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Where to try your hand at Winemaking

Lauren Hill

Contributor

Why settle for a tasting and vineyard tour when you can get hands-on with the winemaking process and even blend your own bottle to take home.

COMO The Treasury, Perth

If you’re planning a trip to Western Australia, chances are you’ll be visiting Margaret River. This town and its surrounding wineries to the south of Perth has become known worldwide for its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and semillon-sauvignon blanc blends, as well as its vineyards with cellar-door tastings and miles of coastline. Margaret River is usually a three-hour drive from Perth but COMO The Treasury, which sits in the city’s historic heart, gives guests the chance to arrive in style. A 60-minute private seaplane flight takes you to the wine-growing region where you’ll explore the vineyards with a local winemaker and taste vintage wines from the barrel. For insight into winemaking, you can then opt for the hotel’s Millbrook Winery Experience. Arrive at this award-winning winery in Jarrahdale by helicopter to discover the process behind running a vineyard and blend your own bottle to take back with you. 

Bottaia Winery, Temecula Valley Wine Country

You’ll find Temecula Valley Wine Country in the Riverside County of Southern California. More than 30 wineries dot this undulating region’s valleys where syrah, cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, chardonnay and pinot noir are produced to award-winning status. You can take a guided tour of the wineries or follow the Temecula Winery Map. Bottaia is among the wineries offering tours, tasting and other vineyard experiences. Notably, this is where you can get hands on with the winemaking process. The Wine Blending Lab Experience takes place in the winery’s fermentation building. Here you’ll blend a series of separate reds to identify the blend you most like before bottling it to take home. The modern winery also has a pool café and cocktail bar where you can relax amid the vines. Bottaia wines are served here alongside Italian-inspired small plates.

Quinta Nova, Douro Valley

The winery and hotel Quinta Nova sits high in the rolling vineyards of Portugal’s lush Douro Valley. Guests stay in the renovated 19th-century manor house with scenic terrace, pool and neighbouring chapel and tastings take place in the winery originating from 1764. You can explore the barrel room and underground cellar, peruse the bottles in the wine atelier and taste Douro and Port wines overlooking the valley’s river. You’ll pick grapes in the vineyards during the harvest and have the chance to be a part of a winemaker experience year-round, blending, bottling, corking and labelling your own wine to take home. You can see more of the surrounding land by following Quinta Nova’s signed trails, then taste the local produce in the hotel’s indoor-outdoor restaurant paired with highly rated wines like the Mirabilis Grande Reserva White.

Excelsior Wine Estate, Robertson Wine Valley

Robertson lies at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Winelands. The picturesque town and its surrounding land are predominantly known for two things: the local wine and abundant roses. The Robertson Wine Route is officially recognised as a Wine of Origin Region and there are more than 48 wineries to choose between. Among these is the 1870-founded Excelsior Wine Estate of the de Wet family. The family now cultivates sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, shiraz, merlot and cabernet sauvignon grapes on this land to produce full-bodied wines that display intense fruit. Luxury accommodation is offered in the Cape Dutch revival manor, which now has a pool with views of the vineyards and mountains, with farm-to-table food and bread baked in a wood fired oven served in Excelsior Kitchen. You can explore the farm by mountain bike and golf cart, and blend, bottle and label your own wine from red varietals in the tasting room. Cellar tours provide insight into the winemaking process and you’re welcome to participate during the harvest.

Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Napa Valley

In 2020, California’s best known wine country will welcome its latest luxury hotel opening — the brand new Napa Valley resort by Four Seasons. Set within an estate featuring 5.6 acres of vineyards and winery operated by award-winning winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown, this is a hotel that’s tailor-made for oenophiles. The hotel’s ‘resort within a winery’ concept gives guests an immersion into the whole grape-to-glass experience, from tours of the organic hand-farmed vineyard to guided winery tours and tasting sessions with insight into this region’s terroir. Most intriguingly, you can get involved with the winemaking process from harvesting the grapes to blending and aging the wine. A limited collection of estate-grown cabernet sauvignon will also be produced on-site. The resort lies just outside the town of Calistoga amid the Palisades with rooms and suites taking in these vineyard and mountain views. You’ll be able to dine on farm-to-table cuisine at the chef’s table, indulge in ‘seed to skin’ spa treatments drawing on the benefits found in grapes, and join a guided bike tour through the valleys.

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