Essentialist is a membership-based, bespoke travel planning service that uses a network of in-destination experts to plan trips and provide insider access to unique experiences. We worked with them to discover their recommendations for three of their favorite off-the-beaten-path wine destinations around the world. Essentialist also includes insider experiences for members, as well as recommendations on what to do and where to stay…
Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California, Mexico
Best Time to Visit: Any time of year due to the region’s moderate temperatures (Summer can be a bit hot), but Essentialist recommends immersion into local culture by visiting during the Valle Food and Wine Festival in October.
Why It’s Considered Off-the-Beaten-Path: Though Valle de Guadalupe—only 90 minutes south of San Diego—is known among foodies, the region is still overlooked by more popular California wine destinations such as Santa Barbara and Napa Valley. Interestingly enough, Baja California produces 70% of Mexico’s wine, which is best showcased in the over 100 wineries along the “Ruta del Vino” (wine route) in the valley.
Why Visit: The region is best known for full-bodied reds and whites with grapes such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Chardonnay.
Local Opportunities: Essentialist can arrange private visits and tours of wineries to learn more about how wine is made is this region, as well as experiences with local chefs—the gastronomy scene is one of Mexico’s finest!
Recommendations: Essentialist recommends staying at Bruma—a winery and hotel with eight spectacular guest houses, and an exceptional restaurant, Fauna, which boats a daily experimental menu prepared by the talents of esteemed chef, David Castro Hussong.
Finger Lakes, New York
Best Time to Visit: Late summer/September/October or late spring for tours of the vineyards. This said, any time of year is perfect for visiting local wine bars and the local gastronomy scene at the area’s restaurants
Why It’s Considered Off-the-Beaten-Path: Great New York wines are often disregarded compared to wines from other region’s around the world; however, Finger Lakes has been producing five-star varietals for decades now, and New Yorkers are just catching on!
Why Visit: The region is best known for white and sparkling wines, which includes Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
Local Opportunities: Essentialist can arrange private visits, tastings, and food-related experiences with local chefs, as well as guided tours of local markets.
Recommendations: Essentialist recommends dining at Ravinous Kitchen, which offers a farm-to-table eating experience with seasonal innovative dishes thoughtfully paired with wines from on-site artisanal winery, Ravines Wine Cellar.
Moravia, Czech Republic
Best Time to Visit: Moderate sunny days are most commonly experienced during late summer/September, however, guests looking to soak up local culture should visit during the city-wide Prague Wine Week, which takes place at the end of January. In spring, wine enthusiasts can hit the Praha Pije Vino (Prague Drinks Wine) festival, which focuses on natural wines from Czech region, Moravia.
Why It’s Considered Off-the-Beaten-Path: Within a country known more for its beer than its grapes, the Czech wine region of Moravia—an area producing wine since the Roman times—has been gaining popularity after seeing a steady growth of investment and refinement in the local wine-making industry.
Why Visit: The region is best known for local varietals of grapes that produce white wines such as Gruner, Veltliner and Muller-Thurgau, as well as red wines such as the central Europe-grown Frankovka.
Local Opportunities: Essentialist can arrange tours at local wineries and surrounding areas that are best experienced during local festivals as this gives a deep insight to Czech culture.
Recommendations: Essentialist recommends a side-trip to the country’s capital, Prague, followed by a road trip through Moravia and Austria to do even more wine tasting—but this time, hitting two countries.