If you joined us for The Great Piedmont Wine Giveaway earlier this year, you may remember answer some questions about your Wine Travel 2016 plans. We want to know where everyone is going. Yes, the obvious reason is that we want to make sure you have access wine travel products to get your prize bottles home. But, admittedly, we were also just curious what vineyards were calling.
Since it’s right in our backyard - and, it’s work - we regularly scope out European wine areas so we can share information with you about them. That is why we were curious your 2016 wine travel plans. We wanted to know: Are there places we should have on our Wine Travel 2016 list?
Architecturally, Bodegas Ysios is stunning. It was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava as a symbol of the new Rioja. It's meant to mimic the rolling Sierra de Cantabria mountain range behind it. The winery is open to visitors offering a walk through its modern interior, along with a tasting of three of their wines in the tasting room upstairs.
Well, let’s talk about your list. It’s a big one - mixed with some that one might consider usual suspects, and other lesser known areas.
Overall, there seemed to be consistent country themes with specific regions more dreamed about than others.
Overall findings indicate that wine travel is hot on people’s minds in 2016. The Lazenne Wine Travel 2016 Survey queried 199 respondents from all over the world. Collectively, 83 percent of said they plan to make two to four wine travel 2016 trips. The big plans are to hit wine regions in the U.S., Italy, and France.
In terms of regions, the U.S. showing isn’t not a huge surprise as 55 percent of respondents were American. According to a AAA survey, domestic travel in the U.S. is expected to increase in 2016. A Northern California remains the biggest draw for the U.S. wine travel - in 2015 Napa county visitors spend a record $1.27 billion dollars, an 8.9 percent increase from 2014. Washington and Oregon rounded out the top three with Finger Lakes and Texas wine country also making the list.
In Italy, Piedmont inched out Tuscany as the top destination. The lesser known Northern Italian wine region has been getting more and more attention from wine and lifestyles media in recent years and it shows in the findings. Of the respondents interested in wine travel in Italy in 2016, 37 percent aspire to see the land of Nebbiolo. Tuscany wine travel wasn’t far behind at 22 percent.
If you are ever in Piedmont a trip to Contratto, one of Italy's oldest sparkling wine producers, is a must. The historic cathedral cellars, now designated to become a UNESCO Heritage Site, are a real treasure, and among the finest of their kind. These huge underground cellars, covering more than 5,000 square meters, were built into the heart of the hill that protects the small town of #Canelli, the home of the winery, excavated from tuff limestone to a depth of 32 meters. #Repost from our partners @travel_langhe ・・・ We found just enough #SparklingWine (#Spumante) to get us through this winter at #cantina #contratto #canelli #pupitres #surlieaging #champagnemethod
In France, Bordeaux (23 percent), Burgundy (15 percent), and Champagne (13 percent) take the top stops.
Canada, while not high on the list, made a surprisingly healthy showing, garnering more interest than Australia and New Zealand. Canadian Wine Regions to check out include Niagara and Okanagan Valley.
We were also interested in the where to next travel category, so we asked people their top three dream wine travel destinations. Across the board Italy was in the first, second, and third category. Primarily because many respondents listed actual regions. Piedmont across the board stayed top as the region of interest. Sicily and Mount Etna, while not a top spot, also was a destination of consideration.
In France, the usual suspects continued to dominate with Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. But an interesting standout was Alsace.
Some fun wine travel destinations that came up enough to get us thinking included Croatia, the Mosel in Germany, and of course Portugal. Spain had consistent interest, but it still seems to be taking a back seat to the big regions in Italy and France.
We are happy to share more on our findings and Wine Travel 2016 our infographic as requested. Please contact us for more information.
The Lazenne Wine Travel 2016 Survey: The survey was conducted from February to March 2016 in conjunction with The Great Piedmont Wine Giveaway. Findings came from 199 global respondents, most notably North America, Western Europe, and Australia. Special thanks to those involved in the program: PleaseBringMeMyWine.com, Azienda Agricola Rivetto, Francone Winery, Azienda Agricola Demarie, Azienda Vitivinicola Gianni Doglia, and GirlsGottaDrink.com. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the findings.
