Top 5 winter destinations for wine lovers

Cover pic. by Daniele Notaro, from the
campaign #gentesimpotica

Winter is not only a matter of Xmas, gifts and snow.
Personally I love all of the mentioned winter aspects but I’m so grateful (I really am) that winter is much more than this.
Winter is the period when the most tasty-no diet food is there ready and waiting for all of us gipsy and hungry travellers; winter is the reddish leaves under my booted feet and so it is, for sure, my new boots always made for walking.

And that is what I do.

Moreover, winter is the best period to taste the very best quality of red wines (well, not just red but it’s the one I like drinking in winter, and that’s it) and of many other variety of tasty, warm drinks all over the world.

And here we go with some destinations (European) suitable for winter, and for wine tasters and lovers.

1 – Sweden and glögg

When I went to Stockolm in the shortest days of the year (Dec. 12th – 13th), the only possibile way for a Mediterranean girl to face the winter cold and darkness was staring at the home windows enlightened with candels, walking and pit-stopping for a glass of glögg. This is a typical Xmas drink served hot and made of red wine, Rhum, sugar, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg and dried orange peel.

You can find it everywhere, even and mainly in the street, as a kind of street drink. The very best company to enjoy the Sweden winter magic!

2 – France and Vin Chaud 

Glögg is just one of the several European variations of the very ancient Conditium Paradoxum, a wintery Roman drink made up of wine, honey, pepper, laurel and saffron. Its French nephew is the famous Vin Chaud (In Italy we call it Vin Brulé… using a French word that is not used by the French people. Funny, ha?).

One of the best Vin Chaud can be tasted at the Xmas Market of Bordeaux, in Parc des Allées de Tourny. If you go to Bordeaux and love wine, you definitely can’t miss le Musée du Vin et du Négoce. It’s in the Museum web site that I find this interesting list of wine benefits:

  1. It slows down the ageing process
  2. It helps with our oral hygiene
  3. It is good for our memory
  4. It helps to fight against Alzheimers
  5. It helps to prevent cancer
  6. It aids our vision
  7. It helps to burn fat
  8. It help fights hypertension
  9. The new fuel for our hearts?
  10. A new sunscreen?

3 – Hungary and Tokay 

Hungary is famous for its wine and one of the best ways to discover its winemaking traditions is to make a trip to the wine regions, from Tokaj to Villány and many more. Several wineries in the main wine regions offer wine tastings and accommodation. Here is just one example of it. 

4 – Irish Coffee


Well, nothing to do with wine, but I can’t omit Irish Coffee in such an article, if I talk about winter drinks. It’s quite strong and suitable for people used to very strong flavours and alcohol levels. Drink made of hot coffee, whiskey, sugar and cream, it’s quite difficult to find a good one, outside Ireland.
Neary’s, in 1 Chatham St, Dublin, is one of the best places to have an Irish Coffee. Out of Dub, try the Old Jameson Distillery in Bow St, Smithfield.

If we go back to wine, and if you bump into Dublin, you can find some very good (very very good) Italian wines and super good Italian food, at Pinocchio Restaurant. You’ll write me back and thank me for this advice.

5 – Italy and… red wine

Cartolina 12x8_A

For a biographic reason, I know Italy pretty well and I’ll suggest you 4 main regions where you’ll find very good wine suitable for your winter tour.
Coming from the north, Piemonte is the very first region that you have to visit if you’re a wine fan. One of the best wineries of the region is Da Bacco, in Tourin, Via Madama Cristina.
Maybe you all know already much about Tuscany wines, so I’ll go to say something about Abruzzo, Basilicata and Puglia.
In my personal home cellar I can’t do without Montepulciano D’Abruzzo (Abruzzo), Pisani (Basilicata) and Severino Garofano (Puglia). If you come to Italy and you love good local wine, you should really consider following this 3 regions path for your tour because these 3 areas are quite different in the climate, time of harvest and wine types.
You’ll have amazing surprises.

Finally, I want to invite you in Lecce, my birth town (if you come, write me and I’ll be glad to show you around) where very good wines are produced. One of them is the one of the visual campaign that you can see above, #gentesimpotica (Simpotica is the name of the wine).
I’ve also said something about their rosé, Girofle, in my second novel. There must be a reason, don’t you think so?

