Vineyard tours worth traveling for
Wine and travel make the perfect blend at these beautiful resorts.
Where vineyards flourish, wine tourism follows. And stylish vineyard-based resorts aren’t only to be found in heavyweight wine regions like Napa or Bordeaux. In lesser-known wine-producing areas all around the world, stylish resorts are ensuring oenophiles can eat, drink and sleep amid the vines. Take a trip to the heart of the terroir at these alluring wine resorts.
Entre Cielos: Mendoza, Argentina
Located in the Andean foothills in Argentina’s popular Mendoza wine-producing region, this luxurious resort is all about the vines. A sleek and modern concrete building, Entre Cielos is set in its own boutique vineyard. There are six distinct room and suite styles – each of which is named after a wine classification: the Young, the Classic, the Reserva, the Gran Reserva, the Gran Cru and the Limited Edition – a unique cocoon-style loft that stands on stilts, letting guests sleep among the lush vines.
Wine is at the fore of everything here, and malbec is the region’s most famous export. Guests are welcomed to Entre Cielos with a glass of their proprietary malbec rose, and can attend a free weekly wine tasting with the hotel sommelier. The winemaker, Hubert Weber, also makes frequent appearances to discuss wine production with guests. Entre Cielos is adjacent to Bodegas Nieto Senetiner winery, and is only about a 10-minute drive from French-run Alta Vista and the boutique Clos de Chacras. Other lauded wine regions within reach include Agrelo and the Uco Valley, where you’ll find world-renowned wineries including Salentein and Clos de los Siete.
The Inn at Glenora: Finger Lakes, New York
New York’s own wine-growing backyard is slowly but surely developing a reputation for stellar wine tourism. There are five lakes in the region – one for each finger – but the wine production centers on Keuka and Seneca Lakes. At the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, each room features a private lake-facing deck or patio with an eyeful of vines.
From Glenora, you’ll be well placed to explore the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. But you don’t have to leave the resort for wine activities as there are tastings and tours on-site. Riesling and gewürztraminer are the region’s most famous exports, but there are some surprising alternative pours. Glenora is one of just a few wineries in the region that produce pinot blancs. During the Pinot Blanc Trilogy experience at Glenora, guests can sample three pinot blancs, each of which have been fermented in a different way: one in a stainless steel tank, another in oak barrels and another in the innovative concrete egg tank. “This project was extra rewarding to work on,” said Steve DiFrancesco, the winemaker at Glenora. “This unique tasting experience offers an opportunity for our guests to see how much of an impact the fermentation vessel makes on the wine, especially the concrete egg tank, which is something so new to the Finger Lakes.”
Bayit Bagalil: Galilee, Israel
Bayit Bagalil is a 34-suite Mediterranean-style stone chateau with breathtaking views. (Photo: Bayit Bagalil/Facebook)
Wine lovers are catching on to the drinkable delights of Galilee's vine-covered hills. It’s a pastoral paradise, and its sloping vineyards and pine forests are a ringer for the Tuscan hills. Bayit Bagalil is a 34-suite Mediterranean-style stone chateau situated in an enviable natural setting amid eight acres of forest in Galilee wine country. Though the hotel doesn’t have a winery of its own, vineyards and tasting rooms are easy to come by, with the award-winning family-run Adir winery and the Dalton winery just a few doors down. Tours and tastings at both can be arranged at the hotel. When you return to your lodgings at Bayit Bagalil, there are even more regional pours to sample at the bar, where the wine list reads like a who’s who of the best local producers. A restaurant with views of the grounds, an outdoor pool and an upscale spa with Ayurvedic and other wellness treatments round out the offerings.
Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa: Okanagan Valley, Canada
When brainstorming destinations for a wine getaway, Canada isn’t the first country to come to mind. Most wine tourists tend to log trips to the West Coast, Europe or even South America before thinking about the U.S.’s northerly neighbor. Yet about a four-hour drive inland from Vancouver, just north of the U.S. border, lies the Okanagan Valley, where viticulture is flourishing. With mountains, expansive lakes and well-tended vineyards, its natural beauty is certainly pleasing, but the high-quality wines are the bigger reward. Staying at Spirit Ridge puts you right at the source of the region’s surprisingly varied whites and reds. Enjoy poolside views of the surrounding vineyards or visit the Aboriginal owned and operated Nk’Mip Cellars Winery, which is located within the resort.
Takatu Lodge and Vineyard: Matakana, New Zealand
In New Zealand’s Matakana wine region, just an hour’s drive north of Auckland, it’s all about the good life. With its vine-studded hills, white sand beaches and a commitment to slow and sustainable lifestyle, Matakana is a favorite weekend destination for urbanites, and several chic accommodations have sprung up to cater to the incoming Aucklanders. The five-star Takatu Lodge has a working vineyard attached and vistas that encompass both the laden vines and the Pacific Ocean. Rooms include floor-to-ceiling windows that optimize the incredible natural surroundings. Take a walk through the vines, and there’s a good chance you might bump into the grower, who can tell you more about the grapes and growing practices, while long-stay guests may even get the opportunity to taste their signature pours over a chat with the winemaker.
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