If you have any Wine Travel 2016 tips to share with our readers, please leave a comment below - guides or info on popular regions, travel deals, locations worth noting?
If you look around the world of wine today, you'll notice that most wine is made with the same grape varieties. Pretty much every 'New World' country produces wines made from grapes native to France; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot... the list goes on. This is no bad thing as stylistically, all the above varieties can be drastically different depending upon climate, soil, viticulture and vinification. The vast majority of glossy, bold Shiraz from Australia is, literally and figuratively, a world away from the savoury, peppery wines of the Northern Rhone, for example. However, in the last 10 years the fashion has been to move away from seeking out the 'best' examples of these well known varieties and instead to look for unique expressions, typically from grapes native to specific countries and regions. This has seen the emergence of some new stars in the world of wine, from the austere, mineral wines of Mount Etna in Sicily to the powerful, racy Assyrtiko of Santorini in Greece. Austria has re-modelled its vinous reputation with the versatile Grüner Veltliner and even as afar as South America, Bonarda and Pais are resurging on both sides of the Andes, in Argentina and Chile respectively.
However, no country has been rediscovered in quite the same way as Spain. There are somewhere in the region of 600 grape varieties on the Iberian Peninsula, the vast majority of them indigenous and regionally specific in production. Despite this, Spain was for decades synonymous with oaky, extracted wines from Rioja, and to a lesser extent Ribera del Duero, with Tempranillo the only celebrated indigenous grape hailing from the country. Short-sighted producers ripped up their old, unfashionable vineyards and replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and anything that was currently selling, not realising that in doing so they were giving up their major point of difference on the international market-place. However, this wasn't true for all producers and quietly, many went about their business as they had done for centuries; cultivating their families vineyards and producing wines of distinction and style, as their vines slowly became older, sturdier and produced better quality fruit. To look at the market now compared to 20 years ago is staggering. Shops in Barcelona are awash with local Catalan wines, Galician field-blends are appearing in top restaurants across the world and even Sherry is making a come-back! To cover the entirety of this resurgence would take a strong liver and a lot of time, but I'd like to share a few exciting varieties from my own little corner of Spain, the fiercely independent Catalunya:
Wine is a fussy product. Starting from its very beginnings as embryonic genetic material located on the buds of vines, to its moment of glory in your glass, there are countless chemical reactions, pitfalls and opportunities to be navigated and controlled in order to create a good bottle of wine. The vast majority of these is, fortunately, taken care of by the time we actually buy a bottle of wine, as the vigneron has spent the entire year wrestling against nature, ensuring the right balance of sugars, acids and flavour compounds, before handing over the baton to the wine-maker. This is where the grapes will be converted into wine through the magical process of fermentation, possibly aged and then bottled with care being taken to ensure biological stability. Then depending on where the wine is to be sold, it will go through a long or short supply route, potentially crossing oceans, continents and all sorts of checks before it finally appears on a shop shelf or restaurant list somewhere in the world.
Enter us; the consumer. We purchase the wine with the intention of one day drinking it, whether that be within minutes of the purchase, or 20 years down the line, after extended storage to allow for it to evolve within the bottle. Assuming the bottle has been purchased close to home and you intend to drink it in the near future, this is all well and good as any issues of storage are very much the responsibility of the retailer/restaurant and bottles can be returned for a refund. However, if you're buying the wine far from home, possibly, abroad, we run into some potential issues quite quickly.
Having just come back from a two week trip to the Mount Etna region of eastern Sicily we thought we'd share some of the best wine stores we came across travelling in the region. I must say I love the "enoteca" concept in Italy, where you can come for an aperitivo, taste local wines by the glass with some food, and then purchase bottles that you've tasted and liked. We loved visiting and tasting wines directly at the wineries of course, but the experience of tasting different producers side by side, and the ability to try older vintages can only be done at an enoteca.