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September 26, 2007
No longer reserved for society's elite, wine tasting is rapidly growing in popularity as a vacation for people from all walks of life. For travellers looking for a getaway ripe with class and sophistication-but without the price tag to match-Hostelworld.com offers these options for "Wine Tasting on a Budget" among all corners of the globe.
The Five Star Hostel is located in The Alberti Tower, the last medieval tower in Florence. Originally constructed in 1040, it was renovated with special attention given to conserving the characteristics of the medieval age, providing a genuine historic experience for guests. The staff speaks English, French and Spanish and can give advice about places to visit as well as arrange wine tasting tours and Chianti tours. Florence offers picturesque scenery of rolling hills, colourful olive groves and miles of abundant vineyards that are known for their production of some of the best red wines in the world. This region in the central hills of Chianti is renowned for its production of the traditional Chianti, Classicos and Rufinas. The wine culture in Florence has run deep for centuries making it the ideal location for a traditional and historical wine tasting tour. Wine lovers visiting Florence are treated to the finest culinary dishes, treasured museum, historic villas and high fashion boutiques. However, those who are not travelling on a high-end budget should not despair. Florence has plenty to offer in the way of affordable entertainment, dinning and accommodations.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: The Five Star Hostel in Florence, Italy.
Rates start at €25.00 per person per night
Sonoma Valley, California
Whether you are a novice or cognoscenti, there is something magical about getting up close to grape vineyards of Sonoma Valley. With more than 250 wineries in a single region, many are surprised to learn that Sonoma Valley is the world's fourth largest producer of wine. Like only a handful of places on earth, Sonoma Valley is blessed with exactly the right combination of soil, sun, seasonal moisture and geography for growing grapes of exceptional quality. As a result Sonoma Valley is one of the finest wine production regions in the world. Often called the birthplace of the California wine industry, Sonoma Valley is home to vineyards planted as early as 1824. In this region, there are more than 13,000 acres of vineyards and more than 40 premium wineries, a number of them family owned and operated. Each winery has experienced staff who will help visitors understand the wine making process from beginning to end and will explain in detail how the planting of a vine can result in the wonderful nectar that is finally produced. Visitors can book tours to Sonoma Valley at USA Hostels San Francisco hostel, just 45 minutes away from California's first Wine Country.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: USA Hostels in San Francisco, USA
Rates start at €19.00 per person per night
Marlborough Region, New Zealand
Nestled in the northeast corner of South Island, this hilly and picturesque region is known for pairing its fantastic wines with gourmet food, such as fresh regional seafood or local lamb. As the largest producer of wine in New Zealand, Marlborough has made a significant impact on the "new world" wine scene. Free draining soils and warm growing conditions make this region perfect for wine production. Known for having more hours of sunshine than any other region in the world, the Marlborough region is home to one of the world's most famous Sauvignon Blancs. In the laid back atmosphere of this region, visitors can savor the flavors of top-notch Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Methode Traditionelle sparking wines while taking in the views off the rugged coastlines. Most of the wine produced in this region can be found in the fertile Wairau valley where visitors can enjoy private, relaxed wine tours personalized to suit their needs and preferences. Those who would like to have the fine wine tasting experience without the high cost can book accommodation and wine tours at Atlantis Backpackers Hostel in Picton, New Zealand.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: Atlantis Backpackers in Picton, New Zealand
Rates start at €12.00 per person per night
Santiago, Chiles' coveted wine capital is located at the foothills of the soaring snow-capped Andes Mountains. The breathtaking landscape includes glacial lakes, volcanoes and endless vineyards. The region serves as a haven for those seeking the finest red wines and traditional cuisine. The wines from Santiago have a reputation for bold fruity tastes and affordable prices. The people of Santiago are warm and friendly, welcoming visitors to experience all that the area has to offer. The Aconcagua Valley is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Visitors who long to sip on crisp white wine can visit the Casablanca Valley, which produces Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines. Those in the mood for a sultry red wine should tour the Cachapoal Valley, known for producing Cabernets and Merlots. Travelers who fancy pairing fine wine with a little history should head over to the nearby Concha y Toro, one of the largest exporters of wine in Chile. Colchagua Valley was named the best Wine Region of the World in Wine Enthusiast in 2005, which caused a stir because it was the first time the French and Italians had been beaten by South America. The Eco Hostel is perfect for those looking for a nice place to stay in Santiago with a warm atmosphere and reasonable prices. The hostel organizes events such as weekly Chilean BBQs, slide shows and other events - always accompanied by a good Chilean wine, of course.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: Eco Hostel in Santiago, Chile
Rates start at €9.00 per person per night
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Leave the bedroll at the hostel - Stumble Inn Backpackers Lodge makes sure everyone's backpack carries away at least one bottle of wine for later consumption. For those looking for the sophistication of a wine tasting trip but still wish to let loose at night, Stellensbosch, South Africa just might be the perfect getaway. Stellensbosch is recognized as the heart of South Africa's wine industry, producing more than one billion liters each year. With more than 200 growers and producers as well as 106 cellars-most of which are open to the public-the true wine connoisseur will revel in the many tasting options available. When the sun sets and the vineyards close, Stellensbosch's youthful and vivacious character comes to life. With 17,000 students and a virtually unlimited array of restaurants and pubs, Stellensboch provides the adventurous traveler with a variety of nightlife options rivaling that of any college town or metropolitan area. For an affordable and fantastic adventure, travelers can book accommodation at the Stumble Inn Backpackers Lodge in Stellenbosch where the staff will ensure that guests will experience the myriad ways available to explore this scenic mountain region.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: Stumble Inn Backpackers Lodge in Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rates start at €8.00 per person per night
Angers is a small heritage town in the Loire Valley of France. Long known as "Black Angers" because of the gloomy-colored slate and stone quarried here since the ninth century, it is actually a scenic, lively town with a friendly atmosphere. Angers is well-known for its annual Loire Valley Wine Fair which brings together 600 wine producers as well as thousands of retailers, importers and restaurateurs looking to augment their offerings. Known for its majestic royal chateaux and great red and white wines, the Loire Valley is a favorite destination for wine lovers. Visitors can relive some of the greatest moments of France's history with the royal castles like the Chaumont, Chenonceau or the impressive Chambord Castle. Travelers can also treat themselves to the chic French shops and tours and tastings at the best wineries of the region like Vouvray, Chinon, Bourgeuil, Anjou or SavenniÃ¨res. Visitors looking to explore the wide array of attractions, especially the wine tasting, can book accommodation at the Ethic Ã©tapes Lac de Maine hostel for a glorious French experience.
Hostelworld recommended hostel: Ethic Ã©tapes Lac de Maine in Angers, France
Rates start at €17.00 per person per night
Hostelworld.com is a leading provider of online reservations to the budget, independent and youth travel market. It offers confirmed online reservations for over 12,000 hostels and budget hotels in 165 countries worldwide. The site also offers budget travellers free podcasts, customised city guides, a travel social network and more. Hostelworld.com is headquartered in Dublin and is fully owned and operated by Web Reservations International Ltd (WRI).