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Unusual wine holidays: forget France and raise a glass in Slovenia or Sweden

We all know about Champagne and Chianti, but what about Kefalonia and Khao Yai? There are plenty of lesser-known places in which to enjoy a tipple

Anna Rhodes
Wednesday 14 September 2016 18:32 BST
Vines line the slopes outside the Slovenian town of Jeruzalem
Vines line the slopes outside the Slovenian town of Jeruzalem (Marco Copo/

Khao Yai National Park, Thailand

Thailand’s not known for its wine; you’re much more likely to think of beer when you think of this South-east Asian nation. But at Khao Yai National Park, around two hours by road from Bangkok, you’ll find a cluster of wineries, producing an array of reds and whites.

The locally run Thailand Wine Tours ( take visitors on a tour of the national park where they can spot the huge white Buddha statue on a hilltop, as well as visiting two wineries. Prices start from 7,850 baht (£169) for two people including transport from Bangkok, lunch, wine and English speaking guides.

The vines at Khao Yai
The vines at Khao Yai (Shutterstock) has a week in Bangkok from £377pp including flights and two-star room-only accommodation.

Kefalonia, Greece

The Ionian island of Kefalonia, off the west coast of mainland Greece, has a beautiful landscapes and exceptional wines – some of which can’t be exported, so a trip here is the only way you’ll get to taste them.

The Robola Wine Cooperative, in the Omala valley, is around an hour from all of the main resorts, and half an hour from the capital, Argostoli.

Thomson ( offers packages to Kefalonia from £534pp in October including flights and self-catering accommodation in Skala, and for an additional €45pp you can book a day trip to Argostoli and the Robola vineyards, where you can try a selection of whites, reds, and a very strong dessert wine – which I would describe as half way between a port and a sherry. In addition to the wine, the views of the valley are worth the visit alone.

Enjoy your wine with a view in Kefalonia
Enjoy your wine with a view in Kefalonia (Anna Rhodes)

Jeruzalem, Slovenia

Ljubljana markets itself as a "City of Vine and Wine"; this despite there being no vineyards in or around the city. But if you’re not satisfied with the Slovenian capital’s numerous wineries, take a two-hour trip to the north-eastern village of Jeruzalem. It’s renowned for its white wines and great views, which can be experienced in tandem on a walking wine tour.

The Ljubljana tourist board runs a Wine Routes of Jeruzalem tour ( in which you’ll visit Prlekija, a Slovenian region known for its wine, food and thermal springs, before heading to the wine hills of Jeruzalem.

Jeruzalem's vineyards
Jeruzalem's vineyards (Marco Copo/

The tour costs €102 including wine tasting, lunch and transfers. The tour is available from the beginning of March – 30 October.

Expedia ( offers four nights in Ljubljana from £220pp including flights.

Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii conjures imagery of fresh fruit, bright cocktails and exotic flavours, yet you’ll also find wine produced here. Island Mana Wines (, in Honolulu’s beachside Waikiki neighbourhood, on the isle of Oahu, is a wine tasting experience with a difference. The tipples here are not made with grapes, but instead include varieties produced from guava, mango, passion fruit and pineapple– all sourced from organic fruit native to the island. Reservations must be made in advance; entry is free, you just pay for the wine you drink.

Sip tropical fruit wine in Waikiki
Sip tropical fruit wine in Waikiki (HTA/Tor Johnson)

Virgin Holidays ( offers a week in Waikiki from £1470pp in October, including flights and room-only accommodation.

Skane, Sweden

Skane, the region known for producing Absolut vodka, started to make a name for itself in the wine world during the 1990s. The main grapes of the region are solaris and rondo, which produce fruity whites and full-bodied reds. The Hallakra Vingard (, however, is renowned for its pinor noir. Groups of eight or more can book tours and tastings on request all year round (it’s open to the general public over the summer); prices available on request.

Hallakra Vingard
Hallakra Vingard (Miriam Preis/

The vineyard is half an hour from the city of Malmo, or around an hour from Copenhagen – across the bridge in Denmark. easyJet Holidays ( has three nights in Copenhagen from £290pp including flights and hotel, room only.

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