. You won’t spend much more than $40 per person on dinners. And when you need a break from wine tasting, check out Osoyoos Lake, where you can walk a 12 mile loop, or just enjoy the views.
2. Cachapoal Valley, Chile
Once you have made it there, Chile is one of the best places in the world for finding fantastic wine values, with complete steak dinners costing less than $30 and gourmet barbecues with extensive wine tastings for about $75. Said barbeque may be found at Vina San Pedro, which is close to Requinoa. Visit this expansive estate at the foot of the mountains, where daytime meals feature hearty grilled meats and wine and evening meals are served in a dining room with views of the surrounding valley.
The greatest grapes for the area are Carmenere and cabernet sauvignon, and you can get excellent wines created from those two grape varieties all around the valley at establishments like Vina Anakena, Chateau Los Boldos, and Vina Chateau. Bottle prices range from $20 to $30, with tastings costing little more than $10. When you are hungry, travel to Vina Montes to Fuegos de Apalta, the restaurant run by Frances Mallmann that gives you the impression that you are dining in the heart of a vineyard. You will probably spend $75 or more per supper throughout this leg of the journey. But it is still inexpensive compared to any Mallmann location in the US.
3. Finger Lakes, New York
It is no secret that during the past several years, the Finger Lakes have risen to the top of the Northeast’s wine regions. However, the large gorges and vibrant fall foliage of western New York are worth viewing with or without wine, so the throngs of urbanites making the trip there are not just following a trend. But when the juice is flowing, the journey is even more alluring.
Did you know that in this region you can visit the famous Ridge Vineyards?
Producers in the Finger Lakes produce exceptional pinot noir at both Element and Hearts and Hands Wine Company, going far beyond the conventional ice wine found in frigid locations. Porter advised checking out Red Tail Ridge or going to the tasting at Kemmeter if you want sparkling wine since it “may alter your life about riesling.” When it’s time to eat, visit Dano’s Heuriger in Lodi, which serves meals with local wines that are influenced by Viennese wine. Or the “high-end, low-brow food” at the FLX Winery in Dundee, where burgers cost $7 and there is hardly anything priced over $13.
4. Cupertino, California
If you are visiting the Bay Area and want to go wine tasting, Cupertino, which is just outside of San Jose, is your nearest, closest option. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, on a mountaintop overlooking the valley and Apple’s spaceship headquarters, you may visit the renowned Ridge Vineyards. If you don’t want to experience the fabled Monte Bello, you can get a sampling for $10 and a bottle to take home for less than $25.
5. Walla Walla, Washington
Walla Walla has successfully transitioned from being a prison town to a wine destination, yet it hasn’t priced out the average person. Although the area has been producing wine for about 150 years, Leonetti Cellar’s establishment in the 1970s was the turning point in the region’s commercial success. Since then, the area has given rise to renowned wineries such as Seven Hills, L’Ecole No. 41, and Saviah Cellars.
6. Niagara, Ontario
Nearly everyone who has visited Niagara Falls will advise you to visit the Canadian side mostly because there are attractions like jet boat rides and a brewery, as well as great vistas. Additionally, once you leave the Falls, you will be in one of the Northeast’s top wine districts. Biking through the comparatively flat vineyards to Hidden Bench and Big Head wineries, where $15 bottles of pinot noir taste like they should cost roughly twice that amount, is an option if the weather is cooperative.
When it is time to eat, make a pit stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake, where you can enjoy the aforementioned jet boat excursions in abundance as well as delicious vineyard fare at Trius or Peller Estates. Then, if you feel like combining different alcoholic beverages, embark on the Niagara Ale Trail and stop by some of the local breweries. Even if you don’t drink much, this location is a terrific bargain because it combines a visit to a famous landmark with wine tasting in one ideal weekend.
7. Rioja, Spain
The world’s most beautiful wines and wineries can be found in the Spanish wine region of Rioja. Consider locations like Marques de Riscal, Bodegas LAN, and the cutting-edge Bodegas Ysios. When visiting Marques de Murrietta’s Ygay Castle in Rioja, you may explore a 19th-century foundational winery and then consume two wines paired with “degustation aperitifs” for about $42. Eating in La Rioja won’t set you back much money either; if you wander the ancient section of Logrono, you will find yourself snared in pintxo bars where a mini-sandwich rarely costs more than a few dollars.
8. Salta, Argentina
The world-famous Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo in Argentina, both close to Mendoza, can be expensive. Wine aficionados can find excellent value in Salta province’s Cafayate wine area, which is located further north. Tours began at 100 Argentine pesos, or approximately $6.50, in Piattelli Vineyards, which is about a five-minute drive from Cafayate town.
9. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Although Bulgaria, a small nation in Eastern Europe, may not yet be on your radar as a wine producer, be assured that some of the best wines in the world have long been produced on its rich soils. Traveling to Bulgaria is incredibly affordable. Plus, some of the best wineries in the nation are close to the charming town of Plovdiv.
10. Santorini, Greece
Many tourists’ bucket lists include visiting the tiny, whitewashed island of Santorini, which bobs in the Mediterranean Sea. However, not many people are aware that the island is home to several lovely wineries.
The wine itself might not blow you away, but the experience of hiring a motorcycle and riding about the island in search of signs that read “wine tasting” is a lot of fun. This costs about $25 per day. Public transportation is another way to travel the island. If you are driving, just be careful not to sample too much.
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2. https://www.chile.travel/en/where-to-go/destination/valle-de-cachap oal/
4. Erica Walter, ‘Walla Walla Valley Voted America’s Best Wine Region’ August 21st, 2020.