Are you planning a for you and your closest friends? Are you looking to do something a little different from the normal beach, pool, and sun-type vacations? If you all enjoy a glass of wine, then why not go on a wine vacation in Napa Valley?
If you’re worried about the price, don’t be as you may be surprised at some of the great deals available. At Simple Travel Solutions, because we are passionate about making people’s vacation dreams come true, we want you to have the best wine vacation possible. If you need a little more convincing, take a look at just some of the things you can do on a Napa Valley wine vacation.
A Little About Napa Valley
Just one hour's drive away from San Francisco and Sacramento, Napa Valley benefits from a unique terroir that makes it the biggest wine-growing region of California. It is home to staggering 450+ wineries, located throughout its 6 cities – Napa, Calistoga, St. Helena, Rutherford, Oakville, and Yountville. Which means there is something there for everyone.
What Makes Napa Valley Wine Vacations So Special
Obviously, the wineries there is the main reason why so many people are drawn to the region year in year out, but as you will see, Napa Valley offers so much more.
Along with a total of 475 wineries in Napa Valley, there are also more than 700 grape growers and more than 1,000 different wine brands. While the facilities and what’s available will be different from one winery to another, many offers:
Wine Tasting Sessions
Food and Wine Pairings
Special Features (like Art Galleries and Gardens)
It would be impossible to visit all the Napa Valley wineries in one vacation. However, wherever you choose to go, you’re bound to all have a lovely time.
All Aboard the Wine Train
That’s right, Napa Valley has a Wine Train. If you’re looking for a more relaxed tour of some of the best wineries, this is a great option. Centuries-old rail cars have been lovingly restored to provide you with a suitably old-fashioned and unique way to experience some of the best wine in the area.
Depending on the Wine Train tour you take, you and your friends will be taken through Napa Valley and stop at several different wineries, where you’ll have the chance to sample some. Meals, ranging from gourmet lunches to 4-course meals are also provided.
Blend Your Own Napa Valley Wine
Want a memento of your time away with your girlfriends? Maybe you want a unique gift to give to someone back home? At many Napa Valley wineries, you have the opportunity to make your own blend of wine based on your own palate (or that of the person you want to give the wine to as a gift).
If you know anything about Napa Valley, you will know that grapes and wine aren’t the only things that make it special. Napa Valley spas are world-famous and like the variety of wine on offer, there is a huge selection of different spas. From the Calistoga hot spring mineral spas that kicked off the trend to the modern spas at the Silverado and Auberge de Soleil resorts, you can all enjoy a pampering when you’re not sampling the local produce.
France and wine go together like, well French cuisine and wine. If you are planning on taking a wine vacation, either with your significant other or your besties, then France, one of the three biggest wine-producing countries in the world, is a great country to visit.
Thanks to its richly diverse climate and the different terroirs found throughout the country, it’s the perfect place to harvest various grape varieties. It’s also a significant center for art and history and offers some of the best-tasting food. What more could you want from an interesting and memorable vacation.
However, with so much land to cover and wine to taste, you’re not going to be able to cover all it has to offer in one visit. Don’t worry though, as Simple Travel Solutions is dedicated to finding you the best wine vacation deals to suit your budget. To help you figure out where you want to go, we have put together a guide to what are arguably the best wine regions in the county.
Wine Regions of France
We’re starting with the very Germanic region of Alsace. If you’re all about white wines, then you’ll want to stick a pin on this northern-eastern part of the country. The German influence comes from during the war and the fact that the two countries share a border. Its rolling hills and truly magnificent landscapes are only trumped by the fact it is responsible for some of the best-loved and renowned white wines in the world. The Alsace Wine Route is the best way to explore the region.
It takes in more than 170km through 120 towns and villages.
The Loire Valley
Although it could be argued that all of France is beautiful, perhaps the most stunning region is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Loire Valley. Aside from the scenery and stunning castles, this region is also known for its wine. There are so many wineries to visit. For example, you could take a day trip into Touraine and enjoy a visit to the troglodyte wine cellars there for some Bourgueil and Vouvray, while also taking a walk around the Chinon castle and trying the wine produced there.
You can’t talk about French wine without Bordeaux being mentioned. It is considered one of the three foundations of the viticulture of France, along with Burgundy and Champagne. Elegant and complex wines are produced here, thanks to the sand, gravel, limestone, and clay terroir and the oceanic climate. The City of Bordeaux itself is worth a visit as are wine excursions to places like the Medoc, Margaux, and Saint-Emilion.
Stretching across the country from the south of Paris to the north of Lyon, Burgundy is another of the most important wine regions in France. The most notable grape varieties produced here are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Beaune is a great place to visit on a wine excursion to Burgundy, thanks to its cultural heritage and, well, delicious and heady wines.
For many, we’ve left the best for last. Champagne, the sparkling wine to trump all sparkling wines is made from Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir and can only be called Champagne if it’s made in Champagne. Therefore, whether you’re a Don Perignon fan or prefer Bollinger, Taittinger, Veuve Cliquot, or Moet & Chandon, it’s best to sample it here. Located close to Reims, it’s the continental and oceanic climate coupled with the calcareous soils that help make wine from this region so distinctive.
Do you find yourself gravitating more to the Merlots and the Chiantis in the wine section of your supermarket? Have you always preferred Prosecco to Champagne?
If you are a great lover of Italian wine and want to educate yourself more on one of the country’s most important exports while making the most of the stunning scenery and glorious weather, why not consider a wine vacation to the country with some close friends?
It’s one thing to pick out your favorite city based on sights and budget, however with there being 20 distinctive wine regions, unless you are an expert on Italian wine, we understand that it is more difficult to choose the best places to go.
Don’t worry, as Simple Travel Solutions can help. Not only can we help provide you with the best deals and offers on Italian wine vacations, but we can also help in the following post by discussing some of the most popular wine regions and why you might want to visit them.
There are reasons why you would want to seek out a wine-fueled adventure in Tuscany. It is home to lush rolling hills and some of the most scenic vineyards in the country. It is also home to perhaps one of the most famous Italian wines of them all – Chianti. Tuscany is thought to be the oldest wine-producing region in the country, with it dating back as far as the 8th century BC.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany and the perfect place to use as a base for your exploration of the region’s wines. The city in itself is famed for its amazing Renaissance buildings and artwork. Even when you are not sampling other wines from the region such as the Barbaresco, Barolo, and Brunello di Montalcino, there is plenty to see and do in the city.
Veneto, in the northeast of the country, is home to the city built on waterways and famous for its gondolas, Venice. That in itself makes this one of the most romantic places in Europe. That’s not all though.
Even if you don’t know the region by name, if you are a fan of fancy, sparkling wine, you’ll know the most famous wine produced in this area – Prosecco. That deliciously sweet wine is produced in a region just north of Venice known as Valdobbiadene and is mostly made from Glera grapes. There are other great whites you can try in the Veneto too, though, thanks to its cooler climate, like the almost equally-famous Pinot Grigio and Soave.
If you are thinking of venturing to more central Italy and the historic capital of Rome, that takes you into the heart of the Lazio wine region. By far the most popular wine that is synonymous with Rome is undoubtedly Frascati. The Romans of old called it The Golden Wine, because of its striking color and high value. However, if you enjoy a good Merlot or Sangiovese, these are in plentiful supply in the Lazio region.
More Than Just Wine
When you take a wine vacation to Italy with friends, you get the opportunity to take in the stunning scenery, fascinating history, and delicious food that make the country one of the most interesting in the world.