10 of the best wine stays around the world
Wine tourism is growing in popularity across the globe, particularly as travel becomes possible once again. For those eager to escape the office for some far-flung vineyard, here are 10 destinations to stay from all four corners of the wine world.
The number of experiences this 47 room hotel offers is staggering: horse riding, hot air ballooning, river trips, fighter jet flights (yes, really) and pilates, to name a few. But, let’s be honest – if you’re in Champagne, it’s for one reason in particular. Chauffeur-driven tours of the region, with plenty of opportunities to taste the world’s most famous sparkling wines, are available. One package, tied in with Champagne Philipponnat’s 500th anniversary this year, includes a bottle on arrival, breakfast at La Bellevue restaurant, dinner at Le Royal Gastronomic Restaurant and a visit to Philipponnat’s Clos de Goisses vineyard. If you would rather just enjoy the room, the phones have a ‘Champagne, please’ room service button too. Rooms start around the €600 per night mark.
Tuscany has no shortage of farmhouses offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the rustic idyll of rolling hills and cypress trees, with plenty of red wine for good measure. However, not many of these have a footballing connection. Luciano Spalletti, manager of Serie A stalwarts Napoli, has worked for some of the big teams across Italy, but he keeps returning to the 50 hectare estate near Montaione. If living like a king is slightly too grandiose for you, then living as a football manager could be the next best thing. The estate has three houses available for rent, tennis courts, a pool, animals (including an ostrich) and, of course, a winery. The wine itself might not be a title contender, but the atmosphere makes up for it.
A pioneer of Port tourism, Quinta Nova offers both accommodation and experiences for those wishing to immerse themselves (not literally) in sticky. 11 rooms are available, with views over the terraced vineyards which have changed remarkably little since the 18th century. Prices range from €210 to €265 for rooms, but all come with air conditioning, a sweet relief for escaping the skin-ripening temperatures of the valley. As for experiences, there’s the usual tasting options, but also the chance to follow the harvest from the vineyards to the winery, with some manual labour thrown in for good measure, and the opportunity to be winemaker for a day where you will learn how to blend like a pro (both €250 each).
There’s more to visiting Austria than skiing holidays and schnitzel, not to knock either – the country is also a delight for wine fans. Weingut Hagn offers a plethora of packages that range from active to outrageously leisurely. ‘Wine.Hiking’ provides an opportunity to get in touch with nature (and a four-course tasting menu) for €368 for two, there’s also ‘Gourmet Days’ and, this slovenly writer’s personal preference, ‘Wine.Wellness’, which involves a day at the thermal spa and a tasting in the ‘Wine Gallery’. Given that the Hagn family has been growing wine for over 300 years, it might be assumed that they’re well-practiced when it comes to making a decent drop too.
California knows how to party, as Tupac Sahkur put it. The USA’s most populous state also knows that great wine and sunshine make for a successful blend for tourists – indeed, Napa valley is arguably the cradle of wine tourism. Senza, owned by Kathryn and Craig Hall, is technically separate from their Hall Wines winery in St. Helena, but it is within walking distance. The hotel itself is also not short of offerings for winos, an ample selection of Californian bottles. There’s also a pool, spa and hot tub, so lovers of relaxation won’t have to go without.
O Canada! We might not instantly associate the ‘Great White North’ with viticulture, but Canada is an emerging player in the wine world, with Okanagan Valley as its biggest wine region. There’s the Log Home, for those who want a luxury spin on life in the North American wilderness, and The Vines, a pristine cottage with panoramic views of 40 hectares of vines and Lake Okanagan. It’s certainly not cheap, at US$1,500 a night for The Vines in summer and US$3,000 for the Log Home (or US$660-780 for a suite), but it’s a worthy setting for any oenophile’s escape.
Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle, as her middle name suggests, has family in the Cognac business. However, it was on a visit to Chile that she decided to embark on the path of viticulture in South America. The wines from Clos Apalta have been lauded, with db editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW referring to them as a “high point” of Chilean fine wine. The accommodation at the estate is also a high end offering. With views of the vineyards and the mountains, the property is actually the Marnier Lapostolle private residence, giving visitors a “uniquely personal experience”, according to president and CEO Charles de Bournet Marnier Lapostolle. There’s also a restaurant and state of the art tasting room housed within for good measure.
Australia’s probably a bit far for most couples seeking a romantic weekend away, but if you happen to be near Adelaide you can’t go far wrong with a stay for two in a quaint cottage. Seppeltsfield Winery has plans for a colossal, 12 storey, 70 room hotel, but this is a bit more low key. Set in the Seize the Day Shiraz vineyard, the accommodation is self-contained, but next door to Hentley Farm restaurant and cellar door. Use it as a base to explore Barossa by bike, or just enjoy a few glasses of locally produced wine.
A glass of wine on arrival and a full English breakfast the following morning is a recipe for happiness wherever you are in the world, but it’s that much better when it’s at one of South Africa’s oldest wineries. Spier Wine Farm recently joined the Freixenet Copestick portfolio, coinciding with its 330th anniversary. But the hotel is very much a place of pleasure, not business, for guests, with ample opportunity to paddle in one of the six pools before wining and dining the night away. It also offers a ‘Family Getaway Package’, with a kid’s clubhouse to keep those too young to enjoy the winery occupied.
Sometimes there really is no place quite like home, or at least your home country. With Google searches for UK vineyard stays on the rise, you will have to be fairly quick off the mark to book your room at one of England’s most respected producers. The Flint Barns offer a relaxed staycation spot by the Sussex coast. Guests staying there will have access to the Flint Barns Dining Room for breakfast every day, and the restaurant opens to the public in the evening from Wednesday to Saturday, where head chef Chris Bailey and his team preparing comforting dishes, best served with a glass of Sussex Sparkling. With room prices starting at £100, it’s certainly on the more reasonable end of the spectrum than some other entries on this list.
There is no shortage of wine-related places to stay. Indeed, Airbnb launched a new ‘vineyard’ category earlier this year as demand for winery stays soars.