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Wine Regions

Grape Escape: Top 2014 Wine Regions
March 5, 2014
By , Consulting Managing Editor & Contributor

When you think wine, Texas Hill Country probably doesn’t leap to mind. But, it’s one of the top emerging wine travel destinations for 2014, according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The magazine’s list of 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations crisscrosses the globe, from the luminaries (Barossa Valley, Sonoma, Umbria) to the lesser-known (Walla Walla, Valle de Guadalupe, the Lone Star State).

The key phrase in this list is “wine travel.” That’s because 2014 is shaping up to be the year of  “experiential” or “immersion” travel. And, sipping your way through a region – spending the night at vineyards, chatting with local farmers who still have the day’s dirt under their fingernails, bottling your own wine – plays in perfectly with this concept. Experiential travel may be this year’s travel buzzword (former contenders: staycation, glamping and babymoon) but it is having an impact on everything from tours and hotel packages to media coverage and top 10 lists.

The New Napa
Like any good wine pairing, certain regions are particulary suited to traveling and tippling. Our top pick from the 2014 list is Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, which Conde Nast Traveler called "Mexico's answer to Napa." As the Wine Enthusiast editors explain, this wine valley is proof that Mexico isn't “just sacramental wine and plonk.” A 14-mile Ruta del Vino winds past sun-warmed vineyards in the micro-climate valley, which has been going through a revival, with over 50 wineries, along with new wine bars and farm-to-fork restaurants. This is another side to Baja: The sombreros and strip bars of Tijuana may be just an hour to the north, but you’d never know it as you ease into the afternoon over a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at handsome wineries like Monte Xanic. Another discovery: Baja’s famous fish tacos go really well with wine. Corona has been replaced.