Although it’s become a popular beverage all over the world, some cities, areas, and regions are more directly associated with wine than others. In this article, we invite you on a journey to cities that may not be the obvious choice at first, but that can turn into an ideal destination for wine lovers.
Get packing your bags because if you haven’t been to one of these places yet, you’re going to start thinking about how you can get there…
The wines of the same name don’t just get their name from this city located in south-eastern France: The name Bordeaux is also used for the wine-growing area that extends throughout the region of Aquitaine. Its more than 117,000 hectares of vineyards (ten times the total planted in New Zealand) are home to around 9,000 châteaux, 14,000 wine producers, and 57 Appellations of Controlled Origin (AOC). These figures testify to the importance of our favorite beverage in this region, and the city of Bordeaux makes the most of this as a point of attraction. The city is home to the Cité du Vin (City of Wine), a unique cultural facility dedicated to wine as cultural heritage. Set in a stunning building, discovering wine across space and time inside it is an amazing experience.
Just like our founder Jean Leon, we travel from Europe to the USA and Los Angeles. Known around the world as the “city of the stars” and overlooked by the Hollywood Hills, wine is one of the drinks of choice in the area due to being closely associated with the glamor and sophistication of the movie world. But the city’s association with the beverage doesn’t stop there. Tours of local wineries in the region are a popular plan with local wine lovers as well as tourists. Nearby spots just a car ride away such as Malibu, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ojai, and Temecula are home to “intimate” vineyards that don’t go unnoticed. However, you can also enjoy a nice tasting without even leaving Los Angeles since there are also many wine shops with products available to sample.
We continue on our special journey by heading to the Southern Hemisphere and the plain located to the east of the Andes Mountains in Argentina. There, we discover Mendoza, the capital of the province with the same name and the location of 70% of Argentina’s wine production. Surrounded by exceptional vineyards, many tourists come to the city with an interest in visiting its wineries, where they can enjoy wonderful tastings and do different activities like horse riding or biking. An interesting fact is that Mendoza was founded in 1561 by Pedro del Castillo, a Spanish explorer born in La Rioja, another famous wine region.
Ciudad del Cabo
Something that might come as a surprise is that there is also wine to be discovered in Africa. Our next stop is Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, a country that’s one of the world’s top 10 wine producers. Although Cape Town’s famous vineyards have spread far beyond the city, it was in the Constantia Valley, almost in the city’s “backyard,” that the wine-growing tradition was born over 300 years ago (the Dutch and, later, the French were the first to make wine in South Africa between 1655 and 1690). It’s only logical, then, that most of Cape Town’s restaurants have good wine lists and one of the most popular activities is heading out to explore the area, visiting vineyards and attending tastings.
Vilafranca del Penedès
We finish off our tour emulating Jean Leon again and ending up at Vilafranca del Penedès. Capital of the Catalan Alt Penedès region, this city is infused with wine culture in its streets, squares, activities, and, ultimately, its personality. It was exactly this that led Jean Leon to the region. As the “capital of wine,” in Vilafranca del Penedès you can visit Vinmuseum, the Museum for the Wine Culture of Catalonia. You can also go on a tour of the Medieval Route or the Modernist Route and discover the city’s history; take in the sunset from the bell tower of the Basilica of Santa Maria (from June to October) or find out more about the world of the human towers known as “castellers.”
And if this ends up being your destination… the Jean Leon winery is just 20 minutes away from the city! You can stop by and check out some of the many activities we have on offer every day.
We’ll stop here for now and stick with these cities, although we know the list is really a lot longer. Which city would be your first choice for a visit?