The World's Most Stunning Wineries
The World's Most Stunning Wineries
Rippon Winery: Central Otago, NZ
Rippon’s biodynamically farmed vineyards flow down a gentle slope towards the picture-postcard shores of Lake Wanaka in New Zealand’s Central Otago region, a spectacular setting (the Southern Alps behind the lake appeared as the Misty Mountains in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies). Rippon’s wines are no less gorgeous; stop in at the low-key cellar door to taste proprietor/winemaker Nick Mills’s deeply aromatic Pinot Noirs.
Bruma: Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico
Recycled optical glass and wooden slats, curving rammed earth walls, a native-plant garden atop the roof that helps the structure blend into the surrounding terrain—local architect Alejandro D’Acosta’s extraordinary, eco-friendly winery in Mexico’s Valle de Guadelupe is a must-see. But why not stay a while? The eight guest rooms feature glass walls overlooking the vineyards, and the recently opened Fauna restaurant is helmed by up-and-coming chef David Castro Hussong, formerly of New York’s Eleven Madison Park.
Villa Della Torre Allegrini: Valpolicella, Italy
Not only does Allegrini make formidable Amarone—the signature dense, dark red of the Valpolicella region, made from grapes dried after harvest to concentrate their sugars—the winery’s home at this Renaissance villa is stunningly beautiful. Envision vast fireplaces carved to look like sea monsters or angels, elegant gardens, and expansive views of the region, then be glad that the villa operates as a luxury bed and breakfast as well.
More evidence that humans have always loved wine.
Cantine Marisa Cuomo:Amalfi Coast, Italy
On Italy’s dramatic Amalfi Coast, vines cling to rock walls over the azure water of the Fiordo di Furore. The Cuomo cellar, dug into the limestone of the cliffs 1,500 feet above the water, is an idyllic place for tasting. Afterwards, walk the narrow paths through the town and have dinner—citrus-and-olive-oil drizzled cru’ di pesce, maybe, followed by a fish stew from the catch of the day—at one of the local restaurants with views out over the water.
Château Pichon Baron:Bordeaux, France
Bordeaux is full of grand châteaus, but Pichon Baron, in addition to being one of the most gorgeous, is also one of the few top properties that is open to visitors. Though the estate was founded in the 17th century, the actual neoclassical château, with its fairy-tale, inverted-ice-cream-cone towers, dates to the mid-19th century.
Picking one do-not-miss winery in Napa Valley—Highway 29 is essentially 40 straight miles of do-not-miss wineries—is a tough task. But for historic significance, elegant and beautifully preserved late-1880s architecture, lovely grounds, not to mention some of the valley’s best Cabernets, it’s hard to argue with Inglenook. Tastings by appointment.
Marques de Riscal: Rioja, Spain
Architect Frank Gehry sent shockwaves through the (admittedly somewhat conservative) Rioja region when his hotel and visitor’s center at Marques de Riscal, one of the region’s most historic producers, was unveiled in 2006. The controversy may have ebbed but the allure of this fantasy of soaring metal ribbons has not, nor has the complementary appeal of touring Riscal’s dim, 1850’s-era cellars, where some eight million bottles lie peacefully aging.
O. Fournier: Mendoza, Argentina
Viña Vik: Millahue Valley, Chile
Luxury hoteliers Alex and Carrie Vik landed on this remote valley in Chile for their eponymous winery in an attempt to create the best wine in South America. Whether they’ve succeeded at that is something other top wineries might question (though the Vik wine is indeed very good), but in the meantime they’ve created a stunning winery for it. A sloping plaza of streaming water strewn with granite boulders leads into the otherworldly winery building. Add the adjacent hotel with its rippling, bronzed-titanium roof and the whole property’s visual effect is unforgettable.
D’Arenberg: McLaren Vale, Australia
D’Arenberg has long been known for the attention-grabbing names of its excellent wines (The Broken Fishplate; The Money Spider). Now there’s a cellar door to match: a Rubik’s Cube–like structure that rises from the vineyards with a museum and a third-floor restaurant with views over the region.
Quinta do Crasto: Douro Valley, Portugal
Portugal’s Douro Valley is one of the world’s most dramatic wine regions. As the Douro River carves its way eastward from Oporto to the Spanish border, it’s walled on either side by ranks of terraced vineyards, rising steeply above the water below. There are plenty of beautiful quintas (wine estates) along the river, but even now few are open to the public. Crasto is. Perched on a high schist promontory near Regua, the vista it offers, particularly from the property’s striking infinity pool, is extraordinary; and the wines are no less impressive.
Domaine Louis Bovard: Lavaux, Switzerland
The more than 10,000 stone vineyard terraces of Switzerland’s Lavaux wine region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, date back to the 11th century, when they were farmed by monks from the region’s Benedictine and Cistercian monasteries. Built staircase-steep over the blue waters of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps as a backdrop, they are jaw-droppingly beautiful. Walk the paved path through the vines to Cully, where Bovard makes arguably the region’s finest Chasselas (the local white variety).
Castello Di Ama: Tuscany, Italy
Hidden away in the hills near Siena, this Chianti Classico estate’s grounds encompass rolling vineyards, ancient chapels, 18th-century villas—and 15 visionary site-specific works by contemporary artists including Anish Kapoor and Louise Bourgeois. Somehow, the art, the landscape, and the site’s history all merge seamlessly, making for an unusually thought-provoking experience.
Los Bermejos: Canary Islands, Spain
No other wine region is as eerily pretty as Spain’s Canary Islands. Here, vines are set in pits dug into the black volcanic gravel, shielded by low stone walls against the constant wind. Starkly unforgettable, they also produce compellingly taut reds and whites from local varieties like Diego and Listan Negro. Los Bermejos, on the island of Lanzarote, is a do-not miss producer.
Paolo e Noemia D’Amico: Lazio, Italy
A single steep, winding road leads to this estate high in the valle dei calanchi, a still-wild area of volcanic ridges and valleys on the border of Lazio and Umbria. The central villa is surrounded by a hedge maze that hides contemporary sculptural works; the vaulted, candlelit cellar was designed to recall the ancient Etruscan winery that stood on the property; and the views in the evening of the nearby hills, with a glass of wine in hand and ruined towers in the distance, are unforgettable.