If you are a wine aficionado keen on travelling to quench your thirst, look no further. We’ve scoured the globe to showcase two of the world’s most celebrated vineyards that cater to oenotourists. These wineries are not just venues to taste and purchase wine, but are for the sip-and-swirl set looking for opulent pampering amid stunning settings. The rolling terrain and grape clusters hanging from vines twirling around trellises tell the tale of the entwining of wine and culture. Rounded off with a perfectly poured glass of wine, the contentment is complete. Cheers!
No wine region in California draws as much attention as Napa Valley. Mayacamas Vineyards in Napa has a continuous history of producing grapes dating back to the late 1800s. Located near the top of Mount Veeder, the vineyard has made its reputation on its distinctive, long-lived Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. The winery sits on the edge of a crater of an extinct volcano.
The historic winery was founded in 1889 by John Henry Fisher, a German immigrant who moved to San Francisco and became a pickle merchant. After the 1906 earthquake wiped out his business, he declared bankruptcy, and his ranch was auctioned off. In 1941, Jack and Mary Taylor bought the property, which they rebuilt and named Mayacamas Vineyards. In 1968, Bob and Elinor Travers purchased Mayacamas and, in addition to the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines already planted, added the Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc varieties.
In 2013, Mayacamas was purchased by Charles and Ali Banks, in partnership with Jay and Joey Schottenstein. The 465-acre property currently has 52 acres under vine, planted at elevations ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 feet. The crop consists of smaller, more intense grapes, producing wines with complex, distinct flavours.
Today, Mayacamas Vineyards produces around 5,000 cases of wine a year. Its unique location, the history and the high-quality product certainly make this winery stand out. The new owners have upgraded the property with an inviting new tasting salon, a new bocce court, a patio, and a state-of-the-art kitchen that facilitates a variety of visitor programmes. The escorted tasting and excursion (by appointment only) begins with a visit to the 19thcentury wine-making facility, followed by a tour of the property and vineyards that boast spectacular views of the valley. Visitors can also explore the vineyard’s own bottling line, which dates to the 1940s.
Lush green lakeside terraced fields mirroring the sky is the view greeting tourists visiting this vineyard in Switzerland. Spread over 14 kilometres and best known for white wine made from Chasselas grape, Pinot Nofir and Gamay are also a few of the popular red wines produced here.
Lavaux was listed as a World Heritage Cultural Landscape site by UNESCO in 2007, and this brought the place considerable international recognition. The vineyards are surrounded by more than a dozen villages.
It is said that around the 11thcentury, monks began landscaping the area and the winegrowers later developed it further. These bucolic vineyards are visited every year by many tourists who can walk down to any of the cellars for a tasting. A tour can also be arranged for those who wish to learn the nuances of the wine-making process. Also on offer are afternoon boat rides on Lake Geneva, on the shores of which lie scenic towns like Lausanne, Vevey and Montreux. For those looking to explore on foot, there are two famous routes – the walk from Grandvaux to Pully, and from Grandvaux to Lutry. Each takes around two hours to complete. For those less inclined to walk, there are two popular train tours – Lavaux Panoramic and Lavaux Express.
Lavaux is a draw not just for wine lovers but also adventurers; the trail of Lavaux Vineyards attracts hikers from various countries. In winter, Lausanne and Lavaux are covered in snow, which draws skiers from around the world. And the best time for both wine and music lovers to visit Lavaux is during the Montreux Jazz Festival, hosted in April. There are a couple of exquisite places to stay and visit nearby, one being LavauxVinorama, which offers tours and tastings. It is a beautiful building located between Lavaux Vineyards and Lake Geneva and features a bar filled with a range of wines and a banquet hall for private or official events. There are some fine hotels as well, including Auberge de Raisin, Domaine du Burignon and Prealpina.