With some of the most famous wine regions around the world celebrating their harvest season, September is the perfect time to travel for wine tasting. The weather is still warm, the crowds have thinned out and festivities are in full swing.
These harvest festivals are a celebration of the hard work that goes into producing wine. Steeped in history, they also offer a unique opportunity to experience local culture and traditions. From grape stomping to wine tastings, we guarantee you will have a great time.
And, for a limited time, benefit up to 15% off September departures of selected tours in our September on Sale.
A country renowned worldwide for its wine, Italy boasts many fine vintages. And Tuscany, one of the three main wine regions, is simply sublime. September is undeniably one of the best times to visit Tuscany; the exquisite fall colors adorn the trees and hillsides and pleasantly warm weather makes it an ideal time to head to the vineyards. The grape harvest is also in full swing, with many events dedicated to grapes and wine tasting. The annual grape harvest in Tuscany and since ancient times has been one of the most exciting events of country life.
One of the most iconic events is the Chianti Classico Expo in Greve in Chianti. Enjoy tastings of wine, olive oil, cured meats, cheeses and other local products. Also many artistic and cultural events, are scheduled. Visitors can meet local winemakers to take wine tours of their vineyards and cellars.
The Grape Festival in Chiusi is also a magnificent convergence of wine enthusiasts and local food producers. Indulge in tastings within the ambiance of traditional cellars as well as at designated tasting points and shops throughout the town. Savor an array of original and enticing dishes and enjoy lively music while mingling with the locals. Definitely one of the best places to visit in September.
Discover this region on: Italian Elegance
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The Rhinelanders possess a distinctive and vibrant way of celebrating wine, embracing every conceivable occasion throughout the year. Over the centuries, the people of the Rhine have endured many hardships. But they have also reaped the benefits of cultural exchange as a bustling trading route. Today, a plethora of festivals pay homage to this rich history, with a common thread being the local product that has stood the test of time, wine.
In the fall, the region comes alive with classic wine, vintner and grape-harvest festivals, making it one of the best places to visit in September. Marking the arrival of the grape-picking season, the air is infused with the aroma of freshly pressed grape juice and fermenting wines.
Streets, lanes and squares come alive with decorations and colorful ribbons adorning the many wine stalls.
Processions wind their way through villages, and festivals frequently culminate in the crowning of wine princesses, queens and even Bacchus, the god of wine himself.
On Best of Germany, stop at the Ratsenburger Winery for a wine tasting of its renowned Rieslings. As you sip, learn how eco preservation techniques are implemented at the winery, creating a sustainable business for future generations.
Discover this on: Best of Germany
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RIOJA REGION, NORTHERN SPAIN
The heart and soul of Spain’s Rioja region beats to the rhythm of wine. Granted the Designation of Origin Rioja in 1926, it proudly holds Spain’s sole ‘Highest Quality’ certification. With a sprawling expanse of 65,300 hectares (161,290 acres) under vine, and 567 wineries, the region’s prosperity thrives on grape cultivation and wine sales.
Such is the significance of viticulture in Rioja that the farmers embraced their own Patron Saint, Isadore the Laborer. Harvest festivals, held in September, serve as a testament to their importance.
One of the most famous is the weeklong festival in Logroño in honor of St. Matthew. During the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival, affectionately known as the festivities of San Mateo, Logroño pulls out all the stops. Wine tasting and grapes take center stage and visitors can partake in a multitude of activities. This includes traditional foot-crushing of grapes and the ceremonial offering of the first must to the Virgen de Valvanera. The festivities also feature parades of floats, music and communal feasts for all to savor.
Another wine highlight of Northern Spain is Rueda region, Spain’s most successful white wine region. Today almost all the major Spanish producers have vineyards here. On our Northern Spain tour visit a renowned winery and learn about the Verdejo grape and what to look for in a fresh white.
Visit this region on: Northern Spain
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MONTICELLO WINE TRAIL, USA
In the stunning natural beauty of West Virginia USA, just outside Charlottesville, you can take a fascinating wine journey though some majestic vineyards in ‘the birthplace of American wine’. The Monticello Wine Trail is an active association of wineries, all within 25 miles of Charlottesville. Each produces wines of national and international acclaim and owe homage to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of winemaking.
American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and the third President of the United States (1801–1809), Thomas Jefferson also became the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur of his age. Born in Monticello, Jefferson’s love of wine began in Virginia, was nurtured in Europe, and became a life-long passion. He famously called wine a ‘necessary of life.
Each winery on the wine tours takes great pride and pleasure in in crafting their wines and welcoming visitors from around to world. Sample wines, absorb the history and relax among beautiful hills, farms and vineyards.
On our Spectacular National Parks of Eastern USA tour, enjoy an afternoon visit to Veritas, a top-rated winery on the Monticello Wine Trail. Here over 50 acres of vineyards produce a range of complex and elegant wines. Sample signature vintages in a wine tasting and relax on the sundeck while enjoying vistas and the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Discover this on: Spectacular National Parks of Eastern USA
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In recent years, Niagara, Ontario, Canada has gained significant renown for its exceptional wines. Situated a mere 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls, Niagara on-the-Lake boasts an impressive collection of twenty-five vineyards. The wider Niagara wine region, which extends along the scenic shores of Lake Ontario, hosts more than fifty esteemed wineries.
September is the perfect month to discover the wonderful wines, food, ciders, beer and spirits made in the Niagara Peninsula. The wonderful climate with long sunny days are just perfect for exploring the region’s vineyards and harvest celebrations provide a fun way to get to know the wines of the region.
A beloved and highly anticipated event in St. Catharines, Ontario, is the renowned Niagara Grape & Wine Festival held each September. This vibrant celebration offers winery tours, wine tasting and seminars. Attendees are also treated to concerts, artisan shows, and one of Canada’s grandest street parades. Moreover, the festival is a feast for the senses, showcasing delectable local cuisine that is sure to tantalize taste buds.
The pinnacle of the festival is the Montebello Park Experience, a six-day event where you can enjoy concerts and wine tastings set against the backdrop of one of the region’s oldest parks.
Visit this region on: Best of Eastern Canada and USA
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In Bordeaux’s rich history, a significant ritual known as the ‘Ban de Vendages’ played a pivotal role before the commencement of the grape harvest. This proclamation marked the lifting of the harvest ban, granting vineyards the official permission to begin picking their grapes. Rooted in the traditions of the Middle Ages, this practice served as a safeguard to ensure that grapes were not harvested prematurely or when still unripe, thereby ensuring the quality of the wine produced.
Though the rule is no longer in effect, the tradition itself continues to be celebrated. This honors the customs and heritage that have shaped the region’s viticultural practices.
Eight centuries ago, the esteemed ‘Jurade of Saint Emilion’ was established to monitor the harvest of grapes hailing from Saint Emilion and its neighboring vineyards. Keeping the tradition alive, every third Sunday of September, they continue to herald the arrival of the harvest season. A grand procession unfolds as the 140 Jurats in red robes, walk through the medieval streets of Saint Emilion.
Ascending the King’s Tower, they proudly proclaim the vintage officially open, casting a symbolic declaration across the land. As dusk settles, a torchlight procession weaves through the streets. This is followed by a mesmerizing spectacle of ‘Son et Lumiere’ illuminating the night sky, accompanied by fireworks.
Discover this region on: European Grandeur
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If you are thirsty for a stylish September tour to these famous wine regions, take a look at our September Sale, saving you up to 15% on our premium tours for a limited time only.