There are many beautiful signs of autumn coming in Europe – flamboyant nature’s colors of all shades of red, orange and yellow or wonderful chestnuts showing their face with their deep brown shell but nothing celebrates the autumn as much as the wine harvest season when, in European’s wine regions the grapes are picked and turned into the elixir of gods – wine.
Depending on the area and usually from mid-September until mid-October, the regions of viniculture traditions are bustling with life – open cellars, wine-trails, harvest festival and grape-picking attract wine lovers from all around to be a part of the vine festivities and the ceremony of the most exquisite metamorphoses – turning grapes to wine. For all the wine lovers out there that love grape picking, wine tasting surrounded by incredible nature and the fresh air – we bring you few beautiful regions in Europe where you can enjoy it and that will be a perfect wine-lover experience to share.
1. Douro Valley, Portugal
One of the most beautiful wine areas in Europe is most definitely in the northern part of Portugal – the Douro Valley is even a UNESCO World Heritage site as the world’s oldest demarcated wine region. Beautiful, terraced vineyards on both sides of the Douro River give a breathtaking landscape. In this region, best known for the port wine, the grapes are traditionally picked by hand and then stomped on, all in the rhythm of the music that makes the whole process even more fun.
2. Istria, Croatia
One of the amazing wine regions is certainly the Croatian peninsula Istria, where the grapes have their tradition as early as the 6th century BC when the viniculture was introduced by the Greeks. What is particular in Istria is that it has three different types of soil – red, grey and white, each excellent to grow different type of grape and each giving a special flavor. And though the grape picking season starts around mid-September, the wine festivities in Istria are from May all the way to November. In this wine-loving region, wine has a special place in gastronomy so you can enjoy a variety of delicacies while pairing them with exquisite Istrian wine.
3. Tenerife, Spain
Why not go grape picking in nice weather on the island of the eternal spring? The long tradition of wine production in Spain doesn’t refer only to the main Spanish wine regions of Priorat, Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Canary Islands, including Tenerife, have the most unique climate and land that give a special, distinguished taste to the vines. With around seventy wineries in Tenerife, many of them opening their doors to the public, you have a great choice of where to go and taste the wines of the volcanic soil – enjoy the Tenerife Wine Route tasting different sorts in the island’s wineries and bodegas surrounded by incredible views of the Tenerife island.
4. Tuscany, Italy
As we all know, Italian wines are world-renown and some of the best ones come from the beautiful region of Tuscany. Viniculture has a centuries long tradition in this area, being home to some of the famous wines like Vernaccia, Chianti and Montepulciano. Usually the harvest starts as soon as the mid-August, when the white grapes are ripe for picking and lasts all the way until October. During this time, the whole Tuscany celebrates wine with many festivities and wine-tastings taking place – being a part of it in this region where wine is an integral part of history and culture is a truly spectacular experience.
5. Santorini, Greece
We can’t write about wine without mentioning Greece. The island of Santorini is for sure one of the most interesting places to enjoy grape picking and wine festivities with its tradition of growing wines ever since the ancient times. Mostly known for its crisp white wines, Santorini has over a dozen of wineries spread across the island so you can enjoy the nature of the whole island while tasting some of the extraordinary wines. The grape harvesting season known as Vedema starts already in late July and lasts until the mid-September while the wine is then kept in the barrels until the big Feast of St. Averkios on the 22nd October – when to visit is up to you, for sure it will be a memorable wine journey!