Why wine country?/recommendations?

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February 25th 2010
Published: February 25th 2010
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I've always loved fine wine and learning about how it is made and how it should be enjoyed. I am from Southern Ontario, within close proximity to the Niagara Region, which, believe it or not, produces some top-notch wine and ice wine. A few years ago I went to the famous region of Bordeaux, France, famous for its red wine. I went on a 3 day tour of a variety of wineries and learned how wine is made and tasted it with a variety of pungeant French cheese and baguette. It was an unforgettable experience.

I then went to Sonoma - check out some of my earlier posts and some more photos I have attached here. It is literally one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has a Mediterranean feel to it and the weather is spectacular. I went in late August - still hot but not unbearable. What you need to make the experience top-notch is a fine automobile (and a designated driver) and a map of the wineries and you're set. Trying approx 5 wines (2-3 sips) can set you back between $15-25 (as opposed to Napa which apparently charges twice that).

In Sonoma, you can also go hiking, kayaking or biking (any of these would be incredible). Apparently there are also some magnificent spas and restaurants. It's such an enchanting place. I also saw a hot air balloon... that would be pretty crazy.

What I am mostly passionate about is good wine, good food, beautiful scenery and foreign cultures and languages. Sonoma crosses off the first three, Bordeaux crosses off most (though the weather wasn't so good)... What Sonoma is missing is that foreign culture - my favourite part of travelling.

So I was wondering if anyone can recommend any other new destinations for wine tours... but preferably more exotic than Ontario or California. Has anyone been to Mediterranean Europe for a wine tour/culinary class? Tuscany? Andalucia? Provence?

I think I'd like to learn Spanish, eat paella and drink red wine. Does anyone have suggestions of where to go in Portugal or Spain?

Additional photos below
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