A Luscious Toast To Wines In 3 Coveted Countries

Much of my time abroad has allowed me to enjoy some of the finer wines at much lower prices.

Caity - Stellenbosch
Via Caity Monroe

Wine tasting is one of my favorite activities, but being a college aged student, I rarely get to enjoy wines that cost more than $5.00. Luckily, much of my time abroad has allowed me to enjoy some of the finer wines at much lower prices. Throughout my experiences abroad, I’ve learned that vineyards and wineries are some of the best places to enjoy a place’s scenery. Typically, tasting areas are located in unbelievably scenic locations where you are more than welcomed to sit back, sip your wine and admire the backdrop.

South Africa

This country made me I fall in love with wine. While I enjoyed the occasional glass with dinner before my experience here, it wasn’t until wine tasting in Stellenbosch that I truly developed a taste for the drink. I spent the day meandering from winery to winery with friends, enjoying the mountainous backdrop while sipping different wines. Personally, I’m a red drinker, so I immediately gravitated toward South Africa’s Pinotage. Two of my favorite stops included chocolate pairings with the wines (at Biltong Winery) and a sunset concert after a picnic with delicious samples of different wines (at Solms Delta). 

Stellenbosch Comp
Via Caity Monroe

New Zealand

While I said I am primarily a red wine drinker, New Zealand has some extraordinary whites that almost made me change my stance. I went wine tasting in Marlborough, which is known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and I would have a hard time calling myself a red wine person if all Chardonnays and Sauvingnon Blancs tasted like the ones I found here. 

Sicily, Italy

I spent four weeks in Sicily participating in an archaeological dig. We got about one day off a week and our last week there, we wanted to make the most of it. We rented a car and decided to drive along the southern coast of Sicily. Honestly, we did very little research before venturing out but were pretty lucky to find multiple vineyards where we were able to stop and taste different wines. At most of these wineries, the walls of the front entrance were stacked with empty jugs that people would fill (by the liter) with wine.

Although wine has a reputation for being quite spendy (and this is not an unmerited reputation), wine tasting can actually be a reasonably cheep activity. Most of the places I went to offered free wine tasting and exceptionally friendly service. Although it can be a little awkward to leave without buying something when this is the case, splurging on one bottle of wine is usually worth a few hours of lounging and sampling multiple different wines. My friends and I would usually manage this by formulating a rotation so at least one person buys  a bottle at every vineyard.

Lizzy Monroe

Originally from Eugene, OR, Lizzy graduated from Stanford University. She's a coffee & street market enthusiast, her travel style involves planning ahead but never hesitating to improvise. Her favorite country is South Africa, she never travels without her Swiss Army Knife - mostly because of the hidden pen, tweezers and corkscrew.

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