Wine-tasting is for thirty-somethings what beer pong is for college students — a fun, entertaining excuse to drink in the middle of the day. It’s also a great excuse to travel. We searched the globe to find the best international wine destinations for everyone from first-timers to full-blown oenophiles. Even the most ardent domestic beer drinker will be sniffing the bouquet and scribbling tasting notes after visiting any one of these wineries.
The Classic: Napa Valley/ Sonoma
Why Go: Do you even have to ask? Napa Valley has been the go-to destination for wine-lovers since the Judgement of Paris in 1976, when it surprised the world by besting France in both the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon categories. Since then, Napa has flourished as America’s own "wine country." More recently, its sister Sonoma Valley has been competing for attention and tourist dollars. Luckily, the two are close enough in location that you can take in both with some time and clever planning.
Credit: Roberto Gerometta / Getty Images
Top Wine: Napa is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, and you can find a good bottle at almost any winery you pop into, but their Cabernet Francs have been making a well-deserved comeback — try Sonoma Valley’s 2009 Highway 12 Reserve Cabernet Franc.
Don’t Miss: If you want to visit the winery that bested France, visit Chateau Montelena. But if you want a true winning chardonnay, check out Grgich Hills, founded by Mike Grgich, the winemaker who shocked the world with his winning chardonnay in 1976. Chateau Montelena still makes a damn good chardonnay; Grgich Hills makes a better one.