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Underground caves, originally a refuge from invaders, are  used as wine cellars in Slovakia.
Underground caves, originally a refuge from invaders,
are used as wine cellars in Slovakia. Photo courtesy of
J. & J. Ostrožovi? Winery.

The GoNOMAD Wine Page

Winery Tours All Over the World


Slovakia


"Zivot je prilis kratky, aby sme pili nekvalitne vino"
("Life is too short to drink bad wine.")

-motto of the Zlaty Strapec vineyard

"A man resembling a clean-shaven Santa Claus swings opens a large barrel top serving as a door, revealing a set of stone steps leading underground.

I follow him into an underground tunnel cut out of the volcanic tufa rock. This passageway empties out into a cool, cavernous room with a wrought iron chandelier hanging from the domed ceiling.

I’m underneath the Slovak village of Vinicky in a 400-year old cellar. Santa Claus is actually Gejza Nagy. He and his wife Anna own the Zlaty Strapec Vineyard, and he boasts that his family has been making wine in this region for centuries.

The Duke of Transylvania, Frantisek Rákoczi II, sent his own Tokaj wine to Louis XIV of France, who termed it 'Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum' - (Wine of Kings, King of Wines).

Our guide also mentions that in the 18th century Tokaj wine became famous as a medicine for healing anemia and nerve illnesses. Tokaj was also the favorite drink of Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Voltaire, and Goethe. Beethoven and Schubert dedicated songs to it
."

Read more of Shelly Puhak's story on Tokaj wine:

A Taste of Tokaj: Wine of Kings, King of Wines


Portugal


"Vinho Verde, literally 'green wine,' is the young, slightly sparkling wine produced in both red and white varieties in the Minho region. Casa de Juste is located in the heart of Vinho Verde country and is typical of the region's grand wine producing estates.

Set in a five hectare vineyard with onsite winemaking and cheesemaking, guests can enjoy an authentic agrotourism experience in peaceful and comfortable surroundings. Autumnal guests are welcome to help with the grape harvest if they wish. Alternatively they can just enjoy the output."

Read more of Martin Li's story on vineyards and grand manor house in Portugal:

Lording it in Portugal's Grand Manor Houses


Ascoli, Italy


"God's Great Gift…the Grape"

"Wine is an art capable of making you dream," says Ercole Velenosi. As we sit in the tasting room of the Velenosi Ercole, I couldn't agree more.

Winemaking has become a dream fulfilled for Ercole and Angela Velenosi. The plaques and medals won over the years for their wines are a testament to hard work and good soil.

One standout that I sample is Lundi; a mix of Montepulciano processed with Sangiovese as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes from the owner's vineyards. Two years of refinement in wooden barrels obviously result in a wine that is soft and wide. Cases sent to New York City recently received rave reviews, and after tasting it I can see why.

Read more of Kent E. St. John's story on Ascoli:

Delightful Ascoli:"Like Tuscany 30 Years Ago"

J?zsef Simon
J?zsef Simon

Hungary

Winemaker J?zsef Simon began the ceremonial opening of the first bottle. I refused politely saying I was only here to interview him and that I would not take up much of his time.

“Nonsense,” he growled. “We cannot speak with the dry mouth.” We all nodded in agreement. A small cry of pleasure escaped me when the bottle finally released the cork.

The first taster was Pinot Gris – a crisp white, with an extremely fruity nose and a body revealing a fresh palette.

“Hungary's wine growing traditions date back centuries”, J?zsef claimed. “But the long period of Soviet domination took a serious toll.” He nodded gravely then took a sip of wine and grew momentarily thoughtful.

“New investment and renewed enthusiasm for quality is now bringing the Hungarian wine industry slowly back into the international spotlight,” Hildi translated.

Read more of Cindy-Lou Dale's story about the Hungarian winemaking region of Eger:

Hungarian Wine: Back in the International Spotlight

Vineyards in Burgundy, France
Vineyards in Burgundy, France

France

In Burgundy’s vineyards, which surround a corridor extending up from Beaune to Dijon, there are only two kinds of grapes: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. No blending of varieties, and they pick each grape by hand: Burgundy's standards are different from their bigger cousin in Bordeaux.

Reading the signs is like touring a high class wine store. The familiar labels like Nuits St. Georges, Vosne Romanee, and Romanee Conti, perhaps the pinnacle of wine excellence, are all here. Our van idled right next to the plot of land on a hillside where these cherished and most expensive of grapes are grown to become the $1000 bottles that are only available in lots of six. 

