Year-end “best of” lists are always fun to read, because in today’s fast-moving world, it’s easy to forget what happened just a few months ago. In our industry, we are fortunate to have a variety of categories to review, from the myriad of delicious wines and legendary vineyards, to the best books and movies. We opted to list a few of our favorite wine regions to visit. So, sit down, pour yourself a glass of your favorite, and let’s reminisce.
- Napa Valley, California: This region never ceases to impress us with the variety and quality of wines it produces. The trade works tirelessly to improve and refine existing legacy wines, while simultaneously “re-inventing” itself with new offerings to entice the next generation of wine drinkers. Given its proximity to Silicon Valley, the region is not surprisingly at the forefront of innovation – helping to nimbly navigate extreme weather events, droughts to floods, as well as monitor soils and plants for optimal harvests. But perhaps the most appealing characteristics of this region are its natural beauty, the welcoming demeanor of its winemakers and residents, and the culture of incredible dining providing the opportunity to experience stellar wines with world-class food. (Full disclaimer – with roots in the Napa Valley, the co-founders have a personal affinity for this area).
- Walla Walla, Washington: While it may not be the first place one thinks of for winemaking, for many this region is an undiscovered gem waiting to be unearthed. Over the past decade, the number of wine producers in this AVA has exploded to more than 100, boasting the highest concentration of wineries in the state of Washington. The quality of the wines coming out of the valley are nothing short of world-class offerings – with an emphasis on Bordeaux style blends and brooding Syrahs, it also offers plentiful single varietals and excellent examples of rediscovered stars like Tempranillo, Carmenere and Gruner Veltliner. Add to the exceptional wine the warm and welcoming community with a burgeoning food culture – a visit to this region should be on every wine geek’s short list.
- Chianti, Italy: Our list wouldn’t be complete without including one of the most historical and inspiring regions, as well as the source of this widely celebrated Italian wine. Visiting this region provides an opportunity to travel through the historic towns and areas around Florence, Arezzo, Pistoia and Montepulciano – which are worth the trip in themselves. We probably don’t need to talk up Italian dining, with incomparable cheeses, pastas and other delicacies, but we are also always impressed with the warm, inviting welcome of the Tuscan people. This is a fantastic area to visit year-round, but the best time to taste wine is in September, when the vineyards ready to yield their bounty, and there is excitement in the air as the villages start the harvest. Many estates are also open for general tours. Cin-Cin! (And start planning your trip now!)
Finishing notes…since wine can be so deeply personal – what resonates with us might be because of the food, company or ambiance we’ve enjoyed – which can certainly be different for your experience. But isn’t that what makes wine so fun? A favorite winery of ours is Reynolds Family Winery, not only because they have been a tremendous partner of Bottlevin in our inaugural year of 2018, but even more importantly because of the people, and quality of wines they have produced for over 20 years. Seek out their wines, and the next time you are in the Napa Valley, swing on by their beautiful property and tell them we sent you – they’ll treat you like family.
We are excited to add new winery partners and bring more features to our platform, as we race into 2019 and the continuing quest to build smart, connected wine communities, empowered by knowledge.
Until then, Cheers…To your health, and a fantastic 2019 journey.