Tasting the wine from the local vineyard provides an extra dimension to your enjoyment of the locality, an extra slice of understanding of where you are spending your holiday.
Campsite owners and vineyard owners share a passion for their land, so if you’re staying in a wine region, you won’t have to go far to enjoy a tasting. Here are nine campsites with great vineyards just a sip and a swirl away!
Why camping & wine
Whether your travels take you to traditional wine producing regions like France, Spain or Italy, or more esoteric and less obvious places like Scandinavia, the impressive scenery and tasty vinous treats are simple yet rewarding pleasures.
Vast swathes of neatly planted vines dominate the landscape, punctuated by small villages, bodegas or châteaux. Settling down on your first night with a sample of the latest vintage is the perfect way to begin your visit.
Many campsite owners have personal connections to wine production and regional wines are often served in the campsite restaurant. A tasting at the local vineyard is always a pleasant day out, and usually within walking or cycling distance of your campsite, meaning you can fully appreciate what the producers have to offer.
Indeed, campers at Château de Montrouant (FR71060) in Burgundy will find the owner happy to deliver tutored wine tastings at his own organic vineyard, which he has been carefully tending for over a decade. Gamay, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are grown, and he arranges wine-related excursions too.
Saint-Émillion at sunset
Keen wine tasters will never be far from a tasty tipple in perhaps the most famous viticultural region in the world – Bordeaux. Home to some of the most prestigious wineries (think Château Mouton-Rothschild, Château Haut-Brion and Château Léoville-Barton) the district is celebrated for its rich, velvety reds, although the crisp fresh whites and exquisite dessert wines are not to be overlooked.
A walk through the vineyards affords some excellent views, both of the surrounding landscape and the grand châteaux, while the town of Bordeaux itself offers impressive churches and bridges, as well as some great market shopping. More athletically inclined visitors can combine their trip with the Médoc marathon, held in early September. The route takes runners through the renowned vineyards, where they can keep their spirits up with a taste of the local wines as they go.
Yelloh! Village St Emilion (FR33080 – formerly La Barbanne) is situated just 2.5km for the famous town of St Emilion, perfect for leisurely strolls through the vineyards up to the town centre. Taste some of the ‘Grand Cru’ wines and take the time to unwind in this peaceful setting.
Located directly east of Bordeaux, the Bergerac region has been producing wine since Gallo-Roman times. The mild climate and fertile lands around the River Dordogne provide not only a peaceful landscape of green meadows, orchards and woodlands that make for idyllic walks, they are also the source of a diverse range of soils that accommodate a number of varietals including cabinet sauvignon, merlot, semillon and sauvignon blanc.
Perhaps the most recognised wines of Bergerac are those of the Monbazillac appellation. Some of France’s most delicious sweet wines are produced here from hand-picked grapes to ensure the highest quality.
Camping Village le Moulin Surier (FR24950) in the heart of the region is a great base for local trips. Bergerac is just a short distance from the site, and a visit to nearby Château Montbazillac is rewarded with a complementary wine tasting.
Château de Chenonceau
As well-known for its wine as it is for its châteaux, the Loire is an excellent place to enjoy stunning architecture, sultry sun and a glass of one of the region’s refreshing, dry whites. The lazy flow of the Loire river from the hills of the Auvergne to the Atlantic ocean sets the pace for a relaxing stay and a wander around the historic towns and their châteaux. Some of the most popular wines of the area include Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, and reds are often spicy and tannic, fully meriting a taste if the opportunity arises.
Camping l’Isle Verte (FR49090) just outside Saumur is something of a gem for wine buffs. The owner, Clément, runs a small but perfectly formed riverside campsite with superb restaurant and a range of excellent local wines. Well connected with all things winey, he can advise on local tastings in the nearby cellars, as well as visits to local vineyards.
It’s almost impossible to think of Spanish wine without thinking of Rioja. With a history of winemaking that spans almost 1,000 years, the region is most famous for its reds and rosés, although there are some expressive whites to be found. There’s nothing better than drinking a wine while looking out at the landscape where it’s produced.
Rioja’s mountain ranges, rivers, and the vineyards themselves, offer some superb scenery to complement the elegance of the region’s wines. Visitors staying near Haro at the end of June might find themselves taking part in the town’s wine festival, which culminates before noon in a ‘battle of wine’, where locals throw wine on each other until they are drenched from head to toe.
Camping de Haro (ES90400) provides a good spot for wine enthusiasts, whether you choose to take part in the festival or not. The site is ideally situated for visiting the bodegas and is open almost all year round.
One of Tuscany’s greatest treasures, and not just because of its wine, Chianti is a region of gently undulating hills, stone villages and leafy vineyards. Lying between Siena in the south and Florence in the north, it is a place of culture, tradition and fine cuisine with an easy way of life that provides the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind from the pressures of the daily rat race.
Booking onto one of the region’s wine trails will give you some insight into the wine-making process as well as a chance to discover the produce first-hand. Offering panoramic views of the Chianti hills, Camping Colleverde (IT66245) is ideally located for such trips as well as visits to Siena. To earn the name Chianti, the local wines must be produced using at least 70% Sangiovese grapes, which give them their black and red cherry notes. Enjoy a glass with a wild duck dish or roast beef in Madeira sauce.
Don’t ignore the vineyards of England’s green and pleasant land. The Hush Heath Estate vineyard (member of the Wine Gardens of England) is tucked away in rural Kent, its 400 acres producing award winning wine exported across the globe. Nearby Tanner Farm (UK3030) campsite provides a perfect base from which to explore the vineyard, with a tour, a tasting and perhaps some lunch.
The world’s most northerly vineyard
Yes, it’s in Norway, about 2 hours drive south west of Oslo. Lerkekasa Vineyard produces award winning wines and is believed to be the world’s most northerly commercial winery, producing 1,500 litres a year. The campsite Norsjø Ferieland (NO2585) in Telemark is not far away, and is attractive in a waterside setting – perfect for sipping a glass of the local red as the sun goes down.