Visiting a wine region isn’t just about sampling the local wine. You’ll also explore the countryside and indulge in tasty local cuisine. Harvest time is usually the most popular time to visit, but many wine areas host festivals and other celebratory events at other times of the year. That means it’s always a good time to travel to wine country, you just have to know where.
In this guide, we’ll suggest which wine region to go for each month of the year, as well as what you can expect when you’re there. If you want to read about other great places to visit, see this list of best travel destinations to use the points and miles you’ve earned with your credit card rewards and loyalty programs.
January – Champagne (France)
Champagne, France, seems like an odd go-to wine region for January because of its brown vineyards and gray skies. But it’s the annual feast of St. Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of winemakers, that steals the spotlight. On January 22, people celebrate the occasion by dressing in traditional costumes and joining in a grand parade. You can partake in music, food and, of course, loads of champagne.
While you’re there, explore the ancient caves of renowned wine houses, including Perrier-Jouet, Taittinger and Veuve Clicquot.
February – Marlborough (New Zealand)
February is summer in New Zealand with splendid weather for the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival. The celebration is the perfect chance to taste wines from the region (Sauvignon Blancs are the specialty), sample local fare and take in the live music and entertainment.
You might also want to check out big-name wine producers like Allan Scott, Brancott Estate and Cloudy Bay, as well as smaller wineries like Dog Point Vineyard and Greywacke.
March – Mendoza (Argentina)
March in the Southern Hemisphere is harvest time. And the Argentinians celebrate it with the National Grape Harvest Festival in Mendoza, home of the Malbecs. Enjoy ceremonies, parades, live performances and fireworks throughout the weekend.
April – Andalucia (Spain)
In April, Andalucia in Southern Spain comes alive with fiestas, including the big Seville Fair (Feria de Abril). So, it’s a great time to visit Jerez in the heart of Sherry country. The bodegas, or wine cellars, are all in downtown, so you can sample wines from many different producers without needing a car.
May – Willamette Valley, Oregon (USA)
All the wine regions across the United States plan big events to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, but we recommend heading up to scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon. You’ll enjoy special tastings, vineyard picnics, food pairings, chef-led lunches and dinners, concerts, art shows and more, with over 150 wineries and tasting rooms participating.
June – Rioja (Spain)
The Wine Battle (Batalla del Vino) takes place in Rioja every year on June 29. It features a big party and concert, as well as a whole day of spraying, pelting, dousing and deluging others with red wine. While you’re there, visit the gorgeously-designed Bodegas Ysios winery and the Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia tasting room.
July – Finger Lakes, New York (USA)
You might not have heard of Finger Lakes in New York, but it produces some beautiful white wines, and the scenery is spectacular. In July, the area holds its annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival, featuring live music, wine-tasting seminars, a costume parade, a four-course banquet and more.
August – Sicily (Italy)
Anywhere in Italy is great in August, especially since wine regions throughout the country celebrate the Night of the Shooting Stars (Calici di Stelle) on the 10th of the month. Events include dinners, live entertainment, art and design shows and much more.
September – Sonoma, California (USA)
Celebrate Labor Day in Sonoma, California, with the annual Taste of Sonoma festival. Sample wines from 100+ local wineries, enjoy food from local chefs and restaurants, and learn about all things wine.
Certain credit cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, offer great perks for this event, including discounted tickets, early entry or preferred seating.
October – Rosslyn, Virginia (USA)
Head to Rosslyn in October for the annual Virginia Wine Festival. The event features 200+ local wines, live music, Chesapeake oysters, as well as gourmet food vendors and food trucks.
November – Margaret River (Australia)
While winemakers in the northern hemisphere move their work to the cellar, vineyards in the south are just coming back to life. It’s one of the best times to visit Margaret River in Western Australia. The three-hour drive from Perth is worth it for the annual Gourmet Escape, featuring celebrity guests, a gourmet beach barbecue and over 40 other events throughout the gorgeous region. More than 70 local wineries will participate, most specializing in Bordeaux-style wines.
December – Mosel Valley (Germany)
Mosel Valley in December comes alive with the festive season, so you’ll be able to enjoy Germany’s famous Christmas markets and dabble in fine Rieslings and warm, spiced Gluhwein. If you want to visit a winery, make sure to make appointments with each cellar. Or, you can visit the town’s Vinothek to sample almost 200 wines from the region.
Credit Cards Mentioned
In this post, we mentioned certain credit cards (find card bonuses here) offer perks for events such as the annual Taste of Sonoma festival in California. Here is additional information on the bonuses, perks, and rewards for the cards mentioned:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card® is everybody’s favorite travel card with a big welcome bonus. The card rewards you with Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most valuable rewards currencies in existence.
Anytime you have Ultimate Rewards points, consider transferring them to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners for maximum value.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a wonderful choice for anyone new to travel rewards for its simple earning structure and no transaction fee. For travelers, you’ll receive a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee. For a list of best credit cards also offering Global Entry or TSA Precheck, see this post.