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Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Travels may be postponed, flights may be cancelled and passports may be collecting some (temporary) dust… but we here at Dame Traveler don’t believe that means adventure must end. We’ve become refined in the art of armchair exploration – either through the pages of an excellent book, viewing a travel documentary or a virtual tour of the world. While we can’t necessarily hop on a plane to experience the world – we wanted to curate a collection of resources and virtual experiences from the best wineries and wine shops around the globe. This is our virtual wine tour you can experience right at home!

Typically, we always love to add a wine tour to our itinerary – especially when we’re in an area that has a deep vineyard culture and history. Let’s raise a glass, remotely! Gather your wine glass, a cozy blanket and get comfy on your couch. Our virtual wine tour brings the beautiful wine destinations we wish we could experience right now. Cheers! You ready? Let’s go!

Under The Tuscan Sun

We had to begin our virtual wine tour with a little taste of Italy! Tuscan wines have drawn millions of tourists for centuries, and there’s no doubt why. The landscape? Insanely beautiful. The food and wine culture? Intentional, historic and downright delicious. Why not escape into “la bella vita” and learn a little bit about the history of Tuscany and its wines?!

Wine has been a part of Tuscan culture for over three hundred years. Some historians believe that the Etruscans brought Asian vines with them when they settled in the Tuscan area. However, others are convinced that the countryside was already ripe with wild graphs before the Etruscans ever settled there. Nevertheless, the Etruscans really mastered the art of cultivating and domesticating Sangiovese and Lambrusco grapes!

Flash forward to the Duke of Tuscany establishing a boundary to focus Chianti production to the Tuscan region, regulating the wine trade in 1716. Wine became a major agricultural product of Tuscany (and Italy!) – in fact, WW2 nearly devastated the region and the national debt when the winery land was decimated.

Tuscany has become more and more associated with excellent wineries! Travelers today flock to the Tuscan region to get a taste of the good stuff, right from the source, to learn about the individual winery practices passed on for generations. It’s simply a must when exploring the heart of Italy!

What To Sip

Tuscany’s rich and deep legacy of wine-making can seem overwhelming, especially when choosing a bottle! We love sifting through a Verve Wine’s  selection of Sangiovese wines because they really explain what and where individual bottles and vintages come from. Traditional, silky, aromatic and delicate – we love a Sangiovese glass to go with a savory dinner.

Verve Wine has the mindset we love – “best part of drinking wine is the discovery of it all.” As adventurous women, you better believe this speaks to our soul! Their commitment to giving access to great wine, regardless of experience and budget (and without any pretentious attitude!) as us so thankful. Their group sources excellent wines for guests and customers, making a curation of bottles that have us feeling excited and informed!

They have a great monthly wine club with delivery, winemaker events, seminars and tastings too. (P.S. Verve Wine has an excellent wine shop – with same day delivery – in NYC and San Francisco. Once we’re cleared to visit, you better believe we’ll be right there to pick up some of their classics!)

Tuscany Travel Inspo

Sip Sancerre like a Parisian

Some of our favorite travel memories are from sitting at a corner cafe in Paris, sipping Sancerre and people watching and the 2018 Alix Carlin Sancerre and 2019 Bailly-Reverdy Sancerre Chavignol we found at Acker Wines, the oldest and most respected wine shop in America since 1820!! While the shop is located in NYC, their online store is a dream, featuring not only a shop with some of the best wines in the world but also, workshops, auctions and more.

Discover Rosé in Provence

Yes way Rosé! The pink stuff has slowly become one of our favorite wines. Crisp, citrusy, and fresh – its always been a dream of ours to experience a rosé in the sun-drenched, sunflower and lavender kissed land of Provence.

Rosé has an incredible history – aging all the way back to the ancient Greek age. Many of the first recorded rosés were made by watering down blends of white and red grapes. However, it wasn’t until the Romans brought over their field blends to the south of France that rosé really became coveted!

Now, rosé is synonymous with Provence’s rolling hills and rich parcels of land. Provence has been producing wine for over 2,600 years, making it the oldest wine region in all of France! Provence is committed to the art of rosé, as it is the only region to focus on its production and is home to the only research institute dedicated to it.

What To Sip

We’re absolutely obsessed with the legendary Miraval rosé! It’s full of freshness, well-balanced, fruity aromas and citrusy touches too. It’s both refreshing and flavorful, leaving us feeling elegant and celebratory all at once!

Issued from the Miraval Estate’s best parcels of land, right in the heart of Provence – there truly isn’t anything that comes close to having the real thing abroad than this! The château in which the grapes have been issued are the best of the whole of Provence. The vineyard has terraces of clay and limestone, soaking in the cold air pulling throughout the valley, which are truly excellent conditions to make a fresh and elegant rosé. The pure petal pink color have us oohing and ahhing even before our first sip!

