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5 Wine-Tasting Regions Where Kids Are Welcome

Photograph by Twenty20

When traveling with family, wine regions shouldn't be so quickly ruled out. These are some of the most beautiful places on the planet, surrounded with great cultural, outdoor and adventure opportunities. Not to mention there's fabulous food and wine.

But not all wine regions were created equally. If you can't ditch the kids, put any of these regions on your list and let the little ones tag along.

1. Bordeaux

France's most famous wine region is changing its tune on visits and families at vineyards. Many are now eager to open their grounds for tastings and exploration. Just this month, Laurent Fabius, France's foreign affairs minister, announced an investment fund that would help build tourist facilities and bring travelers to classic wine regions like Bordeaux. At the fairytale setting of Chateau de Cérons, about 20 miles outside the city of Bordeaux and accessed easily by train, the family-run, sweet white vineyard welcomes guests to the historic property with a picnic and tasting under the magnolia trees. Children can play nearby and run in the sunshine.

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2. Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is a mecca for pinot noir lovers. While tasting at Stoller Family Estate, kids can enjoy time on the tire swing, followed by easy access to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum (which also includes a water park). Willamette Valley Vineyards also hosts a family-friendly Grape Stomp and Harvest Celebration each September, which includes a stomp and costume contest for kids.

3. Tuscany

A no-brainer for families who love history, great food and wine. Italians are notorious for their love of children and will accommodate kids of all ages with the goal of making them happy. Stay at La Foce for a villa experience in the heart of Tuscan wine country, complete with sprawling grounds, swimming pools and gardens in which to explore.

"Most important to wine-lovers is the fact that "agriturismo," the happy marriage of tourism and agriculture, started in Tuscany, so winemakers make it easy to explore the region's wines," Francesco Vigorito, of Italian Wine Merchants, said. "While Chianti stands as the region's oldest wine-producing area, other towns are close by and should be visited, like Montalcino, home to Brunello and the producers Canalicchio di Sopra and Cupano, and Montepulciano, where you'll find exciting versions of Sangiovese, or Bolgheri, the hotbed of Super Tuscan wines."

4. Okanagan Valley

Located in Westbank, Canada, just outside of the fantastic British Columbia town of Kelowna, Mission Hill Winery is the Okanagan Valley's largest and most prominent producer. A trip to their winery with kids offers dramatic views of the vineyards, which slope to Lake Okanagan. There's also stunning architecture and special events throughout the year. New this summer: Mission Hill Family Estate, which is hosting Long Table Dinners set right in the vineyard. Nearby, there is endless hiking, water sports and historic downtown in which to explore.

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5. The Loire Valley

And if an organized wine-tasting trip paired with biking is more your speed, Butterfield and Robinson hosts a Loire Valley Family Biking Trip in France. On this trip, kids take part in canoeing, swordplay, visiting castles and playing in sprawling fields of sunflowers, while the adults indulge in great food, fantastic biking and impressive wines and tastings.

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