While we’re familiar with the famed wine regions of Napa, Tuscany, and Bordeaux, the throngs of tourists and the overpriced wines that accompany them have caused us to explore elsewhere. If you really want to travel like a seasoned sommelier, there are several wine regions around the world that are ready to tickle your taste buds. Whether you’re a skilled sommelier or just looking for a wine weekend, these up and coming destinations will satisfy your every sense. Some of these up and coming wine regions are known for producing wine for royal families, several are known for their tantalizing terrain, while other regions have been kept a secret by thirsty locals. While these regions have managed to quietly “sip” under the radar for years, they boast big flavor without touristy crowds or the tourist prices that typically go with them. Get ready to indulge in these underrated wine regions because it’s always wine o’clock somewhere.

Puglia, Italy: While Italy is known as boasting the best wines in the world, the South-Eastern region of Puglia has gone under the radar for many years. The Piedmont and Tuscany regions consistently top wine rating lists, but it’s the region of Puglia that produces some of the best red wines in the world. Located in a warm, dry climate that hugs the Adriatic Sea, the Puglia regions most notable varietals are the Primitivo and the Negroamaro wines. These two full-bodied, fruit-forward red wines pair perfectly with delicious Italian dishes such as orecchiette pasta, burrata cheese, or tomato topped pizza. You don’t need to be eating a big dish to enjoy these wines as the vibrant tastes of blackberries and fresh figs are perfect to enjoy on their own. Try tasting these wines in a typical masseria, a fortified farmhouse that creates wine, olive oil, and other local produce. To make your glass taste even sweeter, the prices on these wines usually cost under 10 Euro a bottle!


Coco’s family is from the Puglia region!

Valle de Guadalupe, Baja, Mexico: Mexico may be known for its beautiful beaches and warm climate, but not many know that they also produce some of the best wines in the world. In the Valle de Guadalupe region of Baja, Mexico, the burgeoning region boasts a Mediterranean climate, perfect for growing gourmet Grenache, Cabernet, and Zinfandel varietals. An awe-inspiring one-hour drive south of San Diego along picturesque Highway One leaves you in this up and coming region filled with wine, olive oil, and a gourmet scene on the rise. The Valle de Guadalupe is perfect for the California wine lover that wants to get away from the droves of tourists in Napa.

Mt. Etna, Sicily, Italy: Mt. Etna is an active volcano 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. Unlike humans, grapes get better with great amounts 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 (which 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. The Etna wine region is perfect for people who love a quiet countryside and enjoy the outdoors. If you’re feeling very adventurous, you can hike Mt. Etna while stopping at the different vineyards that ornament the volcano.


Mt. Etna wines are delicious and very well priced

Hungary: Hungary has long produced wines dating back to the times of the Roman Empire. 25 years after the communist regime has fallen, Hungary has cultivated a unique wine culture that rivals the great regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux in France. While Hungary produces many varietals of wine, the Eger, Villány, and Szeksárd regions produce elegant red varietals including Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. While the Hungarian wines rival the French in taste, they are much more cost-effective! Pair this trip with a visit to the Hungarian capital of Budapest for a historic and delicious Eastern Europe adventure.

The Algarve, Portugal: While Portugal is known for its Port wines, not many know about the wine region that hugs the Golden Coast of the Algarve. If the golden sandy beaches and aqua blue waters of the Algarve weren’t enough, they also produce some of the most delicious wines in the world. The best organic wines of the Algarve are produced at Monte da Casteleja in the lovely city of Lagos. The vineyard creates high quality white, red, and rosé wines with a Portuguese twist. The Algarvian viticulture dates back to the Roman Empire where the sandy clay and shale soil conditions of the area add to its minerality. The traditional red varietals of the area are Castelāo and Negra Mole while the white varietals include Arinto and Síria. An added bonus, the wines of this region possess higher alcohol content! If you want to mix a beach vacation with some viticulture, The Algarve (the southern coast of Portugal) is the place for you!


Wine with a side of these views? Count us in!

Constantia, South Africa: The Constantia Valley of South Africa is known as Cape Town’s Vineyard as it’s only 20 minutes from the bustling waterfront city. While many know about the neighboring Stellenbosch region of South Africa, not many realize the local favorites of the Constantia Valley. Nestled near the monumental Table Mountain, this wine region dates back to the 17th century. The taste of Constantia was made for royalty, as greats like Napoleon Bonaparte and his royal family enjoyed these varietals. This cool region is known for its easy-drinking white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Méthode Cap Classique Brut, Riesling, and Chardonnay wines. With its bevy of wonderful white and sparkling wines, Constantia is perfect for a girl’s getaway. Bubbles at breakfast? Only in Constantia!

Wachau Valley, Austria: The Wachau Valley of Austria decorates the steep hills surrounding the beautiful Danube River. This wine region lies between the charming Austrian towns of Melk and Krems and grows its grapes on steep hills plummeting down to the mighty Danube. The best way to explore the Wachau Valley is by bicycle where you can admire the rolling hills of vineyards on one side and the picturesque Danube River on the other side. Just make sure to do your drinking after you bike. The notable grape varietals from this region include the Grüner Veltliner and Riesling wines. The Danube River smooth’s out the harsh winter and summer climates of Austria to produce delicious, crisp white wines. The Grüner Veltliner is known as a dry white wine while the Wachau Valley’s Rieslings are known for their complex, mineral taste compared to the typical sweet Rieslings we are familiar with in the United States. Channel your inner Julie Andrews while you’re on top of the charming Austrian hills with a glass of Riesling in your hand. I heard that after a few glasses of wine, your singing voice improves.