Provence & South Of France Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Explore California Wine Country

California’s “wine country” is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s truly the perfect addition to any destination on the West Coast, especially for those who have a love and appreciation for vino! A California wine tour draws visitors from every corner of the world, seeking to soak up the sun and taste the delicious bounty of California’s delicious wineries. In fact, wine tours are the second most popular tourist activity in California (after a visit to Disneyland)!

California wine’s history starts with the Spanish Missions in San Diego, establishing themselves throughout the state and growing Criolla grapes to make low-quality wine. Later, French immigrants settled and planted the very first European grape varieties in the bountiful lands.

There was a huge turning point in California’s wine legacy – known as the Judgement of Paris on May 24, 1976. On this pivotal day, the world’s view of California wines forever changed. A legendary French judging panel titled California wines as higher ranking in Chardonnays and Reds than any other in the world… thwarting expectations and catapulting the production of California wines into a legendary status. Now, California is the leading wine producer in the USA, and the fourth largest producer in the world!

What To Sip

Empathy Wine’s bright and delicious white has us drooling! Its summery, light, with tones of lemon, anjou pear and peach. It has us dreaming of early summer temperatures, BBQing in the back porch, hosting friends and family.

We also love Empathy Wine’s transparency and commitment to sustainability and the quality of their wines. They know the absolute ins and outs of each of their wineries, all the way down to the names of the farmers and growers! Sipping on this fresh white gives us the peace of mind that we’re supporting a family (in this case, the white’s heritage comes from Lodi, California, made by Markus & The Mettler Family) and an industry that cares deeply about their product.

California Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Adventure To New Zealand’s Lush Wineries

New Zealand – its diverse landscapes, natural beauty and wondrous views have travelers awestruck. For those of us who aren’t quite able to hop on a plane to soak in the beauty of New Zealand, there’s so much to learn about its wine history!

At first glance, New Zealand’s wine culture seems short and sweet, but there’s so much to uncover. The first recorded planting of grapevines ages back to 1819, when Anglican missionaries planted them at the Bay of Islands. Despite the later prohibition movement, New Zealand wine development boomed during WW2 when imported wines became overly tasked. From there, wine production really blossomed until the 1960s (when restaurants were officially allowed to sell wine) and the 1970s improvements to the creation of the Kiwi-classic full dry wines. Less than thirty years ago, there were less than a hundred New Zealand wineries… and now there are over seven times that amount! Wine today in New Zealand are an essential part of growing its thriving food culture.

What To Sip

Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc is the iconic wine we turn to when we’re craving a little slice of New Zealand’s good life. It truly defined New Zealand’s wine and established the Marlborough wine region globally, especially bringing the Cloudy Bay brand into popularity. Their vineyards are located along the gorgeous Wairau Valley, rolling along the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions. (We dream of taking a real wine tour in this region one of these days, but for now virtual will have to do!) Thanks to the iconic region’s stable warm weather during harvest, Cloudy Bay’s grapes are able to steadily ripen for much longer periods of time.

At first sip, we fell in love with its mouthwatering flavor, filled with lots of juicy stone fruit, tropical flavors and a little taste of lemon acidity. It has us dreaming of road tripping around the North and South Islands, windows open, soaking in a sunset by the beach.

New Zealand Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Explore Spain’s Catalonia Wine Country

Romantic, lush and downright dreamy than the Spain countryside. The Catalonia region on Spain is flanked by rolling mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, truly an idyllic setting to explore no matter what a traveler’s interests are. In between the modernist architecture of Barcelona, medieval history, verdant valleys and seaside towns – explorers who’ve experienced Catalonia know its undeniable charm.

Catalonia’s wine history has over ten dominant wine regions that focus on full bodied, high alcohol drinks with intense minerality because of its deliciously warm weather. It’s been said that Catalan wine is older than Catalonia itself! Wine production began in the Catalonia region when the Phoenicians and Romans planted the first vines over two thousand years ago. Monks throughout the Arab occupation of the area preserved the wine tradition throughout the region, and nowadays the exportation of Catalonia’s wine is a major part of the regional economy and draws 19 million wine-seeking travelers every year!

What To Sip

There’s nothing quite like a smooth, buttery red straight from heritage Spanish vineyards. Matt Parish’s Spanish Garnacha is intense with flavors of dark cherry and plum, savory and smooth. It’s sourced from the 35-year-old vineyards in the iconic Montsant region of Catalonia. It’s easy to drink, but endlessly bold and flavorful… and Matt was named 2017’s Winemaker of the Year by US Angels! We love serving this up at a dinner party with Spanish style tapas and paella – just like you’d have in Spain!

