Grape Escapes For The Harvest Season: 5 European Wine Destinations

The coming months are a special time at vineyards around Europe as it is time for the annual grape harvest. The exact timing varies each year, but from mid-September until mid-October you will get to see harvest celebrations and festivals around Europe in full swing.

The wine regions are already often some of the most picturesque regions of southern Europe because of their rolling hills, green valleys, charming villages, churches, as well as chateaux and manors. But during autumn, the European wine destinations come even more to life! So with Europe’s grape harvest season fast approaching, here is a list of five top wine destinations in the continent for you.

PORTUGAL | Douro Valley

Join the grape harvest in Portugal's Douro ValleyJoin the grape harvest in Portugal's Douro Valley The Douro River flows through steep channels for around 125 miles across the north of Portugal. Right in the middle is where you find the surprisingly unspoilt Douro Valley; home to the first demarcated wine region in the world. The region was established as far back as 1756 in a time when the Port industry developed. Douro wine has the country’s highest wine classification as a ‘denominação de origem controlada’ and, although associated primarily with Port, these days it produces just as much high-quality table wine. The grape harvest in Douro Valley starts around mid-September when the valley colours to warm reds, oranges and yellows. Explore the region on an 8-day self guided cycling holiday on The Portuguese Road – Porto to Tui >> learn more

FRANCE | Medoc

Medoc is in France's Bordeaux region dotted with vineyards & chateauxMedoc is in France's Bordeaux region dotted with vineyards & chateaux The winegrowing boroughs of the north-western part of Bordeaux, produce some of the most prestigious wines in the world: Medoc wine. Find this impressive Medoc area in the famous Bordeaux wine region, its location is unique! The west section of the Medoc is shrouded in light and sun, and the Atlantic Ocean and its beaches are bordered with an immense forest. The east section along the Gironde Estuary offers views of the winegrowing region. This is where the blends of the Medoc wines are born. Along the so-called ‘wine road’ are well-known chateaux with their vineyards and it’s a treat to explore them by bicycle, especially towards the end of the season when the grape harvest takes place. Make it happen with a 6-day Medoc Vineyard Cycle where you are your own guide, learn more >>

SPAIN | Rioja 

Find beautiful autumn colours in the vineyards of RiojaFind beautiful autumn colours in the vineyards of Rioja Rioja is made from grapes grown in three regions in northern Spain: the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, in parts of Navarre, and the Basque province of Álava. Many wines traditionally blend fruit from all three regions. La Rioja has a total of 57,000 hectares cultivated, yielding 250 million litres of wine annually, imagine the enormous area covered in vineyards! Out of all that wine, about 85% is ‘tinto’ (or red), and a distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging. The Rioja’s unofficial capital, Laguardia, alone boasts more than 320 wine cellars, so there’s plenty to discover and taste. Organise your visit with UTracks’ 7-day cycling holiday Cycle the Rioja >> learn more

FRANCE | Champagne

The Champagne region is unavoidedly connected with Moet & ChandonThe Champagne region is unavoidedly connected with Moet & Chandon Famous throughout the world for its celebratory drink, EU law reserves the term ‘champagne’ exclusively for wines that come from this region, located about 100 miles east of Paris. The high altitude and average annual temperature of 10°C create a difficult environment for wine grapes to fully ripen, however it is these cool temperatures that produce the high levels of acidity in the resulting grape, which make it ideal for sparkling wine. Imagine cycling through the ‘Côte des Blancs’ vineyards, which yield popular champagnes and that are bursting with activity this time of year and visiting the underground cellars of Moët & Chandon! Make it happen with a 7-day Champagne Trails cycling holiday, learn more >>

ITALY | Prosecco

Enjoy the grape harvest and a glass of wine in Italy's ProseccoEnjoy the grape harvest and a glass of wine in Italy's Prosecco A visit to the heart of the romantic Veneto region allows for plenty of opportunities to sample the famous Prosecco sparkling wine from local vineyards. The hills of the Prosecco wine region are covered in vineyards and in September and October you can see the changing of the season to vibrant autumn colours. The local people are busy with the grape harvest at this time of year, which makes the beautiful pictures come to life. When you stay at our historic hotel located in a picturesque setting just outside the provincial capital of Treviso, you can decide each day what bicycle ride you’ll choose. For example, there are gentle cycling routes that follow the Piave River Wine Route or explore rail trails. Make it happen with a 7-day centre-based Prosecco Wine Cycle holiday, learn more >>   We’re running towards the end of the season and this means fewer other travellers and quieter trails. With all the activities and festivities that the harvest season brings with it, this is a perfect time of year to visit! If you would like to know about these or other active holidays to European wine destinations, or like to make a booking, please contact our team of travel experts.  
France, Italy, Spain

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