The Grape Escape | A Taste of Europe’s Best Wine Stays
A wine holiday is a bucket-list experience for any true wine lover, but for those keen to book their long-awaited vineyard trip, it can be hard to tell what sets the really good accommodations apart from the average ones. That’s why Booking.com decided to use the advice of wine travellers who have actually stayed in these places to work out where enthusiasts could find the world’s best overall wine experiences.
Booking.com analysed guest reviews in some of the top wine regions in the world and looked for key mentions of service, comfort, wine and overall experience to find properties that were located either on or near a working vineyard in popular wine regions across the globe.
So according to the experts – the Booking.com travellers – here are some of the highest rated accommodations for wine tourism: six of Europe’s very best wine finds to make
The Lavaux wine-growing region is not only celebrated for its grapes. The dramatic alpine landscape surrounding Lake Geneva is also a major draw. The sun bouncing off the bright indigo blue water and the stone walls that decorate the hillsides gives the area a distinctly Mediterranean character and provides some astounding views. The vine terraces here date back to the 11th century, when Benedictine and Cistercian monks were reaping the harvest, which today largely consists of the Chasselas grape variety.
From Domaine du Burignon, the panorama is magnificent and the perfect backdrop to enjoying some of the region’s fine light, crisp white wines on the accommodation’s terrace. A charming, renovated historic building right in the heart of the region’s steep vineyards, this property was one of Booking.com’s most highly-rated with the gorgeous location and friendly staff earning extra mention.
Yedi Bilgeler Vineyards is a charming winery hotel found in the Aegean wine region along the coast of Turkey, an area that accounts for nearly 20% of the country’s entire wine production. Surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and rolling Turkish hills, the unique stone building was constructed by an Austrian architect with state-of-the-art winemaking facilities and a wine cellar full of French oak barrels. Guests can enjoy wine-tastings of the accommodation’s own grapes on site and be guided through the wine-making process. Or you can sample the winery’s other produce at the on-site restaurant, with peaceful sunsets over the property’s lavender gardens in relaxed, rural Turkey.
With sunlight peeping through the wooden shutters and each room furnished in chateau style – think wood panelling, subdued colours and plenty of toile – Les Belles Perdrix de Troplong Mondot is not only wonderfully French but also great for wine. A blissful retreat encircled by its own vineyards, it lies in one of the principal red wine areas of Bordeaux so opportunities for wine-tastings are abundant. The hotel’s restaurant uses seasonal, local ingredients, many from its own henhouse, gardens and orchards. Expect the likes of blue lobster medallion with Aquitaine caviar, in recipes that perfectly showcase the area’s wines. Pass the horses ploughing the vineyards around the house on a short and scenic walk to the medieval wine town of Saint-Emilion.
The grand and historic Marchesi Alfieri Estate is a place of pilgrimage for wine lovers, standing tall and aloof high up in Italy’s famous Piedmont wine region. The winery sits on the grounds of the baroque Castle of San Martino Alfieri. At the foot of the castle is the 18th-century built Locanda Marchesi Alfieri, which has recently been restored to welcome enthusiastic wine tourists. The rooms here are elegantly decorated and guests can enjoy a tour of the castle, the Orangerie and the ancient wine cellars, concluding with a tasting of the estate’s own vintages. Since the estate oversees more than twenty hectares of vineyards in the hills between Asti and Alba, the range of its structured, complex and delicious wines is prodigious.
Quinta do Vallado’s modern design, slate exterior and views of the vineyards and Corgo River combine to visually dazzling effect. An extensive tour through the winery with a wine tasting is included in the price of a stay, while excursions to nearby vineyards are also available. But it’s fairly likely you’ll just want to relax in the hotel’s stunning garden or infinity pool overlooking the wine terraces, as you enjoy a glass of local Douro wine.
The volcanic soil of Santorini is perfect for grape-growing so the tradition of wine-making is several thousand years old here. In that time, Santorini has earned itself a reputation as one of the world’s leading wine regions. Coupled with the distinctive bright blue and white Greek Island colouring, it serves as a spectacular wine holiday destination. The island is best known for its indigenous white grape varieties, including Assyrtiko, a grape that produces full-bodied, citrus white wines that pair perfectly with Greece’s mouthwatering grilled fish and meats. Ampelonas Apartments is right in the heart of the action, with panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and nearby vineyards.