Nakedwines.com’s mission is to connect wine drinkers (like us!) to the world’s best winemakers, producing hundreds of unique, indie wines we just can’t find anywhere else. Unlike other wine clubs, customers can choose when they’d like to try a wine. Their “angel” members also fund and invest the world’s best independent winemakers by prepaying $40 a month towards their next order. It’s a passion project into discovering more about top-quality wines without inflated marketing costs, and peace of mind knowing that each winemaker is also getting a fair and sustainable deal. It’s one of our go-to resources when we’re feeling curious about distinctive wines out there in the world!

Spain Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

The Heart of Organic Wine Movement

In recent years, there’s been a new trail blazed in the wine industry. Organic wines! What’s this? Essentially, the base of any organic wine must come from grapes from 100% certified organic vineyards. Organic wines reduce the use of dangerous chemicals, and it’s the next addition to any wine tour wine lover should investigate!

Organic wine creation methods began in Europe as early as the 1960’s. Later in the early 1980’s, US vineyards began to adopt and experiment with organic production. However, the acceptance of organic wines didn’t come easily! For years, traditional wine industries saw the organic movement as a threat and suppliers worried about them spoiling without preservatives.

What truly made the change? The purity of the wine in combination with the organic food movement. Artisanal cooking and the farm to table movement directly shifted the perspective of many food and wine aficionados. In the early 2010’s, fine dining establishments began boasting lists of organic wines on their menus… and the rest is history!

What To Sip

Bonterra Organic Winery has an excellent Merlot that we love to cork open when we’re longing for a real treat. Its 2017 bottle has an excellent balance, filled with notes of black cherries, smoke, plums and vanilla spice. Sourced from one of the oldest and most sustainable farmland, this Merlot is the definition of the organic wine movement… perfect for any wine-lover who’s hoping to learn a little bit more about their favorite drink.

Bonterra’s commitment to their wines is inspired by their biodiverse vineyards with extremely healthy soil, which creates flavorful organic wines. Their mindful farming and winemaking process all begins with their devotion to the backbone of their wines – the grapes. Grown organically from select growers, trading tractors for sheep for weed prevention and running on green power, Bonterra is the epitome of the organic wine movement.

Wine Education Inspo

  • SOMM – a documentary inside the intense world of wine and oil tasting
  • I’ll Drink To That! Wine Podcast 
  • Wine for Normal People Podcast
  • Other Virtual Wine Tours Around The Globe

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Pacific Northwest Wines

The Pacific Northwest of America isn’t necessarily the first destination travelers think of when it comes to wine. But, in recent years Oregon and Washington have really made a splash in the wine industry! These two states have what many wine experts believe to be the “best of both worlds.” Meaning, their locations can support New World wines because of their warm weather (which results of ripe fruit) and their cool nights can maintain the acidity needed in Old World wines.

Washington’s wine history does not go back as far as California’s, but as the second largest wine producing state in the US, Washington had a tremendous increase in its quality curve.  Wine grapes weren’t really grown here until a while after Prohibition was repealed.  In fact, it was Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that gave Washington a chance at viticulture.  The Columbia River Irrigation Project turned what were vast tracks of desert into fertile, agriculture-sustaining farmland.  Even then it took another 30 years for vitus vinefera (the species of grape used for wine making) to gain substantial plantings that supported commercial wineries.  The first guys on the block were the American Wine Growers.  They are now known as Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Washington’s wineries are filled with a large and diverse amount of grapes and areas to explore. Between its eastern region’s High Steppe Desert and the Columbia Valley’s major wine producing area’s six sub-regions west of the Cascade Mountains… there is a new world of wine tasting to be done in the Pacific Northwest!

What To Sip

Domaine Roy, located in the = Lined with vineyards from Bergström, Cameron, and Maresh, the estate’s 2310 vines per acre grow from some of the richest soil in the region. Their essential 2018 Iron Filbert Pinot Noir is a must-try! This vintage is an eclectic mix of florals, like lavender and sage, with aromas of orange and grapefruit citrus peel. It’s a polished yet rich wine with loads of raspberry, pine and rose that will remain one of our absolute favorites.

Pacific Northwest Winery Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home


Looking for more wine and travel inspiration? Be sure to check out our round up of excellent travel destinations for wine-lovers (once it is safe to travel again)!

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

This post has been sponsored by the brands listed. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This content is intended for readers who are 21 and over.

Europe Insider Tips Photography

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

Summers are special in Provence. During this time, usually-sleepy hilltop villages are bustling with activity, the cicadas are singing, and the surrounding fields are bathed in a majestic purple (lavender) and gold (sunflowers). Yes, it’s hot (the temperatures during this time of the year can get up to 40°C!), but none of that seems to matter when you’re strolling around the French countryside with some lavender ice cream in hand.

