Holidays for wine lovers

Chris Carter looks at the best holidays for those who love nothing better than beautiful scenery and a glass of wine.


Italy's first winery run solely by women


It's not the location of the winery, nestled in the shadow of Montalcino, that makes Casato Prime Donne so special. Nor is it the fact that it is Italy's first winery run solely by women, says Rosie Scammell in The Guardian. It's the quality of the wine that's made here.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini founded it almost 20 years ago with the aim of overturning prejudices against women entering the male-dominated Tuscan wine industry. Today, the property which lies 25 miles south of Siena on a picturesque hilltop encompasses 16 hectares of sangiovese vines, producing the area's famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino wines. Tastings take place surrounded by tanks of fermenting grapes.

Tastings from €6

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Saint-milion is more beautiful than the famed city of Bordeaux, half an hour away. But the village, with its Grand Cru wine and Unesco world heritage site status, tends to be no more than a day trip on visitors' itineraries. That's a shame, as any wine lover will tell you, says Sian Meades in the Daily Express.

Make the most of the chateaux and picturesque medieval streets by going in late spring or at the end of summer when there are fewer tourists. You will still get to enjoy the warm weather, and Saint-Emilion is the perfect place to do nothing and drink wine. Palais Cardinal hotel is right in the heart of the village and an ideal base from which to go exploring.

Rooms from about £90. For details, see the website at



At the Six Senses resort (pictured above) in Portugal's Douro Valley, wine and wellness go hand in hand. The "beautiful old manor house" has a strikingly contemporary interior and the spa is "undoubtedly its star feature", says Kate Lough in the Evening Standard. But make sure you drag yourself away to take in the stunning scenery. A boat ride down the river Douro lands you atthe Michelin-starred DOC restaurant in time for lunch, followed by a few wine tastings at the local "quinta" (or wine-producing estate).

From £167 in low season, £320 in high. See


It may not be the first country to spring to mind for great wine, but Slovenia, just a two-hour hop from London, produces some superb tipples, from "crisp pinot noirs to bold black-cherry cabernets", says Sadie Whitelocks on the Daily Mail website. Up in the northern hills, you will encounter the oldest vine in the world one of the 100 bottles produced from the grapes is to be auctioned off this autumn for an estimated £7,000. The Hotel Bellevue has "awesome views", but for those seeking a "more authentic Slovenian experience, farm stays might be a better bet".

From £60 a night see the website at


The next Napa Valley

Wine tourism is new to California's Sacramento Valley, buthead there, to Amador and El Dorado counties, to get ataste of what the Napa Valley was like before the 2004 film Sideways brought an avalanche of tourists to the region.While many regard this as a new wine region, many of thezinfandel vines that still produce terrific wines were plantedaround the time of the gold rush, says Graham Boynton inthe Financial Times.

Local winemaking is now finding its feetagain 80 years after prohibition ended. The "burning hotsummer days" in Amador produce Rhne-style wines, whileEl Dorado is cooler, up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadamountains. No doubt, as the years pass, says Boynton, moretourists will rub away Amador and Ed Dorado's unspoiltcharm. Enjoy it with a glass of zinfandel while it lasts.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.