Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching — and that means it’s the ideal time for a wine-inspired romantic getaway. Wine regions are romantic by nature: rolling hills, sprawling vineyards and scattered villages just ready to be explored. Sampling wine varieties in intimate tasting rooms can definitely warm you up during the cold month of February. Whether it be closer to home or a far-flung exotic getaway, wine regions make for the best romantic escapes. Here are some of Winetraveler’s top picks for Valentine’s Day travel ideas and destinations.
Long Island, New York
The North Fork area of Long Island may not be as glamorous as its sophisticated counterpoint the South Fork — which is home to the Hamptons — but that’s precisely why it makes for a serene, romantic getaway. The wine, gastronomic scene and general ambiance are on point, especially for quiet afternoons sipping wine with your loved one without a condescending eye flicker in sight.
Stay at the buzzy new Sound View Greenport, where every room has a waterfront deck and you can wine and dine to the tunes at the Piano Bar each evening. A visit to the antique tasting room at the Laurel Lake Vineyard offers stunning views and the tasting barn at the Old Field Vineyards will keep you cozy and warm thanks to their old-fashioned stove. Of course, a trip to the region isn’t complete with a romantic meal a the Love Lane Kitchen.
February is the start of autmn in the Southern hemisphere, meaning it’s harvest season in Mendoza. This year’s Vendimia Festival (Mendoza’s grape harvest festival) starts in March, so plan to visit in February for a quiet, pre-harvest wine adventure.
Tasting and dining at El Enemigo is a must, where wines are inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Plan to stay at the rustic Cavas Wine Lodge. The hotel features amenities like outdoor hot tubs and fireplaces. One of our pick for wine tasting would be Bodega Colomé, the oldest winery in Argentina. Try the wine and enjoy Colomé’s unique history by visiting the onsite James Turrell art museum.
Enjoy a side of sunshine with your wine on a trip to Arizona. Plan to stay at Tucson’s Tanque Verde Ranch, where you’ll enjoy horseback riding, cycling and couples treatments at the onsite La Sonora Spa.
Foodie and wine lovers should dine at The Feast, a charming eatery with one of the best wine lists in all of Tucson. The extensive list has even won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2005.
Then, take a day trip to Willcox (just over an hour drive), to visit vineyards like Coronado, named after the onsite famous native Coronado tree. Also stop by and visit Carlson Creek, which is a winery property utilizing Southern French-inspired techniques and varieties with a South American twist.
Cape Town, South Africa
Another destination where you can savor sun along with wine is Cape Town. Besides enjoying the landscapes like beautiful beaches and towering mountains, no trip to the South African Cape is complete without a visit to the Stellenbosch wine region.
With over 200 wineries to visit, it may be hard select which ones to visit. Winetraveler’s top picks for couples would be the picnic and wine experience at the Warwick Wine Estate and the chocolate and wine tasting at the Spier Wine Farm. For a unique stay, lodge at the new Labotessa Hotel in Cape Town, set in a former church.
Canada is perfect for a winter wonderland getaway. Although Banff isn’t known as a wine region, you can still cozy up next to the fire with a glass of red (try some of the incredible Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc coming out of British Columbia and Niagara). Escape the frigid temps by doing this in your hotel.
Winetraveler recommends the famous Fairmont Banff Springs, which is basically a Canadian castle. Or, head out for a night of wining and dining at Three Ravens Restaurant, which has gorgeous views of the snow-covered scenery and a formidable wine list. Make sure to ice skate hand-in-hand on Lake Louise, then warm up afterwards with a spa treatment.
There’s nothing more romantic than sipping bubbly with your honey — and you can go right to the source with a visit to the Champagne region of France. Check out this website for deals on flights into Paris when they arise.
Once in Paris, travel to Reims by car or train. We recommend you stay at Domaine Les Crayères, which offers special Valentine’s Day packages. The onsite Michelin-star restaurant, Le Parc, has a special truffle-menu — and don’t forget to add on the Champagne pairings. Beyond just the famous Veuve Clicquot, Krug and Moet Chandon visits, make sure to check out the expansive cellars of Billecart Salmon. You can also take a look at some boutique Champagne houses well worth visiting.
Stroll arm-in-arm along the Douro River past crumbling, colorful houses, soaking in the beautiful northern Portuguese atmosphere. Cross the famous Dom Luís I Bridge over to the other side of the river, Vila Nova de Gaia.
Here you can winery hop. Stop for tasting and tours at popular Port wineries like Graham’s, Calem and Sandeman. Stay at the 1872 River House, one of Porto’s most romantic boutique hotels, located right on the river. Plan to sit down for a relaxing meal at LSD, an affordable yet chic restaurant with some excellent Portuguese lunch menu options. You can take a look at 10 additional amazing things to do in Porto here. Or, venture off into the countryside and stay at one of these gorgeous Northern Portugal wine hotels.
Explore the baroque towns of Sicily such as Noto, Ragusa and Modica along the eastern part of the island while stopping to taste wine along the way. Mount Etna is also part of the region and has its very own DOC. Plus, there’s always the famous Nero d’Avola, a grape variety with special fermentation techniques.
Visiting Planeta will help you to better understand the diverse and different wines of the island as they offer a special introduction tasting to several of the island’s varieties. Stay at the quaint B&B Marina Ortigia, which offers a homemade breakfast on its rooftop. Sample Sicilian specialties with a gourmet touch at Manna in Noto. The Winetraveler favorite is fresh fish topped with Sicilian crumbled pistachios.
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