Wine tasting started as the encore to the vineyard tour. What was once the finishing touch to a look at the vineyard and winemaking process has become the main show. The result of the popularity of wine tasting has lead wineries around the world to move from the classic, quaint tasting experience to a, “bigger is better” mentality. The result has been opulent tasting rooms and experiences meant to excite your every sense. Here are our favorite experiences out there right now.
A powerhouse in the winery world, Spain plays host to more than a few impressive wineries. Bodegas Sommons is a homage to modern architecture, designed to look like a butterfly. Then there the Marques de Riscal, which looks like it’s held together by pure magic. The goal set before architect Frank Gehry was to create a building that inspired innovation, and he absolutely succeeded! Round out your tour in the Rioja region at Bodega Ysios. Designers envisioned this mountain framed scene as a place of worship for wine.
It’s almost impossible to think about France and not think about wine. They two go hand in hand, so it’s unsurprising to know that there are some pretty impressive wineries here. Take Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, for example. Its whitewashed walls are stately enough to look parliamentary. Perhaps that’s why the building was chosen to grace the labels of the wines produced here.
With turrets, window shutters, and a fence to perfectly frame the castle, Chateau Pichon-Lalande is one of the most photographed wine chateaus in the world. It’s simple to feel royal when you visit this one! Complete your royal winery experience at Chateau Margaux where 4 pillars and a stately staircase welcome you to the manor that graces the famous brand’s bottles.
Our list couldn’t be complete without at least a mention of Mission Hill Winery in Canada. This smooth, modern structure features a bell tower that looms 12 stories above the entrance and rings boldly as guests arrive.
You don’t have to travel abroad to find impressive wineries. California has quite a few showstoppers herself. For example, Ledson Winery, built in true French-Normandy style, was famous for the winery before anyone knew much about the wine they produced. Set behind a romantic fountain, this brick structure feels like a fairytale castle that got lost and went to California instead of France. Need another castle? Dario Sattui built one in Napa Valley. Determined to have the, “most beautiful and interesting building” for wine in the whole of North America, Sattui erected Castello di Amorosa, and it’s as classic as a castle can get!
Move from French structure to Persian at the Darioush Winery, also in Napa Valley. The pillars in front of the entrance beckon you to a grand experience suited for a king.
Looking for something a bit more modern? Robert Mondavi teamed up with Baron Phillippe de Rothschild to create Opus One in Oakville, CA. The understated exterior houses the United States’ first ultra-premium wines inside.
No matter where in the world you choose to try a wine tasting, remember to take in the scenery and setting along with the wine. It’s all part of the intended experience!