National Drink Wine Day: Wine Destinations

by Bridget Douglas
Taylor Magazine Minimalist guide to life

There’s a holiday for literally everything – there’s even a National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day – but some things I can understand like National Coffee Day, and today, National Drink Wine Day! Now that’s one I can get down with.

The day is designated to boast the benefits that go along with drinking a glass of wine or two, as well as its role in religion and its rich history. We know drinking a whole bottle in one sitting isn’t the best for you, but a little bit is actually great for your heart and… soul. Like anything, it’s good in moderation.

If you’re a wine drinker, there’s a 99 percent chance that you stick to red or white. Some can easily flip between the two, but generally people seem to identify with one. There are some winos that even break it down to the variety or region it comes from.

I’ve compiled a few wine destinations: some red, some white and some organic wineries for people that want to be extra healthy and avoid sulfites and other additives.

Red

Bordeaux, France. France is the land of elegance and fine wine. There are several prominent regions: Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne, and Beaujolais, but Bordeaux takes the cake. After all, any wine produced in the region is named ‘Bordeaux’ if that says anything. Bordeaux table wine is a mix of Cabernet and Merlot. It is a coveted destination for the most die-hard wine enthusiasts.

Not only are the wines world-renowned, but there are great restaurants and beautiful architecture. The city itself is modern with lots of students and specialty cafes. But seriously, it’s all about the wine there.

Outside of the city you’ll find a plethora of wineries situated on gorgeous vineyards. Chateau de Candale is 45 minutes east of the city, known mostly for its Merlot. It also produces Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The spot has a long history of wine making, and Jean-Louis Vicard constructed Candale Castle in 2009. It’s a small winery with a renowned restaurant, a stunning patio and delicious dishes.

They are open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10-6:30. Reservations and tastings can be requested by email at: chateaudecandale@orange.fr or by phone at +33 (0) 5 57 19 91.

Douro Valley, Portugal. Portugal is one of the unsung beauties of Europe. Me personally, I’d rather do some wine hopping there than in Italy. Not too far from the city of Vila Real is the Douro Valley, Portugal’s wine country. The landscape is out of this world with steep terraces along a river valley, and Spanish terracotta roofed villas. If you want to have a non-touristy vacay, this is your spot to drink the wine and just enjoy the views. There are even Yacht trips that have vineyard stops… can you say luxury?

Interestingly too, it’s the world’s first designated wine region. Who knew?

The famous wine of this region is Port, a fortified sweet red wine usually added to it is a brandy. The wine sits, and the brandy is added before its done fermenting. This is not your average wine, it’s the kind you sip a bit in a small glass. It’s an after dinner delight, served with either dessert or cheese and if we want to get old school, it dates back to the 17th Century!

Settled in the centre of the Douro is Quinta do Seixo, one of the locations of Sandeman’s wines. They have four other locations throughout Portugal.

Quinta do Seixo has breathtaking views of the river valley. It is deemed a perfect place to have a vineyard picnic. Several tours are offered starting at 10 euros. The most basic one includes an introduction to their production methods, and concludes with a nice glass of Porto wine while gasping at the landscape. They have summer and winter schedules and you don’t have to call ahead which is always nice. Take a look at the site to get a feel for it: http://www.sandeman.com/visit-us/douro/quinta-do-seixo

White

Willamette Valley, Oregon. Portland, Oregon has become one of the coolest places ever. If you’ve ever seen the show ‘Portlandia,’ you know what I’m talking about. The city is full of food trucks, everything is organic, everybody has a garden, a compost pile, and everyone recycles. There are cool music venues and shops, good coffee, lots of bikers… it’s cool. It’s also settled in the Willamette Valley, the area that stretches along the Willamette River which is 150 miles long.

The region is home to tons of wineries. Although the popular red wine, Pinot Noir is the most produced in the area, the Riesling is what people come for. Due to the climate, there is limited availability for Riesling, Chardonnay, and Rose. Since its limited, it makes it that much more special.

