Whether you know your Pinotage from your Pinot Noir, or not, vineyards can be beautiful places to visit (many even offer spas) and what better place to learn about wine than on a vineyard?
It’s the perfect excuse to get out in nature and explore. It’s also the perfect excuse to go on a vacation or weekend away… And even if we haven’t mentioned a vineyard near you, there’s sure to be one. There are even vineyards in Oregon, like the Youngberg Hill Vineyard!
1. Marques de Riscal, Alava, Spain
Vineyards sound sort of rustic, don’t they? Old traditions of winemaking passed from one generation to the next, all centered around the same vineyard. Only some vineyards have been modernized.
Marques de Riscal in Alava, Spain, is one such vineyard. And it had a makeover by Frank Gehry, which is rather impressive! It is what can only be described as a modern statement.
Sit in the rooftop lounge, looking out over the medieval architecture of the nearby El Ciego village and marvel at the contrast.
2. L’And Vineyards, Alentejo, Portugal
Whilst on the topic of modern vineyards, L’And Vineyards in Alentejo, Portugal, is worth mentioning too. And not just because it’s modern, but because if you rent some of the fancier suites you can press a button so the roof pulls back to show you the stars. Wine lovers who love stargazing should take note!
3. Waterkloof, Western Cape, South Africa
This vineyard hosts a “cellar in the sky” where you can sit sipping wine looking at, well, the sky. Or the coastline. A stunning testament to modern architecture and equally stunning wine to go with it.
4. Bodega O´Fournier
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ve started with the modern vineyards. Amongst them you also find Bodega O´Fournier, in La Consulta (Uco Valley), Mendoza, Argentina. With a splendid backdrop of mountains it’s a sight you’ll remember for life. If you ever needed an excuse to go to Argentina beyond the tango, this could be it.
5. Bodegas Ysios, La Rioja, Spain
Bodegas Ysios was designed by Santiago Calatrava as a place to worship wine. And it does indeed look a bit like a modern church. You can, however, not stay the night here, but if you happen to be in the neighborhood, then it’s worth heading here to see the building.
6. Chateau du Petit Musigny, Burgundy, France
Originally inhabited by Cisterian monks this chateau is French splendor come alive. Especially the 18th century kind. Fireplaces, little boudoirs, and a park surrounding the whole estate. Beautiful. Of course you also have a wine cellar to explore.
7. Castello di Vicarello, Tuscany, Italy
If you want a Turkish bath in a vineyard in Italy, then Castello di Vicarello in Tuscany is the place to go. Here you will find what made Tuscany famous – the wine, the rolling hills, the home cooked food… You might just fall in love.
8. Holden Manz Country House, Franschhoek, South Africa
Holden Manz Country House is as traditional as they come in South Africa, sporting the Dutch style that’s so easily recognizable amongst old vineyards. The estate covers a winery, 22 hectares of vineyards and you also find a spa and a restaurant on the property.
Here’s a tip though: if you fancy staying amongst vineyards (literally situated on the land of a wine farm), but don’t care that the actual place you're staying in isn’t a wine farm, then you can book a room at La Residence – it’s probably the most colorful, indulgent hotel you’ll find in Franschhoek. It has a quirky, yet elegant vibe that’s sure to swipe you off your feet!
9. Clos Apalta Winery and Lodge, Santa Cruz, Chile
Stunning panoramic views looking out over the vineyard are offered at Clos Apalta Winery and Lodge in Santa Cruz, Chile. Each lodge, or casita, comes with a hot tub and fireplace.
An organic vineyard, you can explore it on horseback, or by walking around for hours on end. Or why not just attend the yoga classes in the morning, chill with spa treatments during the day, read Isabel Allende books during the afternoon and drink wine at night? Ah and remember to try dulche de leche whilst in Chile too if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Something that a certain Isabel Allende first turned me on to.
10. The Yeatman Hotel & Wine Spa in Porto, Portugal
This isn’t strictly a vineyard, but they do offer 25,000 bottles of wine in their cellar…so it comes close, right?! Save that they aren’t making any wine that is. If you are looking for a wine experience in a city, but next to lavender fields and vineyards, this is a good bet. There’s also a wine spa…
11. Black Barn Vineyards, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Black Barn Vineyards in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, offers sixteen unique properties to choose from to rent. Basically, your own house in the vineyard. You’re also close to 150 other vineyards. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re going in a group and want to share a house, or you want to splash out on a luxury vacation with your partner.
There are SO many vineyards around the world that are out of this world amazing. South Africa, France, Italy, Spain, Chile, California – there are a ton of vineyards to explore in each one of these places alone.
Not all offer over night accommodation, but a lot do, so it’s easy to go for a weekend away if you stay close to home. There are vineyards in unexpected places too, like England, so you’ll be sure to find one near you, unless you live somewhere where it’s winter for most of the year. Which gives you a valid excuse to travel a bit further afield anyway! Wine + Vacation = Happiness.