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Vines and villas: Where to go for a wine holiday with SPL Villas

Few things beat relaxing with a glass of wine when on holiday. While you might not need an excuse to open a bottle, there's nothing quite like trying the local specialities when your villa is only a short distance away from the local vineyards.

Holidaying in wine-producing countries often provides you with the opportunity to experience life in working vineyards, with tours and tasting experiences that explain the hard work that goes into every bottle. With Winerist, you're able to enjoy handpicked tours that take in not just wine but regional foods and cuisines with the help of local experts.

With some of the best wines grown in warmer climes, wine countries are often great holiday destinations full of sun and gentle breezes. At SPL, our villas are located in prime locations so that you can find the perfect spot from which to explore the country.

 Tuscany

Italian cuisine is the stuff of dreams and is not only the largest producer of wine but also one of the oldest, so you know you're in good hands when you're drinking Italian wine.  

Tuscany stands out amongst other Italian regions for its wine production, creating some of the country's most well known red wines. This North-eastern region relies on the Sangiovese grape to create some of the world's most famous wines, and if you decide to tour some of Tuscany's vineyards, it'll fast become a familiar sight.

With Sangiovese grapes relying on sunshine for a good harvest, choosing a villa in Tuscany can be a guarantee for warm weather and sunny summer skies. One other guarantee, regardless of the weather forecast, is the quality of food to be found in the Tuscan countryside. The lush countryside offers up a bounty of locally grown produce.

With iconic foods such as the world-renowned pecorino cheese, distinctive dishes that have been passed down from generation to generation, and stalls lining the streets of Pisa and Florence offering a diverse collection of street food, you're never far from a mouth-watering experience in Tuscany.

With Winerist, you can enjoy truffle hunting tours where you'll unearth and enjoy the region's most prized and coveted produce. If you want to sample some of Tuscany's most well-known wines with the accompaniment of an expert guide, the Winerist's Tuscan wine tour could also be for you.

Vineyard in Tuscany, Italy
Vineyard in Tuscany, Italy

Croatia

Croatia isn't typically at the forefront of people's minds when it comes to wine countries, but this Mediterranean hideaway is home to a long and successful history of wine growing. With traditional methods still in use in Croatia's hillsides, you can also find larger scale vineyards up and down the country.

Directly east of Italy, it should come as no surprise that Croatia lends itself to the climate of vineyards and olive groves. As Croatia grows in popularity and more people decide to explore the beautiful ancient city of Dubrovnik and the peninsula of Istria, more people will be exposed to Croatia's fantastic selection of wines.

As far as production goes, you can expect to drink more white wine than red, and if you choose to drink as the locals do, you might find yourself diluting wines with water to create an altogether new drink, similar to Sangria. If you're wondering why Croatian wine hasn't taken the world by storm yet, some local experts have laid the blame on the nation's language, but if you're travelling on one of the Winerist's wine tours with a local guide, you don't have to worry about pronunciation, just remembering your favourite bottle!

What accompanies your wine depends entirely on where you are, with foods remaining fiercely regional. This means, even if you're travelling around Dalmatia, you can expect to find variations from town to town. Inland you'll find food takes on an influence from neighbouring countries and cultures, but the closer you get to the coast, the more seafood you'll find. If you're looking to sample some of the country's finest seafood with wine pairings, The Winerist's oyster tour offers the chance to try food fresh from the water and wine that was grown locally.

Vineyard in Istria, Croatia
Vineyard in Istria, Croatia

Madeira

While northern Portugal's Douro Valley may lay claim to the majority of the country's wine-growing, the island of Madeira off the West coast of Africa produces its own wine that is just as impressive. With Madeira known for its lush green landscape, it's only natural that vineyards should thrive here too.

The most well-known wine produced on the island is the sweet fortified wine that lasts for over a century. The legend of Madeira's sweet wine goes back to the Age of Discovery, where barrels of wine would be taken for crews on long sea voyages. Churned in stormy seas and heated from tropical weather below deck, any leftover barrels would be brought back ashore, and the newly processed wine would serve as the inspiration for today's Madeira wine.

Dessert wines aren't the only speciality made on Madeiran soil; you can find a wide variety of wines available across the country, ranging from dry white wines to fragrant reds. The volcanic earth of Madeira creates a unique flavour, and the perfect place to experience the varieties Madeira has to offer is on a guided wine tour.

Food in Madeira is just as incredible, with the island producing a wealth of seafood and meat dishes that reflect the island's Portuguese heritage. One of the island's traditional industries revolved around sugar cane, and to this day, Madeira is a heavenly destination for those with a sweet tooth. One of the best ways to experience the island's culinary offerings is to take a tour through Madeira's markets, where the island's delicacies are available to eat and enjoy.  

When you're not sampling Madeira's dishes, you can enjoy the astounding beauty of the island from the comfort of your Madeira villa. Whether it's the scenic views from the village of Prazeres in the Southwest or exploring the cobbled lanes of the capital, Funchal, this garden of Eden has plenty to discover around every corner.

View of Funchal Harbour, Madeira
Funchal, Madeira

When staying at any one of our villas, you’ll be able to enjoy the food and the wine of the region, but when on a tour with our good friends at Winerist, you’ll be able to travel to the source and sample the very best your destination has to offer.

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