Raise Your Glass: Experiencing Europe's Grape Harvest Season

Village in Alsace, France | Ewen Bell
Village in Alsace, France | Ewen Bell

Discover Italy’s prosecco-producing vineyards, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 2019, plus six more active breaks in the continent for oenophiles. From Rioja to Alsace, experience the grape harvest in autumn and indulge in your favourite wine.

Vineyards of Prosecco

ITALY | Prosecco

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the vineyards producing prosecco span nine provinces across the Veneto and its surrounding regions. Named after the Italian village of the same name, it is available as either ‘frizzante’ (lightly sparkling) or ‘spumante’ (fully sparkling). Approximately 150 million bottles of Italian Prosecco are produced annually, with Britain its largest export market.

  • RAISE A GLASS: On the Cycle the Dolomites to the Adriatic Sea trip, after cycling from the Dolomites, you descend onto the Venetian plain where the mountains give way to rolling vineyards. Opportunities to sample the famous sparkling Prosecco in the town of Valdobbiadene await you... This 8 day self guided cycle is not one to miss.

Grapes on vines in the Rioja wine region, Spain |  <i>Andreas Holland</i>

SPAIN | Rioja

A distinct characteristic of Rioja wine is the effect of oak aging. Rioja is made from grapes grown in three regions in northern Spain (the Autonomous Community of La Rioja but also in parts of Navarre and Álava), with many wines traditionally blending fruit from all three regions. Around 85% of La Rioja wine is ‘tinto’ (red), mostly from grapes of the tempranillo variety. 

  • RAISE A GLASS: Cross grapevine-covered rolling landscapes as you take in the Highlights of the Rioja by Bike (8 days) and meet local oenologists, see up close the Frank Gehry-designed Marques de Riscal Estate or visit Vivanco winery’s private collection; self-guided departures.

 Vineyard terraces on the hillside of the Douro valley |  <i>Caroline Mongrain</i>

PORTUGAL | Douro Valley

The first demarcated wine region in the world was officially established in 1756 when the Port industry developed. Today it has the country’s highest wine classification as a ‘denominação de origem controlada’, while the viticultural zone, which covers the steep slopes along the banks of the lower reaches of the Douro River, is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

  • RAISE A GLASS: There are plenty of opportunities for scenic boat trips, wine tasting tours and visits to port lodges on the Douro Rambler tour (7 days), which takes you deep into small working wine estates of vine-laced terraces; self-guided departures.

Vosges Mountains in Alsace, France

FRANCE | Alsace

The geography of the wine-growing area in Alsace is determined by the Vosges Mountains in the west and the Rhine River in the east, with the vineyards concentrated in a narrow strip on the lower eastern slopes of the Vosges. Wine here is all about aromas, with Pinot d’Alsace widely considered as one of the most uniquely flavoured white wines in the world. An abundance of cellar doors awaits for you on this trip, while the local cuisine includes specialties such as tarte flambé.

  • RAISE A GLASS: Walk through the heart of the Alsatian vineyards and sample some of the Alsace’s finest gastronomic delights on our Alsace Mountains & Vineyards trip.

Cycling past vineyards in Bordeaux |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

FRANCE | Médoc

Just north of Bordeaux, the wine-growing region of Médoc has a long history of producing full-bodied red wines (with very few exceptions, no white wine can be labelled Médoc), including the so-called ‘dean of red grapes’: Cabernet Sauvignon. Yields are kept low by government limits, with many wineries still picking grapes manually in order to keep quality high. 

  • RAISE A GLASS: Visit the impressive wine chateaux of Médoc and sample wines at famous vineyards and prestigious cellars on the Médoc Vineyard Cycle (6 days) with self-guided departures.

Chateau du clos de Vougeot |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>

FRANCE | Burgundy

Burgundy has the highest number of ‘appellations d’origine contrôlée’ in France. Chardonnay, one of the world’s most planted grape varieties today, originated here and it remains the most commonly grown white grape. Its ability to adapt to different weather conditions makes it one of the ‘easiest’ grapes to cultivate and today there are more than 30 clonal varieties in France alone.

