Wine resort: a journey of wine

Good wine makes a good journey. For tourism operators, the universal passion for the drink of the gods is a greedy business opportunity, and several tour operators have organized to offer their users the travel experiences that combine exploration of the territory with tastings.

The standard packages offer food and wine tours, visits to the cellars of local excellence, stays in wellness resorts surrounded by vineyards, wine treatments in winery spa. The facilities that offer their guests all-round relaxation accompanied, of course, by guided tastings and unique sensory routes, are called wine resorts, the evolution of luxury old-fashioned wineries. Where there was once only room for vats, barrels and bottles, the rooms have been redesigned to offer guests an experience far removed from the standard of hotel facilities.

Wine as a cultural and wellness experience

Italy and Europe, historically on the podium of wine production, are a must for the followers of wine culture. From east to west, from north to south, you will find wineries, holiday farms and luxury hotels that act as a privileged observatory on the main European food and wine traditions.

Moravia, Czech Republic: a magical experience of wine

About two hundred kilometres south of Prague, near Brno - famous for its factories and the Villa Tugendhat by architect Mies Van der Rohe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site - lies Moravia, a colourful patchwork of vineyards and historic villages where 90% of the Czech Republic's wine is produced. Mikulov, Slovácko, Velké Pavlovice and Znojmo are the flagship cities for an informed tour to discover the excellent wines of Moravia, where the castles that dominate the surrounding hills give a touch of magic to the tasting experience.

But the heart of production beats at Valtice, a border outpost where the climate is particularly favourable for the production of the grapes that give the Palava, a sweet wine with a markedly aromatic flavour, with clear notes of citrus and floral reminiscent of Traminer, and Irsay Oliver, full-bodied wine that recalls the flavour of our Muscat of Asti. Excellent quality wine has been produced here since 1500 even if, during the communist era, the oenological tradition risked evaporating from the country, following the nationalization of the lands and production, a management model now supplanted by the free market that has revived the consumption and sale of wine.

The rouci, a variety of black pinot, the cabernet and the chardonnay are the most appreciated varieties; but, to get a complete picture of the situation, you must go to the National Wine Center, the museum of wine in the castle of Valtice that hosts the Wine Exhibition and organizes guided tours and events for sommeliers and enthusiasts. The permanent collection boasts over one hundred labels, distributed among whites, reds and bubbles, all of local production.

Moravia wine is mainly destined for national consumption: exporting it is not worth much, better to enhance it locally, instilling passion in tourists. This is why some resorts have named their rooms in honour of the main wine varieties: at Hotel Madl, for example, an old cottage surrounded by a 25-hectare vineyard owned by the family of wine producers of the same name, can be chosen between Suite Cabernet and Apartment Traminer.

Bordeaux, France: the power of water and wine

The rural area that extends around the city of Bordeaux, boasts the largest variety of fine wines in the world. The variety of its lands allows the production of red wines, dry white or liqueur wines, rosé, light and sparkling and the vintners open their estates for tastings, oenology courses and numerous cultural and gastronomic discoveries. From the Pyrenees, where the Garonne rises, to the Atlantic, where the Gironde flows, the water contributes to the creation of the landscapes of the Bordeaux vineyard.
Water and wine are in fact the main strengths of the metropolitan hinterland. Les Sources de Caudalie, 5-star resort in the heart of the Château Smith Haut Lafitte vineyard, has been promoting wine culture in relation to its therapeutic power for almost twenty years. At the evening tastings of the master sommeliers, the rich calendar of wellness events - from yoga to morning running in the park that houses several sculptures of contemporary land art - and the Vinotherapy Spa, where you can bathe in the waters of the natural spring Caudalie and offer cosmetic treatments for wine, such as scrub with cabernet and wine bandages.
The Chateau Grattequina, ten super luxury rooms, spacious ceremonial rooms and a large congress centre, stands on the ruins of an old farm surrounded by a vineyard. Strolling through the rows you reach the bank of a small river, crossed by a fast boat owned by the hotel that, in 15 minutes, ferries guests to the center of Bordeaux. Once in the city, we recommend a visit to the Citè du Vin, a monumental architectural work in glass and steel that celebrates the culture of wine, an interactive museum organized into thematic routes, to discover the history of wine and the secrets of winemaking.

Italy, Franciacorta: the kingdom of sparkling wine

On the hills of Franciacorta, a geographical area between Brescia and the southern end of Lake Iseo, the cultivation of vines has remote origins, as evidenced by the discovery of grape seeds from prehistoric times and the writings of classical authors such as Pliny and Virgil.

Today Franciacorta is one of the Italian areas with the highest production of sparkling wine, so much so that it has transformed a toponym into a brand that does not need further definitions. Every autumn, during the Franciacorta Festival, the wineries of the territory welcome the new season with a weekend of tastings of all types of Franciacorta: Satèn, Rosé, Millesimato and Riserva; but the opportunities to appreciate the sophisticated Franciacorta perlage, abound throughout the year.

In the 1701 wine garden the principles of organic and biodynamic agriculture apply to viticulture. Harvesting is done by hand, pressing is gentle and the use of multiplied indigenous yeasts is preferred. After draught (second fermentation) and aging (taking of mousse and yeast autosils), the bottles rest for 30 months upside down (remuage) and, after the second and final transfer, the Franciacorta1701 is ready for tasting in the romantic secret garden which, on request, becomes an intimate restaurant for two.

Equally rewarding and educational experiences, you can live from Al Rocol, an old farmhouse among the vineyards of Ome transformed into a country hotel with swimming pool in the woods and rows of vines. In the estate, the vineyards cultivated on the terraces alternate with olive trees, oaks, chestnuts and locust trees, and among the trees are traced itineraries for walking or riding a mountain bike. The lazier ones can instead dedicate themselves to discovering the secrets of the Franciacorta processing with guided visits to the cellar and tastings accompanied by the delicious of the Franciacorta territory.

Types of stay substantially similar but no less surprising, you can live in the Cappuccini resort, an ancient Franciscan convent surrounded by a vineyard with a park, and L'Albereta Relais, a land property that includes the cellars Bellavista of Franciacorta and Contadi Castaldi.

Italy, Chianti: the wine of tradition

Last but not least, the Chianti area in Tuscany, which includes the entire hilly area between Florence, Chiusi and Arezzo. Chianti is a land of ancient winemaking traditions of which there are Etruscan and Roman remains. But the first documents in which the name Chianti is identified as a production area and a type of wine, date back to the thirteenth century and refer to the League of Chianti, the first professional association of producers of red wine from Sangiovese grapes. The insignia of the Lega del Chianti was a black rooster on a golden field: the symbol is now the emblem of the Classic Chianti’s wine Consortium, an association for the protection of the controlled and protected origin trademark.
Particularly loved by VIPs who have chosen it as the ideal place for a house-holiday, the Chianti area is universally appreciated for both wine and food. Here there are many hotels that offer tasting courses and cooking schools - such as Borgo Santo Pietro, in Siena - and resorts that focus everything on the seduction of the gorge and wellness - such as the Castle of Velona, in Val d'Orcia, the Resort Poggio al Casone and the Castle Banfi il Borgo, on the hills of Montalcino. All three structures produce their own label wines.

Enchanting places, refined and exclusive environments where you can relax immersed in the scents and colours of the Tuscan countryside, enchanted by the wonders of nature and poetry that nests in the bottom of a glass of excellent organic wine.

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