Our 7-day road trip through Provence started in Les Baux de Provence and ended in Aix-de-Provence, and took us through some of the most charming French towns I’ve ever seen. Each town had its own distinct character and personality. We visited in early July with the hopes of seeing the iconic lavender fields of the area in full bloom, and we were not disappointed!

Let this Provence photo diary inspire your next trip to France. Just make sure to book your trip in the summer season to catch the lavender fields at their best!

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

Les Baux and Saint-Remy de Provence

Our first stop in Provence was the medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence. It’s a small town but worth visiting, as there’s a lot to see and do in the village. Towering over the village are the ruins of the Castle of Les Baux, which is built upon the hill and offers sweeping views of the countryside. The castle grounds are large, and we spent a few hour exploring them. At the foot of the town is the world-famous Carriere des Lumiere museum. This museum is unlike any other – it’s built within the mountain and paintings are projected onto the surrounding rock surfaces! The exhibits are an absolute feast for the eyes.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue Sunday Market and Gordes

Sunday is a large market day in Provence, and the village of L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue offers one of the largest Sunday markets in all of France. The food stalls at the L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue market are filled with local produce, huge wheels of cheese, freshly-baked breads and pastries, barrels of olives, and homemade jam and honey. The ‘flea market’ section is an antique-lovers dream, featuring all types of vintage furniture, porcelain, cutlery, clothing, and other unique finds.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

We explored the market with a large straw basket in hand, picking up items along the way for a hearty picnic along the Sorgue River. I’ll admit, we did go a bit overboard with our picnic – which consisted of a full rotisserie chicken, a basket of nectarines and cherries, two baguettes, a jar of cassis jam, a wheel of camembert cheese, a bag of sun-dried tomatoes and olives, a slice of vegetable quiche, and two very-pretty patisserie (passion fruit cheesecake and a raspberry tart!) for dessert. When in Provence right?

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

After the market, we headed to the neighboring village of Gordes. Gordes is perched on a rocky and dramatic hillside (for the best views of the town, stop at the lookout point along the D15/D2 heading into the town), and it is absolutely beautiful! Here, we walked up and down every tiny alleyway (we needed a way to burn off all the calories we consumed on our picnic!), and enjoyed panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

A short 5-minute drive outside of town is the famous Senanque Abbey, which is an iconic place for pictures of perfectly-arranged lavender fields.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary


Lavender Fields of Valensole

There are lavender fields scattered all over the region of Provence, but the most famous of them are located on the Valensole plateau, specifically around the Lavandes Angelvin (a tiny lavender-focused shop located along the Route de Manosque). The lavender fields at Lavandes Angelvin are absolutely breathtaking – and the way the plants line the gentle slopes makes it seem like the lavender fields go on for forever! A word of warning though, the fields near Lavandes Angelvin are quite popular so if you want to avoid the crowds….go earlier or later in the day!

If you’re lucky, you might even find a neighboring sunflower field in the area. The only thing better than frolicking in a lavender field, is frolicking between a sunflower and lavender field!Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo DiarySeeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary


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Moustiers St. Marie and Gorges du Verdon

Moustiers St. Marie was my favorite village in Provence. Every street and corner oozed with charm – the town seriously looked like it came straight out of a fairytale! Looking over the village is the Notre Dame de Beauvoir, a religious site that features a tiny chapel tucked in the mountains. We made the 262-step climb to the chapel and enjoyed panoramic views of the village and terraced olive groves.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

A short 10-minute drive from Moustiers St. Marie is the Lake of St. Croix and the Gorges du Verdon National Park. The Gorges du Verdon is a beautiful river canyon and the deepest gorge in France. We rented a kayak from a shack along the nearby beach, and kayaked through the gorge, admiring the electric blue waters and jaw-dropping cliff-side views. It was one of the highlights of our trip, and I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary


Rejuvenation and Relaxation in Provence

There are places you visit with a packed back-to-back itinerary. But there are also places where it’s okay to relax and ‘do nothing’, Provence being one of them. Although there are several attractions and sites to see in the region (a few of them already mentioned in this post), make sure to have time reserved for relaxation.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

We woke up late. We enjoyed leisurely breakfasts of homemade jams and bread. We took naps. We strolled around quaint villages with no set itinerary, no specific agenda. We were lucky enough to stay in a rustic provencal farmhouse (complete with windows and doors painted a tres particular lavender blue) with a kitchen, so we took a night off of eating-out, and spent a few hours preparing and cooking a nice dinner for ourselves. There’s really nothing better than a home-cooked dinner and a chilled glass of wine in the garden, under the stars.

Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary Seeking Lavender in Provence: A Photo Diary

 

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