Looking for the best October holidays for wine lovers? Immerse yourself in these wine destinations - with great weather, tastings, festivals and more...
The great Tuscan vineyards are dependably brilliant for October holidays. Seasonal mists may hang over the valleys of Chianti in the early morning and evenings can be a little chilly, but by day temperatures peak at around 20C and the landscape is bathed in the sun’s golden glow.
Why go now? Tuscans celebrate this fruitful season with a variety of gastronomic festivals, including the Castagne e Vino in Piazza (chestnuts and wine) in Radicondoli, near Siena, and the Sagra del Fungo e della Castagna (mushrooms and chestnuts) in Vivo d’Orcia in the Valdorcia.
You could make a road-trip out of this and head north to visit Alba’s famous truffle market during Piedmont’s truffle-hunting season.
Nearest airports: Florence | Pisa | Siena
With more than 400 wineries, an exceptional wide range of wine-making styles and grape varieties including Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, this area to the north of San Francisco in California is a great destination for tasting some of the world’s finest wines.
Why go now? It can depend on the growing season but the October holidays generally coincide with harvest or “crush” time when the vineyards are busy with pickers collecting the ripe grapes, and there is a buzz of activity and excitement in the air.
After you’ve enjoyed your tastings, explore the Harvest Festival celebrations at St. Helena on October 21.
Nearest airport: San Francisco
Cava has been produced in the far north-eastern corner of Spain since the 1870s, known for using the traditional méthode champenoise, and many of the finest cuvées never make it past the Catalonian border. So you have to come to here, to the Penedés region and the inland town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia between Barcelona and Tarragona, to enjoy the best of it.
Why go now? Cavatast is the great annual open-air Cava celebration. This year it takes place from October 6 to 8, with plenty of opportunity to taste while soaking up the festive atmosphere.
Nearest airport: Barcelona
It’s not only arguably one of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa – an hour’s drive to the east of Cape Town and skirted by a high mountain range – the tiny town of Franschhoek is certainly the continent’s greatest gastronomic and wine-making hotspots.
With its excellent restaurants and many fine wines, it is an ideal base for exploring the area on October holidays. From here, a hop-on, hop-off wine tram winds through the valley for wine tasting stops and cellar tours.
Why go now? Balmy temperatures, little rainfall and spring-time flowers make October one of the best months to visit this region.
Nearest airport: Cape Town
The foothills of the Vosges near the German border in north-east France make excellent autumnal touring country for Riesling lovers. A 170-km wine route passes through the five wine-making regions between Marlenheim to Than, taking in some of the greatest Alsace wine domaines including Hugel in the medieval village of Riquewihr and the idyllically located Domaine Weinbach in Kayserberg.
Why go now? The region is known for its year-round tradition of wine festivals and public tastings, and October holidays are the prime time for “new wine” celebrations in many towns and villages – including Guémar, near Colmar, and Mittelbergheim, near Strasbourg.
Nearest airport: Strasbourg | Basel-Mulhouse | Or go ‘slow travel’ and get the Eurostar from London and connecting TGV from Paris
South Australia’s beautiful McLaren Vale is particularly famous for its Shiraz and historic, world-famous labels such as Rosemount, Wirra Wirra and d’Arenberg. Just 25 miles south of Adelaide, its open countryside makes superb touring terrain.
Why go now? The extraordinary new d’Arenberg Cube opens in October in the d’Arenberg vineyards overlooking the hills of Willunga. This five-storey, futuristic glass and mirrored building will house a tasting room, with several wine bars, a restaurant, a unique wine-smelling room and ‘360-degree’ video room.
Nearest airport: Adelaide
SEE ALSO: Why not follow this with a trip along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne and try these great wine bars
This northeast corner of France needs no introduction, and its three main centres – Troyes, Reims, and Epernay – make excellent bases for touring the fertile terroir, the grand Champagne marques, and the many exceptional independent growers which pepper the region.
Why go now? If you really need an excuse to spend time sipping Champagne, here’s a suggestion. This year’s National Champagne Day falls on October 20 and will comprise a 24-hour social media event when everyone is invited to raise a flute of Champagne and share photos, tasting notes and videos. Even if you aren’t on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll enjoy the party and the sense that you are at the centre of things. #ChampagneDay.
Nearest airport: Paris Charles de Gaulle – Then hop on a TGV and you’ll be in Champagne in one hour
The Hungarian town of Tokaj is the ideal base for exploring the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region which spans the north-east of the country into south-eastern Slovakia. It’s classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there is plenty of opportunity for tasting the delectable white wines for which this region is famous.
Why go now? This year’s celebration of the harvest takes place over the weekend of October 6 to 8 with a winemakers’ market along the main street, and music in the main square. Featuring street processions and music, this popular festival has been an annual feature on the region’s wine-making calendar since 1932.
Nearest airport: Budapest – The it’s a three-hour drive or a 2.5-hour train ride
Words: Sophie Butler
Editing: Chris Mercer
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