Stride climate

9 Surprising Wine Regions Around the World

By Megan Eileen McDonough, Grabr
July 29, 2016

Pop into any corner wine store and you’ll find shelves of red and white packed to the brim. Take a closer look and you’ll notice most wines hail from three or four famous regions. In short, there’s a lot you’re not seeing...and tasting. So, whether you’re a fan of red or more of a white wine and spritzer type of drinker, these are 10 wine regions around the world you probably never heard of, but should!

1. Cafayate, Argentina

Wine

If you’re looking for a less crowded but equally authentic Argentine wine region, skip Mendoza and head straight for Cafayate. The region doesn’t exactly have ideal weather conditions for wine growing (think red rocks and desert), but the results are delicious. As it turns out, the sandy soil is actually really good for irrigation control, hence why Cafayate tops our list. Spend a day winery-hopping in the charming downtown area before venturing out to nearby vineyards.

2. Lavaux, Switzerland

Wine

If you've never tasted Swiss wine, you need to change that, stat. Switzerland is no newbie to wine growing but because only 1-2% of their total production is exported outside the country, few people know what they're missing. Lavaux is a must-see, with its terraced vineyards that almost look like rice fields you’d see in Bali and birds-eye views of sea and sky. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and with quaint villages below, it’s the perfect city escape.

3. Stellenbosch, South Africa

Wine

South Africa is a lot more than safaris and amazing sunsets. One of the best wine regions is located just outside of Cape Town. The architecture of this university town is reminiscent of the country's Dutch colonial history so don't even think about leaving your camera behind. When it's time to taste, try a white Chenin Blanc (locals call it a Steen) and the red Pinotage, which is basically a mix of Pinot Noir and Cinsault. 

4. Galilee, Israel

Wine

Israel isn't just a historical hotspot; it's also a foodie's dream destination. There are several main wine regions throughout the country, but Galilee is one of the most unexpected. That said, it does bring new meaning to the “water into wine” story in the Bible. The location couldn't be more perfect; situated between the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights, the high altitude gives off a cooler climate than most, yielding some surprising flavor combinations.

5. Purcari, Moldova

Wine

Flanked by Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is among Europe's least visited countries, but what it lacks in geographic size, it more than makes up for in flavor. In fact, up until the communist collapse in the 1990s, Moldova was the Soviet Union's best wine-producing country. In recent years, Moldova has begun producing great-tasting wines again and is definitely a must-see for history buffs.

6. Nashik, India

Wine

Yup, India makes the cut! India might be better known for its vibrant fabrics and flavorful cuisine, but the wine scene is not to missed. Nashik is about a two-and-a-half hours drive northwest of Mumbai, making it an easy weekend getaway or even a quick day trip. Many local vintners produce basic French varietals such as Chenin Blanc and Shiraz and, as of late, some wildcard flavors. Come for the culture, but stay for the wine. 

7. Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Wine

Canada might have some pretty cold winters, but don't let a little chill keep you from sampling their famous ice wines. Canada's Niagara Peninsula is having a renaissance of sorts, with their ice wines often being called "liquid gold." Taste-wise, ice wines are sweet and often treated as a dessert wine, whether paired with other treats or served solo. As for making them, vintners wait until temperatures are below 14 degrees Fahrenheit before picking the frozen grapes from the vineyards.

8. Khao Tai, Thailand

Vineyard

In case you need an excuse to visit Thailand, here you go! The southeast Asian country has long been revered as a beer-loving backpackers paradise, but wine connoisseurs will find it just as hip. Khao Yai is considered the birthplace of Thai wines and as such, this is where you'll need to go for the best varietals. Getting there is fairly easy. First fly into Bangkok, and from there, you're an hour's drive away. Pair some wine tastings with a bike tour that weaves through vineyards.

9. Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Wine

If you've never heard of Bekaa Valley, today is your lucky day. While often overlooked entirely, this wine region has been crushing grapes for over 5,000 years. It's even home to the Temple of Bacchus, aka the god of wine. Despite being one of the world's oldest wine producing regions, few people know about Bekaa Valley. Come here for wines of every flavor, from dry to spicy plus traditional varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 


Craving your favorite wine? Order it on Grabr and a traveler heading your way will deliver it.


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