2019 is upon us, which means that it's time to start planning your travel for the new year. If you love travel and wine (and you've gotta love at least one of those things if you're here), we've compiled a travel calendar based on popular wines from around the world.
January – Chenin Blanc
First grown in France, Chenin Blanc was one of the first grape varieties grown in South Africa back in the 1600s. It’s a very versatile grape, producing white wines from sparkling to dessert.
Plan a trip to Cape Town around January to enjoy dry weather and summertime tours through the country’s extensive and award-winning vineyards.
February – Carménère
This ancient grape has a fascinating modern history. Originally from France, it was thought to have gone extinct until it was rediscovered in the vineyards of Chile. If smokey, spicy red wines are your thing, then head south in February for the tail end of Chile’s summer.
In between exploring the country’s many wine regions and varieties, take advantage of the weather to visit the extraordinary Tierras del Paine National Park.
March – Sauvignon Blanc
While this green grape originates in France, since the 1990s it has gained a lot of traction in New Zealand. It generally produces a fresh and crisp varietal, and if you already love white wine, what better reason do you need to visit?
Rent a car and drive along the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Visiting in March—fall in NZ—guarantees that you’ll have great weather as you appreciate the stunning scenery.
April – Cabernet Sauvignon
Red wine drinkers will be familiar with the widespread popularity of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Grown all over the world, it makes frequent appearances in red blends and varietal wines. California’s Napa Valley produces a lot of this grape, and just happens to be a great domestic destination for wine lovers.
An easy day or weekend trip from San Francisco, book a seat on a wine tour, or even a gourmet lunch on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Visit in the spring for smaller crowds and beautiful greenery.
May – Sangria
There are few drinks that say “summer is here” more than sangria. If you’re the friend that’s always making pitchers of fruity goodness for your parties, then you should probably take a trip to Barcelona. However, once you’re there, you should skip the sangria and try drinking like one of the locals. Tinto de verano is an extremely popular and refreshing beverage that’s a lot like your beloved sangria—it’s a blend of red wine and lemon soda, and everyone drinks it.
Plan a visit during May to enjoy warm temperatures without summer crowds—you may even celebrate National Wine Day, May 25, in Spain.
June – Rosé
Don’t deny it—rosé is definitely the wine of the millennial generation. Fitting snugly between rose gold jewelry and millennial pink scarves, this Instagram-friendly beverage is sweet and refreshing. Perfect for starting out your summer, take a trip to the wine bars of New York City before it gets too crowded with tourists.
Check out rooftop bars with killer skyline views, or sip on frosé—that’s “frozen rosé,” which sounds almost too good to be true.
July – Riesling
This white grape is famous for producing sweet, light wines perfect for sipping on a summer evening. It originated in Germany, but is now grown widely in vineyards around the world, including Washington state.
Head out to the Pacific Northwest in July for some of Seattle’s best weather. Visit the state’s oldest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle, which produces over 8 million cases of Riesling a year.
August – Sparkling Wine
Who doesn’t love a glass of the bubbly now and then? If you find yourself imbibing in sparkling wine for more than just holidays and weddings, though, you may want to book yourself a vacation to France. Travel 100 miles east of Paris to the Champagne region, which is famous for—you guessed it—champagne!
Try to visit in August during the Champagne Route Festival. You can get a “flute passport” that will let you into tastings all over the countryside.
September – Chianti
Chianti doesn’t refer to a varietal of wine, but rather any wine produced in Italy’s Chianti region. It’s made primarily from the red grape Sangiovese, one of the prides of Italy. Any aspiring oenophile has to make a pilgrimage to Italy at some point in their lives—the country has over 300 official wine grape varieties!
Plan a visit in September to avoid both crowds and the summer heat. You may even get to visit during the harvest, when there are festivals galore.
October – Malbec
Malbec grapes create an inky red wine with a powerful fruity flavor. Originally from France, it is now widely grown across Argentina. The country is the fifth-largest producer of wine in the world, but the majority of it stays—and is consumed—in Argentina.
While harvest season isn’t normally until February, visit the vineyard region around Mendoza in October to enjoy beautiful spring weather and mountain views.
November – Shiraz
This dark-skinned grape produces a flavorful and full-bodied red wine. Also known by the name “Syrah,” the grape is one of the most important for wine-making in Australia.
Take a trip down under this November to enjoy late spring in the country’s southern vineyard regions. There are wine tours that depart from Sydney and Melbourne, meaning you can evening divide your time between the city and countryside.
December – Mulled Wine
If you love the hot spiced goodness that is a cup of mulled wine, then you have to get yourself to Germany next December.
Why December? Because that’s when you can visit one of Germany’s famous Christmas markets, stuffed to the brim with shining lights, gingerbread cookies, and steins on steins of Glühwein, or German mulled wine. Treat yourself to a cup or two for only a few Euro—or maybe a little more if you opt for an added shot of rum.