Read more of Max Hartshorne's story about Burgundy:

Burgundy Lives Up to Its Reputation

 

Missouri

"You can't go to Hermann without visiting the wineries. Stone Hill Winery is Missouri's oldest and in the mid 1800's was the second largest winery in the United States. Take their free half-hour guided tour through the naturally cooled cellars, and finish up with a wine tasting. You'll find out that Missouri is the fourth largest wine producing state in the country. This region is famous for the Norton grape, but my favorite Stone Hill wine was the Hermannsberger, a nice dry red. I had this with dinner at the winery's Vintage Restaurant, which specializes in German fare at reasonable prices.

Other wineries worth visiting in Hermann include the Adam Puchta Winery, which has been a family business for 150 years, and the riverfront Hermannhof Winery which has a self guided tour and an entertaining rascal named Billy hosting the wine tastings.
"

Read more of Wendy Hammerle's story about Missouri's wineries:

The Katy Trail: Biking Through Missouri's Wine Region

California

Vineyards in Healdsburg, California
Vineyards in Healdsburg, California

Surrounded by three of Sonoma's best known wine counties Healdsburg is the perfect base to chill, unwind and savor the best of California.

Two hours drive north of San Francisco, just off Highway 101, lies the small town of Healdsburg. The secret to its growing popularity is its charm and location. With Alexander Valley to the north, Dry Creek Valley to the west and Russian River Valley to the south you are within short driving distance of over 80 wineries set amongst stunning countryside.

Read more of Jacqui Currie's story about Healdsburg, California:

Healdsburg, California--A Wine Heaven



Colorado

Located just outside of Grand Junction in the bucolic town of Palisade, the Colorado Mountain WineFest draws thousands of visitors from around the world, all of whom come to participate in everything from “grape stomps” to hands-on winemaking workshops to winery tours to, of course, wine and chocolate tastings.

One of my personal favorite wines comes from the Two Rivers Winery & Chateau, located in the Redlands area in the the shadow of the Colorado National Monument.

Read more of Marjorie Asturias-Lochlaer's story about Grand Junction, Colorado:

Grand Junction, Colorado: Western Charm and Mountain Splendor

 

Vineyards in Croatia
Vineyards in Croatia

Croatia


"Unfortunately most Croatian wines do not make it to the States, a real shame but fact. Every winery I visited provided great wine as well as local food specialties to sample. All were very friendly and proud of their product.

It is now a proven fact that Zinfandel and an indigenous Croatian grape called Crljenak are one and the same. This was proven at the University of California Davis, America’s premier wine research center.

Interesting enough is the fact that one of California’s best producers of wine, Milijenko “Mike” Grgich, is of Croatian descent. Instead of heading to Rutherford, California, follow the roots back to Croatia; you will not be sorry!"

Read More of Kent E. St. John's story on Northern Croatia:

Northern Croatia: Castles, Character and Wine


Read more GoNOMAD stories about wine and winemaking:

Oregon's Willamette Valley: A Wine Lover's Heaven

Harrison County Indiana: Caves, Canoes, History and Wine

A Culinary Tour of China: Eating & Drinking Delights

Georgia, the Country: Where Wine Was First Invented

Tasting French Champagne: A Transcendent Experience

The Savor of the Sun: A Wine Tasting in the Czech Republic

Visiting Ensenada: A Bus Trip to Mexico’s Wine Country

Mendoza, Argentina's Vendimia Festival: Celebrating Beauty, Culture and Fine Wine

Culinary and Wine Tours Around the World

Alphabetic Listings of Wineries, Wine Websites and Wine Enthusiasts 

Food And Wine

GoNOMAD's Food and Wine Articles One of the most enjoyable features of world travel is the opportunity
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the cuisine of other countries and to join in the celebration of food, wine and companionship. In Spain
A The Danube by night - photos by Cindy-Lou Dale Hungarian Wine: Back
century, beginning more than two thousand years of a love affair with wine, food, and the "bon
interests. Honeymoon, Jewish heritage, food/wine and soft adventure specialists. Recommended by Travel
A A Taste of Tokaj: Wine of Kings, King of Wines By Shelley Puhak Editor's note
the beans Birthday celebrations always seem to revolve at least a little around food, no matter where you
their capital here until 1945. Photos by Robert Reid Hue, Vietnam: Try The Food [Editor's note: Robert
. Photos by Jakub Pavlinec The Savor of the Sun: A Wine Tasting in Moravia By Agata
Healdsburg, California -- A Wine Heaven By Jacqui Currie Surrounded by three
. Every winery I visited provided great wine as well as local food specialties to sample. All were
. Read more about food and wine on GoNOMAD Read more articles about California on GoNOMAD
and Extraordinary Food By Lisa Petersson Every day it starts early, as a low rumble, at just after



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