If your idea of a winery vacation starts with you dreaming of a rustic little cottage among the cabernet sauvignon vines, think again. A growing number of wineries are opening luxurious resorts — like brand-new The Vines Resort & Spa in Mendoza, Argentina — with spas, restaurants and plush accommodations that just happen to be part of a winery. Whether it’s Carmel Valley in California or Stellenbosch, South Africa, all of these resorts are set in scenic spots that afford breathtaking natural views. As you contemplate your plans for the spring and summer, we suggest you consider treating yourself to a trip to one of these wine-soaked spots:
Wine and adventure don’t normally go together, but that’s the alluring combination you’ll find at this lush South American mega-estate that opened in December 2013. Hop on a horse and take to the pampas with a gaucho concierge, or choose between helping punch down a fermenting tank of grapes or planting vines, depending on the season. Experience an open-air barbecue or head to the resort’s signature restaurant, Siete Fuegos, where Francis Mallmann — Argentina’s most famous chef — shows off his mastery of both fire and French technique with dishes such as a rib-eye steak that’s slow grilled for nine hours. Of course, if your personal idea of adventure is dozing in a cabaña by the glittering infinity pool surrounded by the grandeur of the Andes, está bien.
Tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Allison Inn & Spa offers an unforgettable combination of plush guest rooms, gourmet cuisine at Four-Star JORY at The Allison Inn and relaxing spa treatments, all paired with the region’s elegant pinot noirs. Every one of the spacious rooms is stocked with a welcome goody basket on top of amenities such as soaking tubs, fireplaces and balconies. Be sure to save time for a visit to the Four-Star Allison Spa for unique treatments such as the Oregon Rain Shower massage performed under a Vichy waterfall or the Divine Wine facial, a service that pairs a wine and honey mask with a special moisturizer made with black perlette grapes.
Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains, this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star retreat offers a comfortable yet opulent escape. Its ideal location affords you the option of playing 18 holes at one of the Pebble Beach-area golf courses or taking a winding drive down to Big Sur. The rooms at the resort have a feel of staying at a well-to-do friend’s guest residence in the mountains. That homey feel extends to the refrigerator, which is stocked with locally made goat cheese, crackers and complimentary half-bottles of the Bernardus’ wines such as elegant chardonnay and the richly balanced Marinus cabernet blend.
Set in a valley ringed by vineyards and mountains, Delaire’s Graff Estate in South Africa’s Stellenbosch is a singular place to be surrounded by beauty. Whether you’re an art-appreciating oenophile, gourmand or jewelry lover, you’ll find a world-class experience here. Owner Laurence Graff’s art collection stars works from some of the world’s premier artists (Deborah Bell, Fred Schimmel) while the expansive gardens designed by celebrity horticulturist Keith Kirsten bloom year-round with the nation’s diverse flora. The restaurant Indochine offers Asian-inspired cuisine with sustainable and organic ingredients paired with great pinotage. And for a sparkling memento, stop into the on-site Graff Diamonds salon, the first on the continent, for a signature piece of jewelry designed by the master craftsmen in London.
A roofline that ripples and tumbles gives this Frank Gehry-designed property in Elciego, (aka Eltziego) Spain a fanciful air. But then again, the whole País Vasco area feels that way. Inside, the hotel is modern and fresh, with touches of bright colors and expanses of glass, stone and natural wood and curios details through the 43 rooms and suites. Should you spend your days at the Caudalie Vinothérapie Spa enjoying treatments such as a wine barrel bath or a rejuvenating Caudalie Vinosource facial (complete with radiance-restoring grapes), or will you make advance reservations for the internationally acclaimed Marqués de Riscal restaurant, where you can expect deliciously abstract cuisine paired with Spain’s finest cavas or 1945 vintage Marqués de Riscal Rioja? Mixed with a bit of sightseeing, we suggest some of both.
Photo Courtesy of Hotel Marqués de Riscal