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Top ten grape escapes

Viticultural destinations to savour

05 December 2018

4 minute read

Discover a plump bunch of destination wineries worth serious investigation.

Over the past few decades, the world’s best wine destinations have welcomed new generations of winemakers dedicated to art, architecture, natural and historical preservation as well as, of course, oenology. Here are ten wineries to visit across the globe that have brilliantly combined viticultural and straight cultural attractions.

1. Chateau Mouton Rothschild – Bordeaux, France

In 1924, Baron Philippe De Rothschild enlisted artists to paint his chateau’s labels, and over the years the collection grew to include the likes of Salvador Dalì, Joan Mirò and Marc Chagall. The Bordeaux-region winery features zen-raked pathways, a single-level barrel hall containing more than 1,000 casks, rooms adorned with masterpieces of painting and sculpture and a museum of wine in art. chateau-mouton-rothschild.com

2. Bodegas Ysios – Rioja, Spain

Santiago Calatrava’s wavelike design for Bodegas Ysios is perhaps one of the most famous winery designs in the world. A curved silhouette that has also become Ysios’ logo, the Spanish architect’s structure forms a barrier between the Sierra de Cantabria mountains and the vineyards. Anyone can visit the winery but it also has a private club whose members can gather in a theatrical hall within the building and taste four exclusive wines from a private collection.

3. Castello di Ama – Tuscany, Italy

An agricultural hamlet in the heart of Tuscany, the winery at Castello di Ama was founded by a group of local families in the 1970s. These days, second-generation Lorenza Sebasti and husband Marco Pallanti have turned it into an award-winning winery and art hub. The couple have invited contemporary artists (from Daniel Buren to Anish Kapoor) to visit the estate and create a site-specific piece, turning the five-century-old castle into the ultimate destination for art and oenology. castellodiama.com

4. Marqués de Riscal – Elciego, Spain

American architect Frank Gehry designed this vineyard hotel in 2003, taking cues from his previous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao project. Gehry’s project was an impressive renovation of the 19th century winery, and his titanium roof was inspired by the colours of grape skins. Upon arrival, visitors take a glass elevator down into a 3,000-bottle cellar, and services include a spa offering wine therapy. marquesderiscal.com

5. Donum Estate – Sonoma, California

Since 2014, the Donum Estate winery has been acquiring sculptures to dot around its vineyards, and in just three years the collection has grown to include works by Fernando Botero and Keith Haring. In 2015, it acquired Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals, and the evocative power of the Chinese artist’s work inspired Anne Moller-Racke, the estate’s president and winegrower, to commission him to work on the labels for the estate’s signature Pinot Noir. thedonumestate.com

6. Chateau La Coste – Aix en Provence, France

This 600-acre estate is the vision of Irish property developer Paddy McKillen, who imagined a place where art, architecture and wine coexist and merge. The organic winery features architecture by Tadao Ando, Jean Nouvel and Renzo Piano, as well Villa la Coste, a luxury hotel comprising 28 villas, which guests reach via a path that takes them through the chateau’s Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentino vineyards. chateau-la-coste.com/en

7. Penfolds Magill Estate – Adelaide, Australia

Established in 1844, the Magill Estate is one of Australia’s rare urban vineyards, located just east of Adelaide. Home to the Grange wine (and Penfolds’ first vineyard), the Magill Estate features bluestone cellars and underground tunnels, as well as a restaurant offering stunning views over its vineyards. A tour of the winery is completed by a tasting of the exclusive cellar reserve range. penfolds.com

8. Zuccardi – Valle de Uco, Argentina

This family winery was founded in the 1960s and is now run by third-generation oenologist Sebastián Zuccardi, who recently created the family’s second winery in Argentina’s Uco Valley. Called Piedra Infinita (‘Infinite Stone’), the building is framed by the snow-capped Andean peaks and constructed using stones from the range so that it blends into the landscape. zuccardiwines.com

9. Ceretto Wines – Piedmont, Italy

Wine, art and food are the Ceretto family’s passions, and their estate is the embodiment of this triple harmony. The single-vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco winery is in fact not only a wine-making destination but also home to prestigious art and architecture projects, such as the Chapel of Barolo, a 1914 chapel reimagined by Sol LeWitt and David Tremlett in 1999. Also run by Ceretto is the Michelin-starred restaurant Piazza Duomo, headed by chef Enrico Crippa and with interiors by artist Francesco Clemente. ceretto.com

10. Waterford Estate – Stellenbosch, South Africa

One of many picturesque estates in South Africa’s wine region, the Waterford Estate has a mission to preserve the local flora and fauna, which they guarantee by only using about half their land for vineyards. The winery’s cellars are built around an inner courtyard, allowing guests to taste their wines while observing the wine making processes. waterfordestate.co.za

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