Drinking a glass of wine in a simple room is not the same experience as sipping exact one under a canopy of stars. What defines the taste of any wine is the when and where you are sipping it.
This concept may anger the more logical minded members of the wine industry but several companies are already investing in wine tasting rooms. These tasting rooms offer a relaxed vibe and elegant window views of beautiful locales and are increasingly becoming part of big brewers’ calling cards.
The practice of making these structures to lure in possible customers have been started by newer wine industries belonging to Chile and Argentina and several states like Michigan in the United States for the American continent. In Europe, New Zealand and Austria have these rooms to lure in buyers. These architecturally elegant and scenery centered rooms invites the tasters to focus on their senses and the taste the wines provide.
The older wine cultures of Italy and France have not picked up on this trend as several winemakers are still working in partnership with traders. This added layer separates those who taste the wine from those who make it and keeps winemakers from finding sense in creating wine tasting rooms. However, it is only a matter of time before they noticed that they were being left behind. Today, several French manufacturers are looking to have houses of their own and are contracting Opus One to create theirs.
Spain on the other hand boasts of some finely crafted tasting houses in Rioja. Although, Spanish winemakers have a long standing tradition with the vine, they are also forward looking enough to adapt to current practices. Several big name architects have finished projects in the region with costs amounting to as much as $30,000,000. Although the region of Rioja doesn’t have anything much by way of views, their wine tasting houses are exemplars of architectural art.
These works of art are the reasons why tourists statistics are increasing in the locations where wines are brewed. In South America’s Argentina for example, Mendoza is an unheard name of internationally but after the winemakers here have opened wine tasting rooms, people have begun trickling in to enjoy a glass right while witnessing the majesty of the Andes mountains.
So here’s some of the best wine tasting rooms in the world where people can drink in glasses of aged brews and timeless landscapes.
Argentina: Carlos Pulenta
The wineyard of Carlos Pulenta features Criollo architecture which boasts of high ceilings and stone backgrounds. But what is more astounding than the art present in the walls of facility is the backdrop of the Cordon del Plata looming over the horizon. This particular location has been developed only in 2002 and is the first one to promote the wine country of Mendoza to the globe. Aside from wine tasting, guests also feast on French cuisine in La Bourgogne, one of the best fine dining places in Argentina. For people who want to stay over a night or two, Carlos Pulenta winery has La Posada to take care of their needs.
Despite its being a brand new player in wine tourism, Austria has nonetheless professed seriousness when it comes to mounting developments for added traffic into their rustic scenery. Steven Holl, an architect from New York City, envisioned Loisium Wine Resort as a homage to the vine. This particular facility boasts of a brewery, wine spa, hotel amenities and the town of Langelois which has a labyrinthine network of caves they use to stock wines.
California: Opus One
Winemarker Opus One celebrates its wines through the architecture of its winery. According to their website,
the structure parallels the taste of their wine. Opus One wines are marked by distinctive cloistered taste that gradually lures the taster into the various folds of its elegance. The winery appears like it is only appearing
now after being submerged in the ground for a long time. What strikes visitors first are the collonades on both sides of the building and are actually the architectural representations of the Classical period. After going through the columns, people get a taste of the chic interiors where opera chairs sit neighborly with
chenille sofas. Enjoy views of Napa Valley by taking a glass with you to the terrace.
Chile: Viña Pérez Cruz
Ex-sculptor Jose Cruz Ovalle architectured the Viña Pérez Cruz winery in such a way that its sight does not violate the forms of the natural environment around it. Asides fulfilling the requirements of surroundings to make wine in, this building made of laminated wood gently inducts the visitor into the beautiful woodwork that is the foundation of the building. Witnessing the curved wooden arches and pillars that support the structure, one cannot help but feel like one is inside a giant violin or a guitar. Certain areas with domed ceilings seem to simulate the insides of casks.
