From the Texas Hill Country to California, and Barcelona to Mendoza, now is the time for a wine country getaway. Get out there and raise a glass to some truly unique experiences. Here are a few ideas.
Gothic-inspired, flamenco filled Barcelona shines as one of Europe’s top cultural centers and an eastern hub for many Spanish wine destinations. Just 45-minutes outside of Barcelona lies Spain’s sparkling wine home, Penedes, where Spanish varieties produce traditional method Cava.
Enjoy grand tours ending with a tasting of winery-exclusive selections in their bird’s nest tasting room at Frexienet, or take guided walking or bicycle tours and tastings through organic vineyards at Vilarnau. Each allows you to toast tradition. Book your stay in Barcelona’s vibrant Eixample district, where outdoor cafes line the streets.
South America delivers wine selections with exceptional quality and affordability. But, the heart of their story lies the gracious hospitality visitors and locals feel throughout Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.
Set in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Mendoza, Argentina offers robust yet balanced, character-driven wine. Two hours outside Mendoza city, in cool Uco Valley, The Vines Of Mendoza Resort and Spa blends wine and relaxation, as the 700-acre property melds a luxury resort and working winery.
With an essential element of living a good life, guests enjoy poolside relaxation, pampering spa treatments, or making wine with their winemaking team. Bonus, The Vines is home to celebrated Argentine chef, Francis Mallmann’s, Siete Fuegos Restaurant. (I recently had the opportunity to stay here as their guest.)
Just outside Mendoza in Lujan de Cuyo, you are transported into rustic luxury at The Cavas Wine Lodge. Set in the middle of a vineyard in the shadows of the Andes, their 17 individual guest casitas (little houses), with plunge pools, outdoor rain showers, and fireplaces, ensure visitors slow down, allowing the serene beauty of the mountains and vineyards to resonate.
Take in a complimentary Sommelier-led wine tasting, or learn how to make local dishes, like Argentina’s famous empanadas, with a chef-instructed hands-on cooking class. Harvest begins shortly, filling the air with heavenly aromas as grapes become wine.
And, as you don’t want to navigate Mendoza’s rural roads, hire a driver. I highly recommend New Harvest. On a recent trip, their driver, Miguel, was keenly knowledgable of the region, as he’s also vintner who grew up working the vines beside his parents and grandparents.
Sonoma Valley boasts some of California’s oldest vineyards, and some of the most renowned vintners, winemakers, and owners who helped shape America’s wine story today, like Richard Arrowood, Joel Peterson, Steve Sangiacomo, Robert Biale, and Jean-Charles Boisset.
Signature Sonoma Valley, taking place May 16 through 19, offers guests an exclusive one-on-one weekend with these legends, toasting the story of Sonoma Valley, celebrating the growers, vintners, and producers. Details here, including dinner with these icons at one of my consistently favorite wineries, Ram’s Gate.
Thirty years ago, the vintners and winemakers of Napa’s Stags Leap District AVA began showcasing the individuality of their stellar vineyards lining the Silverado Trail. April 26 through 28 they celebrate their story with a 30th anniversary weekend of current release and exclusive library selection tastings throughout their spectacular Stags Leap District vineyards. Details here.
For something closer to home, take a drive through the Texas wine trails enjoying a stay with wineries in their bed and breakfast or guesthouses. Consider a relaxing guest-cottage stay with Fall Creek Vineyards in Driftwood, right next to their tasting room, (and Salt Lick Barbecue.)
Or head south to Messina Hof’s charming bed and breakfast in Bryan, where each stay includes a wine tasting and Champagne breakfast. Or venture just north of Dallas, to Aubrey, where Fortunata Wines offers six Tuscan-style villas and an Italian-inspired dinner.