Different travelers may have different ideas as to what constitutes extreme wine tourism. My concept involves an opportunity to walk through vineyards, taste wines, tour the winemaking facility and then spend the night on the property and not have to walk far from the lodging to a restaurant. The restaurant and lodging are the two extreme criteria that separate many of the world’s wineries from the others. Are there wineries that offer it all?
Over the years Kathy and I have stayed at many of these extreme wine tourism sites. Some were small and very homey such as Ciban in Pavlov?ani, Croatia in the Croatian Uplands wine region. An Italian site we enjoyed was Comelli in Faedis (Ud) – Italy. In far Eastern Europe we enjoyed a multi-night stay at Chateau Mere in Telavi, Kakheti, Georgia. While at Chateau Mere we also had the opportunity to make some Georgian foods.
At home in the United States we have stayed at several properties that offer an extreme wine tourism experience. Perhaps the poster child of those would be Messina Hof in Bryan, Texas. They have beautiful vineyards where we helped to harvest grapes. The restaurant and bistro are steps away from the winery area and lodging. The lodging experience in the Villa is glamorous and restful. We were there on three occasions.
Today, we experience Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia with an extreme wine travel experience at Wessex Hundred. Like Messina Hof, Wessex Hundred can also be the poster child of extreme wine tourism. The site includes the Williamsburg Winery, the Gabriel Archer Tavern and accommodations, some fit for royalty, at Wedmore Place. Although we have been to the winery on a couple occasions and ate in the tavern, we never spent the evening at Wedmore Place. The hotel is a member of the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America. It offers modern amenities, but you also have the presence of Colonial Virginia.
While at Wessex Hundred we will taste the current selection of wines and have two multi-course meals prepared by the chef and paired with Williamsburg Winery wines. The Williamsburg Winery has a special place in our hearts. It is the first winery that Kathy and I visited well over a decade ago. We will also have an opportunity to taste ten sparkling wines in a blind tasting and evaluation. This activity blends well with our upcoming International Wine Tourism Conference in Reims, France in the Champagne region.
There are many other wineries throughout the world that offer the extreme wine tourism experience. Check them out, perhaps some may be close to where you live.