If you love cocktails, I suggest you to have a fast rest at Quanto Basta, in the heart of the oldest area of the city, where good local wine is one of the ingredients for very tasty and creative cocktails.

Still waiting? Prepare your luggage!



  • sleep porn

    I really enjoy the blog article.Thanks Again.

  • Vanessa

    I love this take on winter travel! There are so many heart warming (and tummy warming!) things you can do to enjoy this season.

  • Alli

    A glass of glögg! That sure does look like our version of mulled wine here in Canada! The star anise, clove, Mmmmmmm. Red wine is my absolute favourite!

  • melody pittman

    Irish coffee, delicious, had one the other day! I’m with you, red wine is welcome any time of the year here. 😉 I just tried a delicious cocktail this weekend, both seasonal and interesting: a Pumpkin Nog, made with pumpkin vodka, butterscotch schnapps, eggnog, and cinnamon. It was served martini style and creamy deliciousness!

  • Lesley

    Great picks! I love these places any time, not just in the winter. Italy and Ireland are two of my favorite countries in the world and I’m hoping to visit Sweden this year.

  • Maria

    Wine is on my list of things I want to learn about this year, this article has given me a great starting point! I LOVE glogg as well, I lived in Copenhagen last year and it’s really similar to the Swedish version there, so tasty and comforting. I’m in Italy (Palermo) at the moment, I think I’m going to have to get my red wine cap on while here 🙂 any recommendations for this region?

    Great list of option!

    • Sabrina - In My Suitcase

      Palermo is AMAZING! One of the few places where I was able to put up weight 🙂 also as a vegetarian! I suggest you to go to Vino e Pomodoro, in Via Principe di Belmonte n. 87, perfect for lunch, dinner and happy hour. Try malvasia (good sweet wine). I’ll go and read your tips about Copenhagen. Denmark is in my list for 2016 and hope to find a cheap flight from Puglia.

  • Trisha Velarmino

    Wine lover, right here! Do you have any place to recommend where I can take Wine Master courses in Italy? Thanks for sharing!

    • Sabrina - In My Suitcase

      Hi Trisha! You can find very good mastreclass, also in short periods, in Puglia, Basilicata, Sicilia and also something very good in Milan. If you consider Puglia, with Tour and Go you can plan your needs and have your trip organized.

  • Amélie

    You forgot Quebec and Caribou! I am joking this stuff is absolutely disgusting. haha! I’m heading to Italy in a few weeks and am planning on drinking all. of. the. red. wine. 😀

    • Sabrina - In My Suitcase

      Great! Which cities are you heading to? Come to South (Puglia ans Basilicata are going to be a big surprise!). I’ve never been to Quebec (SHAME-ON-ME) but I really wish I could come within 2016 (I also have a dear friend living in Montreal!)

  • Sue @NoFixedAbodeForSue

    Oh you have made me so thirsty! Love Irish Coffee but your best was the Vin Chaud as who could resist the ten fantastic reasons why we should all consume this tasty, it made me think of mulled wine that we enjoy at Christmas.

  • Hitch-Hikers Handbook

    Great tips, Sabrina! I love mulled wine, so I’m always very happy to be in northern Europe in winter (in Estonia they make great mulled wine too!). I Poland we do make hot wine too, but we also have hot beer in winter with orange, honey, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. Not everyone likes it, but I find it a great option for beer lovers!

    • Sabrina - In My Suitcase

      Cool, I’ve never tasted hot beer but I’m a beer lover and definitely have to try it as soon as possible. Hope I’ll be able to come and visit Estonia before spring 🙂
      Thank you so much for your suggestion. Can you share here some of your post about Estonia?

  • Dana

    Some inspiration for our cold weather travels. I was in heaven with all the delicious wine in the Tuscany region. I’d move there in part for the wine 🙂 I’ve tried vin chaud in France. It’s not my favorite, but help warm you up on a cold winter evening.

  • anna

    Ahhh! Love this post. The Vin Chaud I had in a small restaurant in Avignon was to die for as well!

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