An hour southwest of Portland is Elk Cove Vineyards, which has a daily tasting room from 10-5. A basic tasting flight is $10 including 4-6 wines. On Saturdays, tours are given for $40 a person, which includes several tastings. Their estate Riesling is a sweet, citrus, honey glass of refreshment. Go and learn about how climate affects the availability of certain wines. Stay at a Portland AirBnb, and drive to some Willamette Valley wineries in search of the perfect Riesling.

Marlborough, New Zealand. Most of us know New Zealand for its stunning landscape… and that The Lord of the Rings was filmed there. But what many don’t know is that it produces some very, very good wine – particularly the region of Marlborough located at the northeastern tip of the South Island.

Marlborough is home to Cloudy Bay, which is basically a kingdom of wineries. Since 1985, these guys have been perfecting the art of wine. They have six vineyards in Marlborough, and three in Central Otago which is close to the southern tip of the South Island.

To do the whole tasting shabang, you’re going to go to the Marlborough Cellar Door. It’s essentially the Cloudy Bay tasting room. Open from 10-4, get your taste on and have a bite to eat at the large courtyard while immersed in the vast, unique New Zealand landscape.

The must try wine is the 2005 Sauvignon Blanc. Your mum would love it (I know mine would), as well as the Pelorus Rose.

If you’re a white wine person AND a aeafood person, you HAVE to come here. Their restaurant, ‘Jacks Raw Bar,’ which is open during their summer from December to April, is a seafood lovers dream. Raw oysters are served with soy and lime sauce and a side of tempura with wasabi mayo. Other dishes are King Salmon, Sashimi, and Tuna Poke. And to top it all off, each menu item has a suggested wine pairing to go with it! I’m sold.

Visit https://us.cloudybay.co.nz/our-wines to see what I’m talking about.

Organic

Hopland, California. Like Italy and France, California is home to some of the best wines in the world. If you know anything about wine, you’ve heard of Napa Valley and Sonoma. Sonoma is honestly the perfect place to drive around the countryside from winery to winery, having tasting after tasting, and picnic after picnic. It’s an absolute must-go if you want the perfect wine getaway.

As for you organic wine lovers, there’s an area a little over an hour north of Sonoma called Hopland. Home to 15 wineries and six tasting rooms, most are organic and sustainably grown.

One of the wineries in Hopland, Campovida is the epitome of farm side elegance. They are open daily from 11-5, where you can do tastings and take in the views of the lush gardens and pretty vineyards. You can stroll through the garden with a glass in hand. They’ve even got a farm with chicken, sheep, fruits, and veggies.

Their process of winemaking is natural using yeast and native bacteria instead of chemicals and additives. They’ve got a wine for everyone: Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel… the list goes on.

The stellar city of San Francisco is not too far away, so you might as well go there because it’s amazing. Campovida has a tasting room in Oakland which is right across the bridge from San Fran. Take a gander at their site: http://www.campovida.com/

Pokolbin, Australia. On an episode of, F***, that’s Delicious with Action Bronson on Viceland, I saw the glory of organic Australian wine. While doing an episode in Sydney, he went on and on about how good their wine was. Bronson said he generally doesn’t like drinking, but he could drink their natural wine all day.

Two hours north of Sydney is Pokolbin, home to Tamburlaine Organic Wines. They have a tasting room called the Cellar Door, which is open seven days a week from 9-5. Their website http://www.tamburlaine.com.au/what-organic.html describes their wine-making process which involves sustainable bio-dynamics and is certified organic. It’s good because it’s just natural wine with no nasty fillers or preservatives (this is the way to go to avoid bad hangovers and headaches!)

The tasting room is a beautiful spot surrounded by gardens, and the building is situated on the water with a patio overlooking the Aussie wetlands. It’s a popular spot for weddings and events. They’ve got lots of reserve whites and reds that come from their three vineyards.

I wish I could go over every amazing wine destination, but this is just a nice sample. Whether extravagant or simple, you can’t go wrong with a wine getaway. Spend your National Drink Wine Day planning your next trip… or just buy an organic red or white and enjoy it with some friends. Cheers!

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