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.
YachtCharterFleet rounds-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 vineries 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
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.
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.