The best places to visit for wine connoisseurs
Wine has been enjoyed by people across the globe for thousands of years, and many people enjoy traveling to the world’s major wine-producing countries.
From charming countryside vineyards to city wine bars, each wine region has unique environmental factors that influence the character and taste of the wines produced there.
So, whether you’re a casual enthusiast or a dedicated wine lover, if you’re packing your luggage ahead of a trip to explore the world’s great wine regions, which are the best nations to visit?
The best countries for wine lovers
1. Portugal - 8.83 out of 10
In first place is Portugal, a country with an extensive history of viniculture and a diverse range of unique native grape varieties.
This means that the country produces a wide variety of different types of wine, with port, named after the city of Porto, being the most famous.
The country comes top of our ranking, with 58 liters consumed per person, 25.5 wine tours & tastings per million people, and 2.09% of the country covered by vineyards.
Perhaps the most famous wine region is the Douro Valley, located in the north of the country, with others including the Dão, Alentejo, and Vinho Verde regions.
2. Moldova - 8.16 out of 10
Though it may not be the first country that springs to mind when considering wine tourism, the Eastern European country of Moldova is a hidden gem with a rich winemaking history that stretches back over 5,000 years.
Moldova’s vineyards cover 122 kilo hectares, which works out as 3.6% of this small country’s area, more than any other on this list.
The Codru region, located in the central part of the country, is one of Moldova’s most important and historically significant wine-producing areas.
There are also 21 wine tours and tastings per million people, taking in the country’s extensive network of underground wine cellars, the most famous of which is the Mileștii Mici.
3. Italy - 7.86 out of 10
Italy is known as the birthplace of some of the world's most celebrated wines, with a vinicultural history spanning thousands of years, back to ancient civilizations.
The country has the largest wine production in our ranking, with 84 liters produced per person, and also has 2.38% vineyard coverage.
Wine is produced in every region of Italy, each having its own flavor, but Tuscany is perhaps the most celebrated.
The biggest wine consumers per capita
Portugal - 58 liters per capita
Portugal consumes 600 million liters of wine a year, which is less than nations such as France and Italy overall, but the most when measured per person. Wine is an integral part of Portuguese culture, with a long history of winemaking that stretches back thousands of years.
The biggest wine producer per capita
Italy - 84 liters per person
In terms of actually making wine, Italy leads the way, with 84 liters produced per person each year. It’s also the biggest producer overall, with just under five billion liters being produced in Italy annually.
The country with the most vineyards
Moldova - 3.6% of surface area
While 122 kilo hectares of vineyards lags behind bigger countries, Moldova’s small size means that it has the highest percentage of its surface area covered by vineyards, at 3.6%. Although the majority of these are used for commercial production, many are located around houses in villages for homemade wine.
The country with the most wine tours & tastings per capita
Georgia - 56.9 per million people
Georgia is the birthplace of wine, with winemaking techniques stretching back over 8,000 years. Its rich history has made it a popular destination for those seeking out wine tours and tastings, with 56.9 per million people.
The cheapest country for wine
Argentina - $3.00 / €2.78 / £2.42 per bottle
In terms of the cost of buying a bottle of wine, Argentina is the most affordable, with the average cost of a bottle standing at just $3. Local wines are likely to be cheaper here due to lower transportation and import costs, although prices will fluctuate depending on the type of wine and where you’re buying it.
The world’s biggest wine exporters
1. Italy - 21.9 million hectoliters
The country that sends the most wine around the world overall is Italy, with 21.9 million hectoliters. The country produces some of the world’s most well-loved wine varieties, such as Chianti, Barolo, Brunello, Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, and the Super Tuscan wines.
Wine is often seen as being an integral part of Italian lifestyle and culture, which enhances its appeal and demand around the world.
Italian wine is exported right around the world, but some of the main export markets have traditionally been the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.
2. Spain - 21.2 million hectoliters
Not too far behind Italy is Spain, which produces around 21.2 million hectoliters of wine a year. As one of the world’s biggest producers of wine, it makes sense that Spain ships so much around the world, with several different varieties.
Spanish wines are renowned for their distinct flavors and regional character, with notable wine regions including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Catalonia, and Andalusia.
Spain’s major cities, such as the capital, Madrid, known for its Malvar and Albillo grape varieties, are also known for their wine. For example, Valencia is famous for producing cava, a crucial ingredient in Agua de Valencia, along with orange juice, vodka, and gin.
3. France - 14 million hectoliters
In third place is France, another country known for its winemaking and considered one of the most influential and prestigious wine-producing countries in the world.
French wines have consistently been regarded among the best in the world, hailing from regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace, Rhône Valley, Loire Valley, and Provence.
Bordeaux is especially renowned for its wine, particularly its red blends featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Each country was ranked on the following factors, giving each country a normalized score out of ten for each factor, before taking an average of these scores.
For any countries that were missing data for certain factors, the remaining factors were used to calculate the overall score.
- Wine consumption
- Wine production
- Size of vineyards
Each of the above was sourced from the OIV’s State of the World Vine and Wine Sector report. The majority of the data was sourced from the 2022 version of the report, with the consumption for Greece and Chile and the vineyard size for Georgia, New Zealand, and Austria sourced from the most recent versions for which data was available.
Wine consumption and production were converted from millions of hectoliters to liters and calculated per person using World Bank population data.
The size of vineyards was calculated as a percentage of the country’s total surface area, after converting World Bank surface area data to kilohectares.
Wine tours & tastings
The number of wine tours and tastings was sourced from Trustpilot and calculated per million people.
The average bottle of wine cost
The average cost of a mid-range bottle of wine was taken from Numbeo. Data and currency conversions are correct as of May 24th, 2023.
The volume of exports
The volume of exports was also sourced from the OIV’s State of the World Vine and Wine Sector report.