As Autumn’s welcome bounty is rolled out with local and seasonal fruits and vegetables, wine lovers should also take note – harvest time is a great time to visit a vineyard.
Travellers who like to incorporate a visit to the wine regions can benefit from this time of year according to Travelzoo wine and travel expert Gabe Saglie, because of the season. “It’s a great time during the vineyard’s harvest to see all the hard work done by the vineyard in capturing the current vintage,” explains Saglie, "...as well as a more affordable time to travel after the summer season."
There’s plenty of activity to witness in the fields with the grape harvest says Saglie, and many vineyards and tasting rooms hold special events and wine dinners, which can enhance any Fall holiday plans to wine regions in Europe and North America.
“With smaller vineyards, the winemaker will be involved in the daily operations of the harvest, “says Saglie, “and visitors can benefit from access to the winemaker and finding out what’s been good in the past and what they should consider sampling.”
Travellers can also benefit from local chefs and food purveyors also wanting to show off their wares at this time of year, insuring visitors will not only satiate their love of wine, but will learn more about the local and sustainable edibles available too.
“Culinary and agricultural tourism is a growing sector and Fall is the perfect time to explore,” says Saglie. He recommends that doing some research before jetting off to a wine region will help narrow down the myriad of options. “Three or four vineyards in a day should be the maximum.”
Current hot spots to consider for a wine holiday according to Saglie include:
Ontario: Niagara region’s easy accessibility because of its proximity to Toronto, Detroit, New York City and some leading producers like Inniskillin, Peller Estates and Dan Akyroyd wines.
British Columbia: the Fraser Valley for its close locale to Vancouver and its moniker as the newest wine area of the province.
California: with its wide range of offerings, this state produces 90 per cent of American wine, and a variety of experiences available in Napa, Sonoma and many other areas of the state.
New York: there are 60 wineries on Long Island and the up and coming Finger Lakes region near Rochester are easy day trips for locals or visitors.
Europe: the tried and true old world wine regions of Tuscany, Italy and Burgundy, France for its unique vintages and small villages as well as the areas outside of the European Union and the Euro zone ie. Czech Republic, Hungary, for their affordability.
Africa: South Africa, especially Cape Town for its newly-developed varietals and the new infrastructure thanks to the recent hosting of the FIFA World Cup.
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I'm a Toronto-based freelance journalist, writing about travel, design, cuisine and people who are passionate about what they create. I’ve written for newspaper, magazine, websites and blogs since 2000, love taking photos and happy to share what I've found wandering our planet.
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