This article was originally written for Janbala.

While we’re familiar with the famed wine regions of Napa, Tuscany and Bordeaux, the throngs of tourists and overpriced tastings have inspired us to explore elsewhere. Care to join us?

If you want to travel like a seasoned sommelier, pause the obvious plans and opt for lesser known regions still flying under the mainstream radar… for now. Baja’s burgeoning Valle de Guadalupe is putting Mexico on the map for so much more than cerveza. Over in Italy, Mt. Etna’s volcanic stress is breeding full-bodied perfection. On the southern cape of South Africa, Constantia Valley is proving royal flavor still pleases the modern palate. And down in Portugal, the Algarve region is answering your prayers: wine tasting with a picturesque beach backdrop.

It’s time to upgrade your vino vacation with a trip to one of these underrated regions. Because really, can you think of a better reason to travel than the pursuit of a great glass of wine?

Mt. Etna Wine Region in Sicily, Italy

Mt. Etna is an active volcano located on the Italian island of Sicily. With the steep terrain and volatile soil, Mt. Etna grapes are constantly under stress and thus produce some of the best wine in the world. Wait, what? Unlike human productivity, grapes get better while under a great amount of stress. With fresh figs, peaches and olives growing in the area, the wines take on a fresh, acidic and mineral taste. The queen grape is by far the Etna Rosso (translates to Etna Red). Fruit-rich and full-bodied, the Etna Rosso bites you on the first sip and elegantly lingers on your palate. Etna Rosso pairs perfectly with pasta and a hearty, fresh tomato sauce. If you appreciate a quiet countryside and enjoy the outdoors, the Etna wine region is for you. Feeling adventurous? Hike Mt. Etna and stop at the different vineyards for refreshers along the way.

Mt. etna sicily

“Feeling adventurous? Hike Mt. Etna and stop at the different vineyards for refreshers along the way.”

Valle de Guadalupe – Mexico’s Wine Country

Mexico may be known for its beautiful beaches and warm climate, but there’s more on the menu than tequila. The Valle de Guadalupe region is fast becoming one of the top wine destinations in the world. Baja’s Mediterranean climate is perfect for growing Grenache, Cabernet and Zinfandel varietals. An awe-inspiring one-hour drive south of San Diego along picturesque Highway One leads you to this up-and-coming region filled with family-run wineries, boutique hotels, restaurants with big-deal chefs and panoramic vineyard views not too far from the beach. The vibe remains low-key, despite Baja’s 100+ area wineries and international acclaim. Valle de Guadalupe is the perfect weekend getaway for California wine lovers looking to substitute the Napa routine for south of the border flavor.

mexican wine

“…family-run wineries, boutique hotels and panoramic vineyard views not too far from the beach.”

The Algarve Wine Region in Portugal

While Portugal is best known for its sweet Port, there are more flavors to discover along the Golden Coast of the Algarve. If the golden sandy beaches and brilliant blue waters of the Algarve weren’t enough, this region also produces some of the most delicious wines in the world. For organic wines, visit Monte da Casteleja in the lovely city of Lagos. The vineyard creates refined white, red and rosé wines with a Portuguese twist. The Algarvian viticulture dates back to the Roman Empire, when the sandy clay and shale soil conditions of the area first mixed its signature minerality. The traditional red varietals of the area are Castelāo and Negra Mole, while notable whites are Arinto and Síria. Fun fact: the wines of this region have higher alcohol content. Beach lovers with affinity for wine should head straight to the Algarve.

“While Portugal is best known for its sweet Port, there are more flavors to discover along the Golden Coast.”

 

For the full article, featured on Janbala, click here!

The Algarve Wine Region in Portugal

While Portugal is best known for its sweet Port, there are more flavors to discover along the Golden Coast of the Algarve. If the golden sandy beaches and brilliant blue waters of the Algarve weren’t enough, this region also produces some of the most delicious wines in the world. For organic wines, visit Monte da Casteleja in the lovely city of Lagos. The vineyard creates refined white, red and rosé wines with a Portuguese twist. The Algarvian viticulture dates back to the Roman Empire, when the sandy clay and shale soil conditions of the area first mixed its signature minerality. The traditional red varietals of the area are Castelāo and Negra Mole, while notable whites are Arinto and Síria. Fun fact: the wines of this region have higher alcohol content. Beach lovers with affinity for wine should head straight to the Algarve.

lagos portugal

“While Portugal is best known for its sweet Port, there are more flavors to discover along the Golden Coast.”

For the full article, featured on Janbala, click here!