  • RAISE A GLASS: Starting in the walled city of Beaune, the region’s wine capital and home to the Hospices de Beaune, where the primary wine auction in France takes place each year, explore Burgundy Canals and Vineyards by bike; self-guided departures.

Verzenay mill in the Champagne vineyards |  <i>Oxley</i>

FRANCE | Champagne Trails

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.

  • RAISE A GLASS: Highlights of Champagne Trails (6 days) include visiting Hautvillers, the village of the famous monk Dom Perignon, and cycling through the ‘Côte des Blancs’ vineyards, which yield popular champagnes known for their light, delicate aromas; self-guided departures.

Want to give a hand in picking while on your walking or cycling holiday in Europe's wine regions this autumn? Contact our experienced teams around the world to discuss your options. 

vineyards, wine tour, europe wine

Comment (0)

Your comment will be visible after the administrator's approval.

b i u quote

Save Comment
Join Newsletter
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ADS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Adventures South"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Adventure South</div>
Adventure South NZ is unrivalled in their geographic coverage, originality and overall quality of adventures holidays in New Zealand. Choose from walking, cycling, winter or multi-activity holidays, on either the North or South Island.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/AWH.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Walking Holidays"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Walking Holidays</div>
Australian Walking Holidays specialises in small group guided walking adventures. Since 1982 we have been guiding small groups of travellers on Australia's finest walks across our tropical, coastal or red centre landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GCT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Canadian Trails"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Canadian Trails</div>
Great Canadian Trails specialises in active holidays in Canada. With both guided and supported self-guided options available, our unique itineraries draw upon some of Canada's most inspiring parks, trails and landscapes from coast to coast.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/HUM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Humac Challenge"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Huma Charity Challenge</div>
Huma enables those with adventurous spirits to challenge themselves and make a difference for a cause close to their heart. Travel, fundraise and meet life-long friends on one of Huma's meaningful and unique challenges around the world.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WB.jpg?v2' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Walkers’ Britain"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Walkers' Britain</div>
Walkers' Britain (formerly Sherpa Expeditions) have specialised in walking and cycling trips in the United Kingdom and Europe since 1973. Explore iconic trails and destinations on a self guided or small group active holiday with Walkers' Britain.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TAS.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Tasmania Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Tasmanian Expeditions</div>
Tasmanian Expeditions is the most experienced operator of treks and adventure travel holidays in Tasmania. We own and operate the most comprehensive range of adventure holidays available across Tasmania's varied landscapes.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/UTX-new.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Utracks"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>UTracks</div>
UTracks are the active European holiday specialists. Whether you prefer cycling or walking, 2-star or 4-star, small groups or self guided, land, river or sea – UTracks can help you to explore Europe exactly the way you want.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WYA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions Schools"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions Schools</div>
World Expeditions Schools is our specialist division dedicated to organising tailor made overseas school group adventures. Specialists in Service Learning projects, choose from more destinations than any other school group provider.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/YOM.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Yomads"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Yomads</div>
Yomads offers adventures for the 20s and 30s on six continents. Designed as a way to bring young and likeminded travellers together, Yomads caters to those interested in lightly structured and active trips that allow freedom to roam and explore.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/ACT.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Australian Cycle Tours"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Australian Cycle Tours</div>
Australian Cycle Tours specialises in high quality self guided and guided cycling experiences in a selection of the most beautiful regions in Australia.
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/WEX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="World Expeditions"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>World Expeditions</div>
The pioneers of original, worldwide adventure travel holidays since 1975
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/TJX.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Trail Journeys"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Trail Journeys</div>
Self-guided cycling experts on New Zealand's Otago Rail Trail and more
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/BMAC.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Blue Mountains Adventure Company"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Blue Mountains Adventure Company</div>
The original Blue Mountains canyoning, hiking, climbing and abseiling experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/GWNZ.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="Great Walks of New Zealand"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>Great Walks of New Zealand</div>
Explore New Zealand's most spectacular wilderness regions with the self-guided hiking experts
<img src='/portals/World%20Expeditions/Icons/brands/small/NAA.jpg' class='brandPopoverIcon' alt="North America Active"> <div class='brandPopoverBrandName'>North America Active</div>
USA Canada hiking & cycling tour specialists, choose from self-guided or guided trips