Over a very long period of wine obsession I've visited many vineyards and wineries. My first was Saint-Emilion, and the oddest encounters with wine and vines have probably been in Nepal and Japan. Because I love visiting wine regions as much as I enjoy drinking wine, I'm always planning wine trips, and right now I've been focussing on what my ideal trip would be.

There are many contenders - the beauty of the Wachau or Mosel, and Alsace too, but I've just been there. I love Piemonte and that is on the cards, and although I've only been once, Northwestern Spain also appeals. My attachment to the Côte de Beaune is strong because we used to go and stay there every year for a while, though I find Burgundy pretty crowded nowadays. I always say I'd like to live in Arbois, but other considerations apply there (especially the ability to drive back to the UK in a day).

I've decided where I'd most like to go, and it's somewhere I've been once before and only a couple of years ago, but it was just a fleeting visit, not long enough to do it justice.

It is Austria's Neusiedlersee. I'd like the time to circumnavigate the lake, visiting Rust, Oggau, Gols, Illmitz and Pamhagen. As well as wine, the region has schnitzels which overhang the plate, but you can find those most places in Austria. The lake itself is a wonderful bird sanctuary though, full of waders etc (it's only about a metre deep and surrounded by dense reed beds). The good news is that you can take bikes on the lake ferries, a real bonus when tasting, though taxis are available too.

I'm hoping that some other forum users might feel moved to share what would be their ideal wine trip.
 
Madeira for me. Beautiful place, lovely people and astonishing wines.

I get to go to Rust for the IMW Seminar most years, and will be doing so again. But it's in January, so will be (very) cold - in fact the lake always freezes. But it is an enchanting place, and the joy of running to Hungary and back on a brisk frosty morning is one of the highlights of the year for me.

Piemonte, Douro, Transylvania and South Africa have been amongst my other highlights.
Pretty much the only significant wine place I haven't been is New Zealand, and I will rectify that soon I hope.
 
I concur with Wachau, Rust, Douro and Madeira. Great places. Sicily quite dramatic also. Tokay I like. Logrono for tapas. Old world always seems to have greater charm than New world to me. I’d love to get to the Azores
 
Don’t know about ideal wine trip but I am planning on a wine trip to Nagono, Japan in 2018. Should be interesting as I know nothing about Japanese grapes/wines.
 
I might see you in Nagano, if your trip happens to be in early February!

I adore going to New Zealand (usually South Island, but Hawkes Bay interior is absolutely beautiful too) and I would love to go to Madeira which I have never visited. I would be quite keen to get back to Jurancon country as well, and at some point I want to visit the pinot parts of Switzerland and Germany.
 
Douro was wonderful, despite being only 22 when I went. However I will have to go a very, very long way to beat our trip to Tuscany, the combination of company, food, winery visits, location and experiences make for a near unbeatable trip. From lunch at a restaurant we chose because the corpulent chef was outside on a fag break, to an exquisite five course dinner in a brilliant place in the hills, to experiencing the near destruction of a vineyard in a hailstorm and spending time with the most eclectic winemakers at 2 ends of the pay scale who had exactly the same outlook but very different methods. It was outstanding.
 
I loved the area around Obuse in Nagano Province this summer, Chiu Lin. I’m sure you’ll love it. Beer and sake figures too, as do mountains, monkeys, chestnuts, noodles and bears if you are unlucky.

I do love Switzerland’s wine regions. Perhaps Graubunden doesn’t quite have the same spectacular scenery as Lavaux (possibly the most beautiful in the world) and parts of the Valais, but it is still Switzerland.

I too would love to visit Madeira, though time is to short to do all I’d like to.
 
NW Spain. That would include Bierzo to Rías Baixas (and northern Portugal down to the Douro too, why not?)

But my ideal one right now is the one I'm doing next month, in La Palma :)
 
I’m strictly ‘if there isn’t a vineyard or cricket field on the area’, why visit? Mrs C occasionally intervenes.
We recently visited the Yarra Valley which lived up to its picturesque billing. If we return to Oz we intend to major on Victoria, revisiting YV. We’ve never had time to visit Mornington and Rutherglen.
If We could change not visit a single region it would have to be Côte d’Or.
 
