Sonoma County and Tuscany have emerged as the top wine destinations in the world in a TripAdvisor survey that culled rankings from millions of online reviews.
While the survey identified 32 favourite destinations around the world for oenophiles, Sonoma County in California topped the 2012 Travelers’ Choice Wine Destination list for the US, while Tuscany edged out the wine-growing regions of France and Spain to top the European ranking.
Though the US may be best known for its California wineries abroad, oenophiles also singled out areas like Willamette Valley in Oregon, Finger Lakes in New York, Walla Walla in Washington and Palisade in Colorado as favorite wine destinations.
Sonoma County, meanwhile, may not produce as much wine as Napa Valley, points out TripAdvisor, but readers gave the area high marks for its unpretentious vibe, laid-back appeal, local spas and wine variety, from Chardonnay to Zinfandel.
Tuscany emerged as the favorite wine destination in Europe for its Chianti, Vernacci di San Gimignano and the area’s Super Tuscans, blends that cannot be designated as Chianti because they contain less Sangiovese grapes than legally required, but fetch impressively high prices for their quality.
It also helps that wineries in the area are set against the stunning backdrop of the Tuscan countryside.
Here are the top wine destinations around the world, according to reader rankings from TripAdvisor.
In the US:
1. Sonoma County, California
2. Napa Valley, California
3. Willamette Valley, Oregon
4. Finger Lakes, New York
5. Long Island, New York
6. Paso Robles, California
7. Temecula Valley, Californiaµ
8. Walla Walla, Washington
9. Palisade, Colorado
10. Plymouth, California
1. Tuscany, Italy
2. Aquitane, France
3. Provence, France
4. Umbria, Italy
5. Sicily, Italy
6. Languedoc-Roussillon, France
7. Burgundy, France
8. Champagne-Ardenne, France
9. Costa de la Luz, Spain
10. Porto District, Portugal
In the South Pacific:
1. Hunter Valley, Australia
2. Auckland Region, New Zealand
3. Canterbury Region, New Zealand
4. Queenstown, New Zealand
5. Hawke’s Bay Region, New Zealand
6. Marlborough Region, New Zealand
7. Barossa Valley, Australia
8. Margaret River Region, Australia
9. McLaren Vale, Australia
10. Gibsorne, New Zealand
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.