A luxury yacht charter can open up unprecedented opportunities to discover some of the world’s finest wine regions and awaken your inner wine connoisseur.
Vineyard tours and wine tasting experiences are not the first things that come to mind when undertaking a luxury charter vacation, but many notable wine regions are, in fact, within easy reach of the top charter destinations.
We round up six of the best wine regions to visit by luxury yacht.
Home to world-renowned wine regions such as Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy, France is a top destination for wine lovers and this is no less true for wine lovers cruising the French Riviera on a charter vacation. Indeed, the glittering coastline and its hinterland make up the region of Provence, home to 540 wineries famed for their production of light, refreshing rosés.
Grown for more than 2,000 years, the vines of Provence are scattered across seaside towns such as Bandol and Cassis as well on the outskirts of St Tropez and Nice, making cellar tours and tastings easily accessible to yacht goers.
For those with more time to explore, head inland for spectacular vistas as vineries grow alongside lavender fields and olive groves, and across hilltops and the looming Massif des Maures mountain range.
The key grape variety for Provence’s reds and roses is Mourvèdre, which has typical aromas of dark berries yet others include Grenache, the native Tibouren and Carignan.
The wild beauty of Corsica offers an idyllic antidote to the glitz and glamour of the nearby French Riviera, and circling the island’s verdant perimeter of rugged hills and dense forests is a plethora of wineries to discover.
In the north, vines cling to small terraces overlooking the sea while the oldest and most famous vines of Corsica cover the Patrimonio hills. The Nielluccio grape abounds in these parts, creating a complex, aromatic feast of red fruits, herbs and minerals
Circling the island’s verdant perimeter of rugged hills and dense forests is a plethora of wineries to discover
On the west coast, the island’s highest vineyards overlook the capital of Ajaccio and, further south, the vines of Porto-Vecchio merge with landscapes of beach and pine forests, and the wine region of Balagne spans between the seaside towns of Ile Rousse and Calvi. The leading grape here is sciaccarellu, known for its complexity and elegance.
The main white wine of Corsica is vermentinu, which differs in its tasted depending on whether the grapes were harvested in the clay and limestone soils of the north or the sandstone, volcanic soils in the south.
Italy regularly ranks as the world’s top wine producer and, with much of its beautiful countryside dedicated to viticulture, no visit to the Mediterranean hotspot would be complete without discovering one of its wine regions.
Yacht charterers are very well placed to explore the unique wine trail of Liguria as it covers the same ground as the Italian Riviera in the northwest of the country. From the comfort of a luxury charter yacht, guests can appreciate the lengths taken to grow vines along the rugged coastline.
A visit ashore is definitely worthwhile as visitors can come face-to-face with artisanal producers and sample their rare wines which, made in limited quantities, are hardly ever exported
Terraces are carved into the rocky terrain of hills that plunge into the coastline and, in places, land has to be cultivated by hand as the slopes are so steep. Spot farmers harvesting by hand and carrying baskets of grapes on their shoulders.
A visit ashore is definitely worthwhile as visitors can come face-to-face with artisanal producers and sample their rare wines which, made in limited quantities, are hardly ever exported.
Among Liguria’s best-known wines are whites made from Bosco, Albarola and Vermentino grapes grown in the cliff-side vineyards among Cinque Terre, while Dolceacqua in the west produces subtle, fruity reds from the indigenous Rossese grape.
Read more: Charter smarter: 6 reasons to book your Mediterranean yacht charter now
Tucked into the northeast corner of the South Island, Marlborough is New Zealand’s flagship wine region and, conveniently for yacht-goers, also happens to form one of the planet’s most sublime charter destinations.
After a busy morning exploring the sheltered inlets and sandy bays of the breathtakingly beautiful Marlborough Sounds, guests can spend a relaxing afternoon in the countryside sampling the local Sauvignon Blanc, oft-reported to be the best in world.
Thanks to a long ripening season and stunning climate, Marlborough’s fertile Wairau and Awatere valleys provide the perfect environment for cultivating Sauvignon Blanc grapes, known to produce robust aromas and crisp flavors of gooseberry and capsicum.
Choose from some 37 cellar doors to explore, ranging from international brands to small boutique producers, and discover the region’s lively restaurant scene, where delicious fine dining can be enjoyed alongside a complimentary glass of white.
Although Sauvignon Blanc dominates the vineyards, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling grapes perform well here too and, in recent years, the earliest Pinot Noir vines have come of age to produce some first-class, fruity reds.
Home to iconic yachting destinations such as the Great Barrier Reef and the exquisite Whitsunday Islands, Australia’s wine regions often remain under the radar. Hunter Valley, however, located just north of Sydney, can easily be incorporated into a yacht charter around the city’s waterways.
Accessed from the harbour city of Newcastle, Hunter Valley abounds with vineyards that benefit from the rich fertile soils and warm, humid temperature of the region. Australia’s oldest vineyards have grown here since the 1820s and now co-exist alongside a number of innovative younger growers, utilizing new techniques to develop new styles and flavours.
Top of the list to try is Semilion, the valley’s greatest gift to the wine world
Top of the list to try is Semilion, the valley’s greatest gift to the wine world. Crisp and lemony when young, the variety ages to produce complex vanilla and honey flavours. Other acclaimed whites include Chardonnay and Verdelho, a naturally full-bodied, fruity style of wine.
Reds to watch out for include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Melot and Pinot Noir, while immersive experiences such as appreciation classes and wine theatre sessions are available across the region as are gastronomic feasts to match the high-quality wine.
Best known for sun-kissed beaches, glittering waters and charming hilltop villages, Santorini is not widely recognized for its viticulture. However, dating back to ancient times, the rich winemaking traditions of the island offer those in the know yet another reason to visit on a Greece luxury yacht charter.
Unlike the majority of vineyards around the world, where the vines grow in rows along trellises, in Santorini, the vines grow in tight bunches packed close to the earth along the rocks to minimize grape sunburn as well as wind damage during flowering.
Most of the vineyards on Santorini are family-owned and are fast garnering the recognition they deserve, with a wine trail spanning the length of the island.
Grown in the rocky volcanic soil throughout the island, the vines of Assyrtiko produce a dry, full-bodied white wine with an intense minerality and crisp acidity.
Another popular grape variety is the native Athiri, offering a medium-bodied wine with delicate aromatic qualities, and reds such as Mavrotragano and Mandilaria are also widely cultivated across the island.
For further information on incorporating a wine region visit into your next charter vacation, please speak to your preferred charter broker.
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