The Most Affordable Fine Wine Regions
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 affordable fine 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. 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, and you won’t spend much more than $40 per person on dinners. 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
Chile is one of the best places in the world for finding fantastic wines at great and affordable prices. You can get a bottle of local wine with a steak dinner for the price of just the wine in other wine regions. Be sure to taste the most famous grape varieties in the region: Carmenère and Cabernet Sauvignon. Bottle prices range from $20 to $30, with tastings costing little more than $10.
Don’t miss some of the top wineries in the area including, Vina Anakena, Chateau Los Boldos, and Vina Chateau. When you are hungry, travel to Fuegos de Apalta, a restaurant run by Frances Mallmann, that gives you the impression that you are dining in the heart of a vineyard. While it is a bit on the pricier side, dinner is $75 or more, it’s an excellent value for the quality.
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. Finger Lakes’ wines made from Riesling, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and even sparkling wines are excellent quality and usually at a cheaper price, since the region is still new.
Did you know that the Finger Lakes in New York is quickly becoming a top American wine region?
Exceptional Pinot Noir is produced at both Element and Hearts and Hands Wine Company. Check out Red Tail Ridge or Kemmeter if you love sparkling wines, according to some experts it “may alter your life about Riesling.” The Finger Lakes is one of our favorite affordable fine wine regions to recommend!
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. 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 established Walla Walla as a fine wine region in the 1970’s. Since then, the area has given rise to renowned wineries such as Seven Hills, L’Ecole No. 41, and Saviah Cellars.
6. Niagara, Ontario
The Canadian side of Niagara Falls is full of attractions like boat rides, breweries, and great vistas. But located just nearby is also a top wine region. If the weather is nice, rent bikes to visit Hidden Bench and Big Head wineries, where $15 bottles of Pinot Noir taste like they should cost roughly twice that amount.
When it is time to eat, make a pit stop at Niagara-on-the-Lake, where you can enjoy the aforementioned boat excursion, as well as delicious vineyard fare at Trius or Peller Estates. Then, if you need a break from wine, embark on the Niagara Ale Trail and discover some of the local breweries.
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 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, 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 the town of Cafayate.
9. Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Although Bulgaria may not 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 through Bulgaria is incredibly affordable. Plus, some of the best wineries in the nation are close to the charming town of Plovdiv, making a wine tasting day trip easily accessible.
10. Santorini, Greece
Many tourists’ bucket lists include visiting the tiny, whitewashed island of Santorini, in the Mediterranean Sea. However, not many people are aware that the island is home to several lovely wineries.
Hiring a motorcycle and riding around the island in search of signs that read “wine tasting” is a great way to pass an afternoon, and 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.
Want to read more about wine? Try reading these books!
“Cachapoal Valley.” n.d. Chile Travel. Accessed June 1, 2023. https://www.chile.travel/en/where-to-go/destination/valle-de-cachap.
“Cupertino’s Wine Country | City of Cupertino, CA.” n.d. Www.cupertino.org. Accessed June 1, 2023. https://www.cupertino.org/our-city/about-cupertino/cupertino-s-wine-country.
“Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country – Uncork the Sun.” n.d. Accessed June 1, 2023. https://www.oliverosoyoos.com/.
Walter, Erica. 2020. “Walla Walla Valley Voted America’s Best Wine Region.” Visit Walla Walla. August 21, 2020. https://wallawalla.org/best-wine-region-walla-walla/.
“Wine Country Ontario.” n.d. Wine Country Ontario. https://winecountryontario.ca/.