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5 surprising wine destinations - from volcanic vineyards to Canada

Did you know Tasmania produces delicious sparkling wine using the Champagne method?

Published: Tuesday, 2nd May 2017 at 11:30 am

If you often just choose the same old Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc, why not broaden both your travel and wine horizons by visiting an up-and-coming wine region.


Joe Fattorini, from ITV’s The Wine Show, has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to reveal the places that are producing the most exciting wines of 2017. From volcanic vineyards to Canadian Pinot Noir, check out these vintage destinations that are going to be big news in the world of wine.

(And be sure to take a closer look at the paintings – they’re actually painted with wine from each of these regions!)

Mount Etna, Italy

Volcanic wines are all the rage at the moment and Europe’s largest active volcano is fast becoming an innovative hub for wine-making. The steeply sloped vineyards on the side of Mount Etna coupled with highly nutritious volcanic soil lends a delicious and complex flavour to the wine. Joe’s top tip is Frappato: “It’s a versatile, medium-bodied style that is best served slightly chilled with light meals such as salads and grills. Like a warm-climate Pinot Noir, with delicious strawberry fruit and a versatile, medium-bodied style”. For the perfect mix of dynamic landscapes and impressive wine-making, make sure to visit Mount Etna.

Santorini, Greece

This gorgeous Greek island has been drawing visitors for many years, but the local wine was nothing to write home about. Recently that's changed and there are some delicious wines being produced on the island that might just surprise you. Vinsanto, the region’s delicious sweet wine, is one of Joe’s favourites: “The distinct and funky flavour is influenced by the ash and pumice from volcanic eruptions on the island from years ago. This sweet wine is aged for anything between 4 and 40 years in barrels which makes for an unctuous, complex, multi-layered wine”. If you’re looking for a destination that couples fascinating history with delicious wine, Santorini is the one – wine has been made here since before the cataclysmic Minoan eruption that devastated the island sometime between 1642-1540 BCE.

Venice, Italy

When you think of Venice you probably think of canals, gondolas and wonderful architecture. What might not spring to mind are vineyards, but nestled in one of the city's lagoons is a vineyard within the ancient walled monastery of Venissa. This is where Dorona, a medieval grape, is produced and uniquely bottled with a single gold leaf label – Joe recommends it if you fancy an earthier, more complex Soave-like wine. It’s also a fantastic place to visit, with a hotel, Michelin-starred restaurant and beautiful views of the canals.

British Columbia, Canada

Thanks to climate change, wine production is marching ever northwards into regions that were previously too cold. This means that wine lovers can venture to destinations that once would have been too cold for wine production. British Columbia in Canada is a fantastic example of this. You can find wonderful Pinot Noirs, Rieslings and Chardonnays, all with their own unique styles. Joe is a fan: “What’s so wonderful is that winemakers are finding their own, bigger, richer distinctive style which is all down to the unique climate and soils of British Columbia”.

Tasmania, Australia

If you love Champagne and are planning a holiday Down Under, Tasmania is the place to head. Another cooler region that is coming into its own, its climate is perfect for sparkling wines. The Jansz vineyards, in the north of the island, were the first to make sparkling wine using the same grapes as the French vineyards in Champagne. The vineyard’s technique is so authentic and close to that of the French vineyards, that they have even coined the term "Méthode Tasmanoise: Joe says: “It’s a great, ripe alternative to Champagne, but don’t expect it to be the same. It has more fruit and ripeness – a really gorgeous wine”.

Joe Fattorini will be onboard Celebrity Reflection from 11-14 September on the Best of Western Mediterranean 11-night cruise where he’ll be doing excursions and wine-tastings.

Radio Times Travel holidays

Etna, Taormina and Classic Sicily tour, 7 nights from £899pp. Discover Sicily with a stay beneath the towering cone of Mount Etna, visiting the volcano's lava-strewn slopes and nearby Taormina's stunning Greek Theatre. See ancient Syracuse and Agrigento, the offshore Aeolian Isles and Palermo, the island's capital, and enjoy a beachside stay close to delightful Cefalu.

What's included:

  • Spend three nights in the foothills of Mount Etna
  • Discover Europe's most celebrated active volcano
  • Hill-top Taormina is one of the Mediterranean's treasures
  • Syracuse was one of Ancient Greece's most important cities
  • Spend a day exploring the beautiful Aeolian Islands of Lipari and Vulcano
  • Enjoy a stay in a wonderful beach-side hotel close to Cefalu
  • Discover and explore Sicily's capital, Palermo
  • The monastery at Monreale is one of Italy's greatest glories
  • Explore medieval Piazza Armerina and Agrigento's Greek temples
  • Seven nights' dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation at four-star hotels in Acireale (3 nights) and near Cefalu (4)
  • Return flights from your chosen airport to Sicily
  • Click here for more details and to book

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