This post was originally published on sothebysrealty.com.
Wine travel has exploded in popularity over the past decade. The classic, old guard wine regions have seen their offerings expand as crowds have descended from around the globe, and new world growers have been stepping up their game.
Fortunately for wine enthusiasts, there’s an ever-growing assortment of notable winery accommodations. Some of these are traditional chateaus and estates with active vineyards, while others are world-class wineries offering secluded, highly romantic units hidden away in between rows of heritage vines.
In the charming Central Coast city of Paso Robles, Justin Winery—famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon—delights fans with the cheekily named JUST Inn. Surrounded by vineyards, the suites offer luxurious appointments (fireplaces, Frette linens), and an overnight stay includes extras such as a tour of the winery and caves. Celebratory groups opt for The Chateau, a palatial, four-bedroom mansion with a rare art collection and panoramic views over the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Serious music enthusiasts flock to Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District to visit Cliff Lede Vineyards, where the namesake owner has named each vineyard block after some of his favorite rock songs and albums—from My Generation to Dark Side of the Moon—creating the vineyards’ famous “rock blocks.” The stunning property merges a classic rock edge with fine wine, art, architecture, and nature. Completing the experience is the five-room Poetry Inn, a private villa that’s perched above the Silverado Trail. Each room features sweeping valley views and a wood-burning fireplace.
Standing in contrast on the other side of Paso Robles is CASS Winery and its Geneseo Inn, where eight boutique units built out of shipping crates offer panoramic views of 145 acres of vines, ancient oaks, and rolling hills. Chef gardens are situated around the perimeter and guests can choose from an array of agriculturally based classes and outdoor adventures on the property. Design elements include frosted glass, marble and granite, and reclaimed materials, while expansive windows and 15-foot clerestories bathe each room in natural light.
Le Château de Fonscolombe offers an awe-inspiring getaway in the Provencal countryside, a 20-minute drive from Aix-en-Provence. The property’s wine estate goes back to Roman times, and the 18th-century Italianate architecture built in the Quattrocento style—complete with secret boudoirs, grand salons, and canopied beds—looks straight out of a movie set. When not sampling selections from the winery, which is rich in Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence AOC and Bouches-du-Rhône IGP, guests explore the lavish grounds and handsome salons.
The Tasca d’Almerita winery is run by an eighth-generation wine family who own and operate five estates across Sicily, including Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia. A true marriage of wine and the sea, the gorgeous estate resides on the island of Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily that has been billed by some as “Italy’s secret gourmet island.” The 27 uniquely appointed guest rooms, each with its own private terrace, are surrounded by 15 feet of vines producing Malvasia, the typical wine of the island.
Locanda La Raia, a 12-room countryside retreat in Northern Italy’s Piedmont region, operates a “slow hospitality” ecosystem focusing on sustainability, biodiversity, and locavore cuisine; the “estate to table” restaurant utilizes beef, honey, herbs, and grains sourced on-site. Guests can enjoy wine experiences and tours, or merely sip on pours of La Raia’s biodynamic wine in the comfort of their stylish rooms.
Castello di Vicarello is a family-owned 12th-century castle in the heart of Tuscany’s wild Maremma countryside. When not relaxing in the nine uniquely appointed suites, guests find ample peace and seclusion spread across almost 100 acres of organic vineyards, olive groves, farmland, and forests. Depending on the time of year, visitors can immerse themselves in the winemaking process, from harvest to bottle. Popular experiences include wine tasting with the producer in the medieval kitchen and a leather-making workshop with a master craftsman.
Hotel Marqués de Riscal, A Luxury Collection Hotel, majestically sits in the heart of La Rioja’s Marqués de Riscal City of Wine. The Frank Gehry-designed marvel—distinctive for its titanium and steel roofing panels and the asymmetry of its wall and floor tiles, it resembles one of his most famous works, the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum—stands in contrast to the surrounding medieval Spanish town of Elciego and its historic bodegas and sandstone buildings from the 1800s. Hotel guests immerse themselves in all things vino, from the namesake winery’s immersive visitor center to the Caudalie vinotherapy spa.
Lympstone Manor is a historic, Grade II-listed Georgian manor house in England’s Devon that has been transformed into a contemporary country house hotel. The 21 luxurious rooms and suites—each named after the birds of the surrounding Exe estuary—are decorated in the calming colors of the native landscape, with furniture handmade by local craftsmen. The driving force behind Lympstone is Michael Caines MBE, a Michelin-starred chef with a passion for wine. Guests gaze out at the idyllic surroundings, including the rolling British countryside and the hotel’s very own vineyard, while enjoying selections from a world-class cellar.
As the continent’s most iconic wine-growing region, Mendoza provides an ideal introduction for global travelers looking to discover the wonders of Argentine wine. Hidden away in a 35-acre vineyard, Cavas Wine Lodge is a Spanish colonial-style hotel that’s devoted to the joys of wine. Each guest villa has a secluded sun deck with panoramic views of the snowcapped Andes Mountains, plus a wood-burning fireplace and private plunge pool. The owners were among the first in the region to embrace environmental practices such as composting, solar energy, and water reuse; water collected from the hotel’s sinks, showers, and baths is filtered and used on-site to irrigate the vines.
The Vines Resort lures serious wine lovers to its home in Mendoza’s prestigious Uco Valley. Foodies are drawn to Siete Fuegos Restaurant, where the acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann creates inspired regional dishes, while oenophiles jump at the chance to take their interest in wine to the ultimate level by producing their own wine. Since 2004, The Vines has helped nearly 200 wine lovers from around the world become winemakers, learning how to plant, harvest, bottle, label, and even ship under the guidance of experts. Most guests are content to leave the winemaking to the pros while enjoying their spacious villas, spa-inspired bathrooms, and private decks with views of the Andes and vineyards.
On the other side of the Andes in the bucolic Millahue Valley, two hours south of Santiago, Vik Chile has become one of its country’s foremost luxury destinations. Located at the top of a hill in the middle of a nature reserve, the namesake winery and hotel is recognizable for its floating, structural roof of titanium and bronze. Transparent spaces with glass walls lend a calming, airy vibe to the environs, as does an infinity pool and Zen garden surrounded by colorful flowers. Guests can recharge by horseback riding, hiking, and cycling through the dramatic landscape.
An architectural landmark, Port Phillip Estate has grown in stature to become one of Australia’s most lauded food and wine destinations. Located an hour south of Melbourne on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, this modernist chateau offers stylish suites with sunken living areas and views of the vineyards where Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Noir grow. The winery and barrel room are hidden in the basement; the rammed earth acts as natural insulation, removing the need for temperature control.
Located at the foot of Te Mata Peak in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, Craggy Range offers an assortment of visitor experiences, highlighted by boutique luxury accommodations in the middle of its vines. Couples enjoy a romantic getaway in one of the garden cottages or river lodges, while groups gather in the opulent, four-bedroom vineyard lodge. Guests fuel up on local and seasonal ingredients at the namesake restaurant, then explore the winery’s award-winning portfolio via an intimate seated tasting at the cellar door.
Another Hawke’s Bay standout, Black Barn hosts an array of wine-flecked visitor experiences. Travelers come from far and wide to luxuriate in one of the winery’s 16 retreats scattered around the area; some are found in the spectacular Tuki Tuki River Valley, while others are located in the vineyard or on the ocean. Those staying on the winery enjoy easy access to on-site attractions such as a trendy, produce-driven bistro, a curated epicurean shop, a weekend market, and a vineyard amphitheater where movies and big-name concerts are held.