I found Georgia to be really rewarding, David, and I think you would like it too. It's a culture apart from Western Europe, and yet it is close enough to be able to relate to. Hospitality, food and wine are very much part of life - more so than in what we normally think of as wine regions, as many families still make their own wine. And food and wine is probably closely followed by singing, and then dancing. Already planning another trip for next year.

You could travel independently, but I think I would advise joining a group or getting a private tour - an English-speaking driver at least.
 
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Oh god yes - Georgia.
What a place. Amazing wines, amazingly hospitable people. And now a direct flight from Gatwick (apparently) - Tbilisi (a wonderful, wonderful east-meets-west city of unbridled charm) used to be very hard to get to because they built an airport in a place that is too windy for planes to land half the time..!

This was the highlight of Georgia for me. The monastic qvevri wines here are just astonishing.

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Flight from Gatwick?! Cool... I am (almost) packing my bags (nah, winter is for the Canaries and Morocco). Who is running this flight, Rod?

As a matter of interest, why would you not travel independently, Steve?
 
Georgian Airways from Gatwick, also Buzz from Luton.

Language problems mainly, Mark. Better hotels and restaurants are OK with English, and the odd person who has studied abroad, but beyond that you might struggle unless you have some Russian. A generally more chaotic society. There may also be security issues in some more far flung regions, though that has vastly improved. Get the Bradt Guide, which is good for independent travel, and generally.
 
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Georgian Airways! No idea, but I bet the food's good.
You would think, wouldn't you? But it's complete shite. On the flight from Amsterdam we had a plateful of boiled rice and few bits of tasteless meat. The Georgian I was sitting by stuck to the wine, which was OK, but not that great either. Save your calories for when you get there.
 
I’m strictly ‘if there isn’t a vineyard or cricket field on the area’, why visit? Mrs C occasionally intervenes.
We recently visited the Yarra Valley which lived up to its picturesque billing. If we return to Oz we intend to major on Victoria, revisiting YV. We’ve never had time to visit Mornington and Rutherglen.
If We could change not visit a single region it would have to be Côte d’Or.
Mark, I really like Mornington. We stayed a few days there so got in lots of visits. The winery restaurant scene is very good, from top nosh to wood fired pizzas. The sea/surf is great, nice small towns with tea and cake places. And so close to Melbourne. The ferry over to Geelong opens more opportunities if you have wheels.
 
I found Georgia to be really rewarding, David, and I think you would like it too. It's a culture apart from Western Europe, and yet it is close enough to be able to relate to. Hospitality, food and wine are very much part of life - more so than in what we normally think of as wine regions, as many families still make their own wine. And food and wine is probably closely followed by singing, and then dancing. Already planning another trip for next year.

You could travel independently, but I think I would advise joining a group or getting a private tour - an English-speaking driver at least.
Steve, and Rod, Georgia does look amazing. I think I’d prefer a wine trip as you say to get the most out of it. I’m not religious but I do have a thing for church architecture too, and I do love an old monastery.

On this subject I had a great sappy Georgian red recently, called Poliphonia, made by Pheasants Tears. It is made from around 472 varieties out of what is reckoned to be 525 autochthonous grape varieties in Georgia. Simple wine but lipsmackingly good.
 
Anyone planning to visit the Douro should emphatically leave enough time (at least a day, preferably two) to travel its length by train. It's one of the great railway journeys of the world. You can go from Porto right up to the Spanish border - it used to go to Salamanca but the Spanish closed their end of it. But you will get an unparalleled view of the river and the vineyards on the way. You can stop off at Pinhao for some excellent food, with a short walk to some important producers. But Porto itself is so much worth the visit with much to see/visit, plus Villa Nova de Gaia a quick stagger over the bridge for Port sampling purposes. Probably my number one area.

Alsace is great. And to be honest, most Australian wine-growing areas are good to visit these days. I'm leaving so many out which I have enjoyed, but of places I have never been, the mention of Georgia has just moved it up several rungs. South Africa would be great if I could get my act together.
 
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