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The Thinking Traveller's monthly picks: The 5 best spots for harvest time wine holidays
by Laura Bardell-Smith
9 min read

The Thinking Traveller's monthly picks: The 5 best spots for harvest time wine holidays

The Thinking Traveller's monthly picks: The 5 best spots for harvest time wine holidays
Are you brainstorming ideas for a fabulous harvest time wine holiday on the Med? Get your creative juices flowing with our five best spots for wine-centred holidays in Sicily, Corsica and Puglia.
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Organising a luxury villa holiday around the grape harvest season in the Mediterranean allows you to enjoy the splendour of this region without the sweltering heat (or crowds) of summer. Today we will share our top five best destinations for harvest time wine holidays and the wine-centric villas that place you right in the heart of wine country in Sicily, Corsica and Puglia. Prepare to lose yourself in bewitching natural beauty and unique vintages that will invigorate your tastebuds and soul.

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Harvest time in the Mediterranean

Wine enthusiasts looking for a special time to plan their Mediterranean villa holiday should aim for the harvest season, which takes place in September and October, when the grapes become ripe and ready for fermentation. Harvesting usually starts in the early morning hours, before the sun rises and while the air is still cool. This is because winemakers don't want the grapes to begin fermenting on the vine, which could happen during the heat of the day.

By the time grapes are harvested, it's often been three long years since they were first planted. As soon as they are removed from the vines, the winemaking process kicks into high gear, creating an occasion for excitement and celebration across the region - the grape harvest is a cultural tradition in the Med, after all.

If you're wondering how best to experience harvest time in the Mediterranean, please consider our recommendations below.

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Our favourite Mediterranean harvest time wine holidays

Whether you wish to visit Sicily, Corsica or Puglia, we are delighted to share our expertise for your wine harvest holiday on the Med. We have partnered with some of the finest vintners in the region, with some of these relationships stretching back over 20 years.

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1. A Mount Etna wine tasting

Picture yourself sipping vino in one of the most exciting and innovative wine production areas in Sicily. Have we caught your attention? If so, a Mount Etna wine tasting tour is calling you this harvest season. We've partnered with two esteemed wineries on Mount Etna - Barone di Villagrande and Benanti - to provide you with a delicious and fascinating day spent discovering the history and inner workings of a Sicilian vineyard. We will organise every detail, including transportation, guided tours through the vines, educational sessions and, finally, our favourite part - the actual wine tasting itself. Savour local cheeses, bread, salami and olive oil alongside some of the finest vino you've ever sampled for a memorable wine-centred excursion.

If you are keen to enjoy a Mount Etna wine tasting, may we suggest booking Linera as your home for the length of your holiday? Situated just 32 kilometres from Mount Etna, Linera was once a noble Etnean winery, placing you in a historically significant location for the entirety of your trip. Today, it has been expertly transformed into an elegant home that is full of soul. Housing up to 10 guests, the villa has plenty of space to relax in, with lavish refurbished interiors, large terraces for evenings enjoying wine and an irresistible pool that is enveloped in lush gardens.

If just one wine tour simply won't do, we would like to suggest booking another Think Experience that allows you to discover the vineyards of Sicily. You will spend the day exploring two of the top wineries in the southeast: Planeta and the prominent biodynamic winery COS.

View our entire selection of villas in Sicily.

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2. A Menfi wine holiday

Menfi in southwest Sicily is an up-and-coming centre of excellence in the wine world that showcases picture-perfect rolling hills blanketed in endless grapevines and olive groves. Indeed, its native grape variant lends itself to over 17 different wines. We highly recommend entrusting your tastebuds to our partner winery Planeta, which has two tasting rooms in the area: Dispensa, situated just outside Menfi itself, and Ulmo, near Sambuca di Sicilia. We are proud to offer fully curated in-villa wine delivery services and private tours and tastings at Planeta's cantine - a truly unbeatable way to immerse yourself in the rich viticultural traditions of the area. 

A wine-centred holiday in Menfi is not complete without a stellar villa to retreat to after a long day of sniffing, swirling and sipping. We suggest booking Angheli as your home away from home when holidaying on Sicily's southwest coast. Angheli majestically perches over the Belice Nature Reserve and the endless sparkling sea beyond. Expertly melding sophistication and comfort, it houses up to 12 guests within its sprawling interiors. Lovers of the outdoors will especially appreciate the expansive terraces, walled courtyard gardens and heatable infinity pool on the villa's grounds.

