Inspiration Explore Chin Chin! A Guide to the World's Best Wine Regions 

Chin Chin! A Guide to the World's Best Wine Regions 

Vineyards of Saint Emilion, Bordeaux, France, one of the best wine regions in the world - Luxury Escapes

No matter if you're a would-be cabernet connoisseur or a budding expert of Barolo, discover where to experience the world's best wine regions here.

The best way to learn about wine is drinking it, and nowhere is better to drink than the world’s best wine regions. However, these perfect pockets offer more than just a delicious experience: with temperate climates, jaw-dropping scenery and culinary offerings to match the exceptional oenological output, a visit to the world’s best wine-producing regions is not to be missed. 

While the wine world continues to evolve, the world’s greatest wine regions remain unrivalled - and for good reason. Here’s our top of the top.  

Where are the best wine regions in Europe? 

The best wine regions in France

France could be considered the godfather of European wine, home to iconic wine regions such as Champagne, Loire Valley and Burgundy. Arguably, its most famous is Bordeaux, where around 7000 wineries are famous for producing full-bodied red wines using merlot or cabernet sauvignon grapes. Grand chateaux are perched along the Garonne and Gironde rivers and dotted across the vineyard-covered countryside, offering a wealth of oenological experiences, ranging from cellar door tastings to lunches at Michelin-starred restaurants.  

The best wine regions in Italy

A restaurant in Tuscany, Italy, one of the world's best wine regions - Luxury Escapes
Tuscany, Italy.

What France has in prestige, Italy has in presence - it’s the world’s largest wine producer, with an annual production of roughly five billion litres. But it’s not a case of quantity over quality; in fact, much the opposite, especially in the country’s oldest wine-making region, Tuscany. Equally as famous for its striking scenery as it is its sprawling vineyards, this picturesque part of Italy is particularly known for its production of chianti from Sangiovese grapes. In the last 50 years, it has also become known for ‘Super Tuscans’, full-bodied reds made with international grape varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Once Tuscany has tickled your tastebuds, look to regions including Veneto, Lombardy and Piedmont.

The best wine regions in Portugal

Portugal may not be the first that comes to mind when considering the world’s best wine regions, but it holds its own against its European neighbours, especially in the Douro Valley. Sitting in the north, near Porto, the verdant valley has a distinctly different landscape to the other wine-producing regions and produces distinctly different wines as a result. Visit any number of ‘quintas’ (wineries) to discover the secrets behind the world’s best port, a fortified sweet wine.  

The best wine regions in Spain

Vineyard in La Rioja, Spain, one of the world's best wine regions - Luxury Escapes
La Rioja, Spain.

Rioja is considered the best of Spain’s wine regions, known for its use of tempranillo grape to make red wines. Perched in a valley in North Central Spain and spanning nearly 150 kilometres, the wine-making area is split into three sections – Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja – all of which have slight geographical and climate differences. As such, Rioja wines can stretch from ‘silky, fragrant and ready to drink’ to ‘rich, velvety and going straight to the cellar’. The Cantabrian mountains and Ebro River provide the perfect backdrop to days spent jumping from vineyard to vineyard here, most of which are dotted between quaint villages.  

Where are the best wine regions in North America? 

The best wine regions in California

The Napa Valley sign, California, one of the best wine regions in the world - Luxury Escapes
Napa Valley, California.

The USA is one of the top 4 largest wine producers in the world, but 90% of their production comes from one state: California. Despite only being responsible for 4% of the state’s output, Napa Valley is one of the best known, thanks to its lovely year-round weather, jaw-dropping scenery and diverse wine experiences. More than 400 wineries call the rolling green hills home, with Italian-inspired villas sitting alongside French-inspired chateaux and quintessentially American estates. The most popular grapes are cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and merlot, but the topographical conditions also result in prime growing conditions for zinfandel, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.  

The best wine regions in Oregon

Oregon is home to some of the world’s youngest vineyards, but this by no means diminishes its place on the list of the world’s best wine regions. Sitting on the same latitude as France’s Burgundy, it benefits from consistently dry and warm summers and very cool nights, ideal for growing sensitive cool-climate grapes such as pinot noir. Willamette Valley has the greatest concentration of wineries – the sub-region is known for its savoury pinot noir, which only deepens in complexity when left to age.  

Where are the best wine regions in South America? 

The best wine regions in Argentina 

There’s no beating Mendoza when it comes to Argentinian wine tourism – it produces approximately 70% of the country’s wine, across 1200 wineries (or bodegas, in Spanish). Perched in Patagonia, the region is set against the snow-capped peaks of the Andes Mountains and deals in predominantly malbec grapes, although you can also find chardonnay, cabernet franc and merlot. Varying altitudes and mountain shelter create diverse growing conditions, resulting in unique drops that tell a story of the South American continent. The bodegas more than match the scenery, with a mix of futuristic and fantastical architecture.  

The best wine regions in Chile 

Traditional vineyard in Maipo Valley, Chile, one of the world's best wine regions - Luxury Escapes
Maipo Valley, Chile.

With arguably perfect wine-growing conditions, Chile’s Maipo Valley consistently ranks as one of the world’s best wine regions. Sitting just south of the capital, Santiago, Maipo is often referred to as the Bordeaux of South America, as it is responsible for producing prestigious cool-climate wines in a style very similar to the French city. Rich and fruity Cabernet Sauvignons, often from Alto Maipo, are very sought-after, but Carmenere is an emerging variety – it’s produced in Central Maipo and draws comparisons to Cabernet Franc.  

Where are the best wine regions in Australia and New Zealand? 

The best wine regions in New South Wales  

Mist over a vineyard in Hunter Valley, NSW, one of the world's best wine regions - Luxury Escapes
Hunter Valley, NSW.

The Hunter Valley, ideally located two hours’ drive north of Sydney, is Australia’s oldest wine region and one of its most popular, thanks to its award-winning cellar doors, outstanding restaurants and pristine vineyards. More than 150 cellar doors dot the area, showcasing both traditional and innovative approaches to making semillon, chardonnay, and shiraz varieties. From expansive estates such as Tyrells, McGuigans and Lindemans, through to boutique wineries, there’s a wine experience for every type of oenophile amongst the stunning scenery of the Hunter Valley. Other regions to note in NSW are Orange, Mudgee and the Southern Highlands.

The best wine regions in Victoria 

Just a 30-minute drive east from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest growing region, celebrated for chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling varietals. Not one to rest on their laurels, the winemakers here create boundary-pushing drops, while also paying homage to the conditions of the region. At last count, approximately 160 wineries are dotted across the Yarra Valley, with most offering tastings alongside pizzas, antipasti and other casual food options. Victoria's wine acclaim doesn't start and end with Yarra Valley - look to Mornington Peninsula, King Valley and the Bellarine Peninsula for more lauded drops and vignerons.

The best wine regions in South Australia  

Rolling hills in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, one of the world's best wine regions - Luxury Escapes
Barossa, South Australia.

The Barossa is arguably the region most associated with the concept of ‘Australian wine’, and as one of the world’s best wine regions, it’s not hard to see why. Located an hours' drive away from Adelaide, it’s easily accessible for a day spent tasting outstandingly smooth shiraz, grenache and cabernet sauvignon. More than 150 wineries are perched throughout the rolling hills and valleys, some looked after by sixth-generation growers and winemakers. Famous names, such as Penfolds, sit alongside emerging businesses, making it the perfect spot to try both the old and new. The approach to food is just as considered, with outstanding fine dining and casual restaurants near award-winning cellar doors. Don't limit your wine journey in South Australia to just Barossa though; make time to explore McLaren Vale, Clare Valley and the Adelaide Hills.

The best wine regions in New Zealand

World-renowned for its sauvignon blanc, Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine region, accounting for 75% of the country’s production. Found at the northern top of the South Island, the region’s natural beauty is enough of a reason to visit, with rolling vineyards and the valleys of the majestic Marlborough Sounds. There are less than 150 wineries in Marlborough, but roughly 20% of those offer tours and tastings. Visit leading producers Brancott Estate or Cloudy Bay, or opt for smaller, family-owned producers like Bladen Wines and Hanz Herzog.  

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About Emily Jacobs
Yet another Aussie in London, Emily spends her days dreaming and writing about food, while planning her next European adventure. If not eating, she can often be found at the gym, or exploring the latest and greatest in London.

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