Grape Escapes: Wineries That Want You to Sleep Over
Goodbyes are hard. We’ve all been there: You’re agonizing over which bottle of newly discovered Pinot Noir to buy, when suddenly it’s closing time at the tasting room.Luckily for those averse to bidding adieu to varietal Valhalla, a growing number of wineries today encourage visitors to extend their stay with on-site accommodations that range from itty-bitty, rustic cottages to soaring, luxurious digs set in former monasteries. Whether you’re planning a “Grigio girls” getaway, a romantic rendezvous in Riesling country, or an annual tour of your favorite appellation, there’s a little something for everyone.
Here are 10 of the best vineyard vacation spots, no club memberships required.
Although Sunstone’s roots only date to 1990, when its owners planted their first seeds 35 minutes north of Santa Barbara, the estate’s palatial villa evokes old world elegance. Much of the winery’s building materials were imported from the other side of the pond, including limestone from a small French village and timber from a 19th-century lavender factory once owned by Queen Victoria. The resulting Tuscan-inspired villa—technically the owner’s private residence, but available for rental—can fit up to 10 guests across its five master suites, each outfitted with standing tubs and lux linens. Curl up with a glass of Syrah in front of any of the villa’s eight fireplaces, or go behind the scenes at the winery’s moody stone barrel-aging caves.
To experience even a fraction of the 48 wineries dotting Australia’s idyllic Clare Valley—renowned for its Shiraz, Cabernet, and Riesling vines—you’re going to need a few days. Why not hunker down in a bushland cottage or a three-bedroom stone farmhouse built in the early 1900s? At these accommodations at Skillogalee Wines in Sevenhill, Australia, guests are greeted with a bottle of wine and breakfast provisions, which guests can enjoy on private verandas and the property’s lush gardens that overlook winding grape vines. After a morning sampling sips in the region, swing back for afternoon tea on the bistro’s flower-studded veranda. Check to see what events are on before booking—in the past, the winery has hosted yoga and meditation retreats and multi-course outdoor meals amidst the property’s sprawling vineyards.
From April to December, nature-loving winos can cozy up in four rustic cabins on the property of Buttonwood Grove Winery in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region. The pint-sized getaways—each with a queen-sized bed and pullout sofa—feature private porches that overlook majestic Cayuga Lake. (Bonus: Four-legged besties are welcome in several of them.) At the center is a fire pit perfect for cabernet sauvignon-splashed campouts after a long day of fishing, hiking, and hanging out with the winery’s star resident, Melody, a fuzzy Scottish Highlands cow. Despite the bucolic atmosphere, don’t worry about going without: The cabins are still equipped with satellite TV.
Combine food and fermentation at this oak tree-strewn B&B ranch in California’s Sonoma Valley. Built in 1892, the five-bedroom ranch sits on 105 acres of pristine Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc vineyards, vibrant gardens (partially planted by local Girl Scouts, no less!), raspberry patches, and swaying grasslands. Expect historic touches like original architectural details, antique furnishings, and wood-burning stoves in some rooms, but look outside for the property’s best feature: a breathtaking sunset view from the ranch’s ornate second-story balcony. If you can manage to pull yourself away, retire to a picnic table under the property’s 300-year-old oak tree for a chef-packed, four-course picnic basket meal that includes salad from the ranch’s on-site garden and sandwiches on house-made focaccia.
Malbec mavens will love popping bottles at Entre Cielos in Mendoza, Argentina, an ultra-modern 16-room lodge set in a paradise where the sun shines roughly 300 days a year and the pool has a view of the snow-capped Andes. Sip on the winery’s lauded Gran Marantal vintage, which earned 91 points from Robert Parker Wine Advocate, or indulge in Latin America’s first six-stage circuit hammam, which combines different massage techniques with wine-centric treatments like grapeseed exfoliation and a grape extract wine bath. If you can swing it, book the property’s most prized room: A spaceship-like loft pod floating 30 feet above the crops, which has a private tub on its outdoor terrace and skylights for stargazing. Traveling with someone special? The property’s romance concierge is on call to curate the perfect date a la The Bachelorette, which filmed here last year, starting with a hot air balloon ride at dawn and capping things off with a sumptuous dinner of Argentinian beef at a table nestled between rows of grapevines.
Virginia is for lovers. Wine lovers, that is. Early Mountain Vineyards, an up-and-coming operation dreamed up by a former AOL executive, invites wine lovers to bunk in the 300-acre property’s simple-but-charming one-bedroom cottage set next to rows of gnarled grapevines. The cottage, which is available to book on AirBnB, comes complete a hammock for lazing with a glass of wine while taking in sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A back patio looks onto a historic hilltop barn built in 1811.
As its name alludes, this operation centers around a legitimate castle built in 1184 by the Pazzi family, sworn enemies of the Medicis. Today, the only thing stored in its dungeon is bubbly. The winery and working farm offers farm stays across its several updated stone guest houses and villas, many of them converted barns or farmhouses. Spend misty mornings roaming the hillsides and afternoons taking guided tours of the castle and tasting local wines paired with small snacks such as fettunta, toasted bread covered in Castello Del Trebbio's house-made extra-virgin olive oil.
Relishing a bottle of fine Petit Verdot can be a religious experience, so it’s fitting that this winery and 30-room luxury retreat in Spain’s Duero Valley is housed within a Romanesque monastery dating back to 1146. The vaulted ceilings, frescos, and stone columns remain, but today the premises is fully modernized with a helicopter landing pad, 10,000-square-foot spa staffed by “spa sommeliers” and “spa butlers” on call to design unique treatment plans, and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Refectorio, set in the soaring space that once served as the dining hall for monastery monks. When you’re not luxuriating at the pool or enjoying the rooms’ complimentary minibars, explore the 1,730-acre estate on a guided 4x4 tour.