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3. Wine tasting in Corsica

Autumn in Corsica is an exceptional opportunity to witness romantic hills and villages against the warm colours of the changing leaves. If you plan to visit this region during harvest time, you will be overcome with opportunities to taste magnificent wine. Sipping on a glass of chilled vino made just around the corner perfectly embodies the fundamental nature of joie de vivre and is the most gratifying way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Why not organise an in-villa chef to prepare a magnificent Corsican meal to accompany your in-villa wine delivery and experience Corsica like a local gourmand?

We recommend adding the lovely town of Sartène to your harvest time holiday itinerary. Rising majestically from the granite hillside from which it perches, Sartène is a wine lover's fantasy. The surrounding countryside is brimming with over 2,500 hectares of vineyards that produce excellent appellation AOC vintages. When you are not sipping on a local wine, you can spend your time navigating the mysterious flights of steps, arcane alleyways and secret passages of this picturesque town - there’s no better way to immerse yourself in its medieval roots.

One of the best bases for wine lovers on holiday in Corsica is A Torra, located on the beach-flanked southern promontory of the coast. Housing up to eight guests, A Torra features lovely expansive gardens that beg to be enjoyed with a refreshing glass of locally produced wine in hand. A garden gate leads you directly to a quiet sandy beach with clear waters, inviting you to enjoy the best of what the al fresco life has to offer, right in the centre of one of the Mediterranean's most fascinating wine regions.

View our entire selection of villas in Corsica.

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4. A Puglian wine holiday in the Salento

Puglia is experiencing something of a wine renaissance, and our partner winery Tormaresca is leading the charge. Tormaresca’s wines are comprised of grapes from three meticulously managed estates, two of which are located in the Salento region of Puglia:

  • Carrubo Estate,

    in Manduria. For those interested in visiting this estate, we recommend staying at

    Masseria Belvedere

    , which is just 50 minutes from the city by car.

  • Masseria Maime,

    near Upper Salento. You can discover our

    villas in Salento here

    .

Together, these boutique estates harvest only the finest indigenous grape varieties, all of which are sure to thrill and impress even the most discerning wine enthusiasts. We also provide fully curated wine tours of some of the region’s most renowned producers, including Duca Carlo Guarini.

If you wish to experience the many wine-centric activities in the Salento area, we recommend considering Masseria Canali for your Puglian holiday home base. Located near Tormaresca's Masseria Maime estate, the villa is a beautifully restored original masseria offering enchanting gardens, luminous living areas, a fabulous pool and a bounty of space to be explored. Seven spacious bedrooms comfortably sleep up to 16 guests, making this villa an excellent option for large groups of wine lovers. The shady outdoor lounge area serves as a lovely setting to be delighted by the best Puglian wines, many of which are available through our in-villa wine delivery service.

View our entire selection of villas in the Salento.

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4. Wine holidays in Puglia: the Valle d'Itria

Further north of the Salento region, the Valle d'Itria is an idyllic rural area strewn with rich olive groves and many a vineyard for those who want to experience the harvest season. The region is rediscovering traditional grapes such as Susumaniello, Maresco and Minutolo, which are rarely used by commercial wineries but which largely define the heritage of Puglia's wine-making traditions.

The Valle d'Itria’s expanding wine scene has something for all tastes. We'd recommend the following tours to make the most of what this charming region has to offer:

  • Valle d'Itria wine tour

    . This

    experience

    will take you around two renowned wineries, including the picturesque Masseria Croce Piccola and Cardone winery in Locorotondo, where you will see cone-topped

    trulli

    , pretty winding streets and wonderful views of the countryside.

  • Wine pairing dinner at Masseria Croce Piccola

    . The

    masseria

    offers an exclusive meal and wine pairing experience, where a private chef will cook a three-course dinner with fresh ingredients, including the

    masseria

    's own grains and herbs from its woodland.

  • Puglia vineyard tour

    . This day trip offers a guided visit of

    three Puglian wineries

    , where you'll be able to enjoy lunch and wine tasting at Masseria Altemura in Salento.

For your villa stay, we'd recommend Trullo  Rosmarino in Martina Franca, providing an easy route to the neighbouring town of Locorotondo. This charming, lovingly restored trullo has beautiful gardens and an outdoor dining area - perfect for a relaxed evening with one of the region's fine wines.

View our entire selection of villas in the Valle d'Itria here.

Cultivate the best of the harvest season in style

When you book a luxury villa in the heart of wine country, experiencing the majesty of the autumn harvest season is as effortless as sipping a full-bodied red wine on your private terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. If you're excited to witness the grape harvest this year, please reach out to our team of Villa Specialists to begin curating a wine-centric holiday that is sure to suit your tastes.