Unique Wineries & Wine Tasting Experiences Not to Miss This Year All Over the World
Here are some very special, unique wineries around the world that deviate just a little bit from your average tasting experience. For a memorable wine visit, check them out!
- Unique Wineries & Wine Tasting Experiences Not to Miss This Year All Over the World
- Visit a Gas Station at Tank Garage Winery, California, USA
- Taste Ice Wine at Ice House Winery, Canada
- Witness a Camel in the Vineyard at Le Domaine du Val d’Argan, Morocco
- See a Castle and Sip at Chillon Castle Winery, Switzerland
- Drink Wine in a Butterfly at Bodega SOMMOS, Spain
- Float Amongst the Vines at Siam Winery, Thailand
- Dive for Your Wine, Literally, at Edivo Winery, Croatia
- Get a Panoramic Experience at Cantine Marisa Cuomo, Italy
- Taste Inside a Submarine (Above Water) at Sottomarino Winery, California, USA
- Go Volcanic at El Grifo, Canary Islands, Spain
- Tour a Nuclear Bunker at Chateau Siran, Bordeaux
- Go Llama Trekking at Divine Llama Winery, North Carolina
- Roam Among Giant Sculptures at Donum Winery, Sonoma
- Dine-in a Crater at Domaine du Meteore, South of France
- Sleep in Wine Barrels at Quinta da Pacheca, Portugal
- Reach New Heights at Bodega Colome, Argentina
- Taste in a Persian Palace at Darioush, Napa
- Go Truffle Hunting at Tenuta Santa Maria Valverde, Valpolicella
- Experience History at Lopez de Heredia in Rioja, Spain
- Taste the ‘Real American Grape’ at Chrysalis Vineyards, Virginia
- Frequently Asked Questions about Unique Wineries
- More Ways To Explore Wine Country Around The World
Visit a Gas Station at Tank Garage Winery, California, USA
1020 Foothill Blvd, Calistoga, CA 94515
Buying wine from a gas station probably isn’t something you ever considered doing, but Tank Garage Winery in Calistoga (Napa Valley), California may change your mind. This gas station-turned-winery, a throwback to the 1930s, was created in hopes of making a different kind of winery. After all, the last thing Napa Valley needs is “another sprawling Chateau complete with all the traditional ways you’re supposed to make and showcase your wines,” explained James Harder, founder of Tank Garage. Instead, taste wines like Dream Police, Nothing Corporate and Post Disco in the tasting room, a former mechanic’s garage located in the vintage filling station.
Taste Ice Wine at Ice House Winery, Canada
Known as ‘Canadian liquid gold,’ Ice House Winery makes ice wine, a dessert wine that’s made from grapes frozen while still on the vine. The rules for ice wine are strict too — it can only be ice wine if the grapes were picked off the vine at 18 degrees or below. Quite possibly the only winery in the world that encourages ‘getting slushed,’ you can’t leave without sampling one of their famous wine slushies, made from equal parts wine and ice.
Witness a Camel in the Vineyard at Le Domaine du Val d’Argan, Morocco
It’s not often you see a camel in a vineyard, but organic winery Val d’Argan prefers a more ecological method than tractors: dromedaries, which are one-hump camels. In fact, Goliath, the resident camel ‘plower’ can often be spotted among the vines during tours and tastings — he plows as close as possible to the foot of the vine! After sampling varieties made from grapes from the southern Rhône valley of France, explore the rest of Essaouira, a sleepy seaside village famous for its blue, winding historic town center.
See a Castle and Sip at Chillon Castle Winery, Switzerland
Av. de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
Chillon Castle Winery is a glorious embodiment of Swiss winemaking heritage tucked into a breathtaking corner of the world. With the shimmering Lake Geneva as its backdrop and the majestic Swiss Alps watching over like ancient guardians, this winery exudes an almost ethereal charm that’s guaranteed to steal your heart at first glance.
Step inside, and you’ll be transported into a world where tradition meets innovation, where the past and present coexist in harmony. At Chillon Castle Winery, they nurture their vines like cherished old tales, each grape soaking in the stories whispered by the centuries-old castle walls. The wines here are a mirror reflecting the winery’s exceptional terroir – the delicate interplay of the cool lake breezes, the crisp mountain air, and the unique mineral-rich soil derived from the nearby Alps. Entrance tickets are available ahead of time, as are day trips to Chillon Castle from Montreux.
Drink Wine in a Butterfly at Bodega SOMMOS, Spain
N-240, Km 155, 22300 Barbastro, Huesca, Spain
Want to sip wine in a butterfly? We mean in a winery shaped like a butterfly. Bodega SOMMOS, miles away from the more popular tasting regions of Rioja and Ribera in Spain, is not only shaped like a butterfly, but does everything possible to connect with their environment and surroundings. Their grapes are harvested under moonlight, and their experimental vineyards feature over 70 different grape varieties! The massive steel cubes designed by architect Jesús Marino Pascual hover around a central artificial lake and you can also tour the vineyards via horseback.
Float Amongst the Vines at Siam Winery, Thailand
9/2 Moo 3 Tumbon Bangtorud Mueang District Samut Sakhon 74000, Thailand
Known as a ‘floating vineyard,’ Siam Winery doesn’t actually float, but just appears to be floating, thanks to the small canals set next to the planted vines. The wines, such as Colombard, Shiraz, and Chenin Blanc, were created specifically to pair with spicy Thai cuisine, and we recommend sipping local varieties alongside lemongrass soup or pad Thai. You can also visit their sister vineyard in the stunning Thai countryside — Monsoon Valley Vineyard.
Dive for Your Wine, Literally, at Edivo Winery, Croatia
Drače 18 A Drače, Pelješac, 20246, Croatia
If you love diving and wine, book a scuba diving tour at Croatia’s first underwater winery, Edivo. Their wines are first aged above ground in amphorae (clay jugs) and then below the water for up to two years. The amphorae are locked into the cages to discourage scuba diving alcohol robbers. It seems like the underwater silence gives a special quality to the wines. Those not wanting to go underwater for their wine can visit the above-ground tasting room.
Get a Panoramic Experience at Cantine Marisa Cuomo, