Wine tasting is a must-do when visiting California. I headed out to the Sonoma Valley to check out some of the stunning wineries and of course, sample a few top wines!
After 2 weeks of fast-paced travel from LA to San Francisco via Yosemite National Park, I was ready for to slow things down with a relaxed day in the countryside. I booked a wine tour of the Sonoma Valley with Green Dream Tours. I picked Sonoma over Napa as many I spoke to said it was less touristy and just as good! Sonoma County is around an hour from San Francisco and the region is home to more than 900 wineries. It boasts spectacular scenery with olive trees, fruit tree and sweeping hills lined with vines, all set against a bright blue summer sky. If the drive there was anything to go by, we were in for a treat!
Tour guide Mark was enthusiastic and full of jokes as we left the big city behind. After a brief stop for photos at the Golden Gate Bridge, we headed towards Sonoma.
Touring one of Argentina’s top wine regions really is a must-do.
It was just after 9am, and all I could think about was wine. It may sound like I’m bordering on alcoholism but no, I was in Mendoza, Argentina – an area known specifically for its production of Malbec. Today, I’d be learning about wine, exploring a few vineyards and hopefully tasting a whole load too.
In the safe hands of Kahuak (one of Mendoza’s top tourism agencies) and with bubbly tour guide Anna Laura leading the way, we headed out of the city to the Uco Valley. The tour would take us towards the snow-capped Andes to visit three of the Uco Valley’s top wineries – Salentein, Domaine Bousquet and Andeluna.
Lush gardens, ancient vines, bright blue sky with pool to match, a gourmet restaurant and views of the snow-capped Andes… Villa Mansa is a secret hideaway in the heart of Mendoza’s wine country.
After escaping the traffic of downtown Mendoza, we found ourselves in the picturesque countryside, passing several upmarket hotels, wineries and mansions along the way. My main reason for wanting to visit the region was for the Malbec, but on top of the incredible wine, it turned out to be a great spot for a bit of R&R. Villa Mansa is at the end of a long, narrow drive, which opens out onto several rows of beautiful grapevines and antique wine making equipment.
The Colchagua Valley in Chile is lush, green, and all about wine!
When I arrived, I really felt like I’d found my ‘happy place’!
Often overlooked by travellers who visit the country for adventurous trips around Patagonia and the Atacama Desert… it’s definitely worth a trip, especially if you’re partial to a glass of carmenere or sauvignon blanc.
While you could take a day trip from Santiago (it’s around three hours by bus), we chose to base ourselves in Santa Cruz for a few days. It’s a small town, so don’t expect a lot of entertainment or dining options, but it was a welcome rest after the hustle and bustle of city life.