France: Château Haut-Brion
One of the classic brands in Europe, Chateau Haut-Brion forges its image with its customers through its chateaux located in Bordreaux. This castle is the premiere of its kinds among the newly opened chateauxs offering wine tasting trips on their grounds. It offers an experience of old world class without overextending itself. The rooms containing the portraits of the former masters of the castles and its vineyards stretching out from the castle are worth seeing. Guests are led to the castle’s parapets in order to taste the wine.
New Zealand: Craggy Range Giants Winery
Craggy Range is the brainchild of Terry Peabody and Steve Smith with the latter serving as the company’s resident viticulturist. The mix of buildings that can be found in this distillery at Hawke’s Bay makes one oddly warm awash in the rustic country feel while maintaining a cosmopolitan air. John Blair designed the buildings in Craggy Range including the two cottages that the owners offer for overnight accommodations – the Cellar Master’s Cottage and the Vineyard Cottage. Staying the night will also afford the guest with a free wine tasting session of several wines which have tones of Bordeaux-aged Cabernet, Franc, Merlot and Syrah and an exclusive membership to their Deep Purple wine club. You can sample these wines in their Cellar Door tasting room while gazing at the Te Mata mountains.
New York: Heron Hill Winery
Part of the Keuka Wine Trail, this vineyard offers a tasting experience to remember. This wine facility evokes the atmosphere of a small country farm with modern Mediterranean designs. What you get is a pleasant experience seated on the slate hill watching over Keuka Lake. Guests will walk through cobblestone walkways to enter the Tasting Hall where they are offered Chardonnay and Rieslings which are award winners in national wine competitions. Aside from these, there are also red wines that come from Hammondsport quarry. Another label to note are the choice wines brewed from the grapes of their Ingle Vineyard. Their viticulturist John Ingle started a vineyard which utilizes the techniques of sustainable farming. Grass and plants are allowed to grow in between the rows of the vines. When the plants flower various good insects thrive and start an ecosystem. This mitigates the pests that could have otherwise destroyed the crops. This eliminates the need for pesticides. The plants themselves prevent erosion. What results is a healthy and all natural wine that also comes from a greener environment.
Scotland: Glengoyne Distillery
Glengoyne Distillery has been in operation for 200 years but aside from the landscapes that Dumgoyne Hill provides and the waters flowing from the hill and the resources of the barley crops from the outlying farms, it has quite the interesting story. Around the 1800s while Scotland was taking part in a war against France, taxes on spirits were at an all time high. To escape taxation, as much as 18 whiskey stills operated in the area of the valley where Dumgoyne Hill is located. The founders only quit this roguish acivity of whiskey brewing and smuggling around 1820 when taxes on drinks were lifted. Sir Walter Scott, novelist and poet, who wrote Rob Roy featured the hero and wrote about a tree which is just a stone’s throw away from the distillery. Today, Glengoyne offers tourists a chance to learn what whiskey master blenders do through their tour packages and get to take home their own blended whiskey in a small bottle.
Spain: Bodegas Ysios
In the Basque country of Rioja Alavesa, sitting at the foot of Sierra de Cantabria is Bodegas Ysios, a wine storehouse that represents the cutting edge of the Spanish Riojan wine industry. The mountains which protect the storehouses and surrounding vineyards from the north-westerlies cultivate the perfect atmosphere to raise grapes. Santiago Calatrava was inspired by rise and falls of peaks along the landscape and worked the barrels to resemble these undulations. This particular innovation contradicts and thus heightens the tradition behind the creation of the wines. Ysios creates its signature taste from the interplay of grape and the hints of oak from which the wine comes of age.
Spain: López de Heredia
Zaha Hadid designed this spectacular wine tasting room. This particular space located at the grounds of Lopez d e Heredia covers an old kiosk from the World’s Fair of 1910 which was used to sell items with the elegance of gold-tinged steel. This classy covering and its old school stand are emblematic of Lopez de Heredia’s winemaking tradition. The four generation family of winemakers still continue with the practices with their predecessors who started the vineyard in 1870. There are no futuristic machines that manufacture wines here, everything is still done by hand.
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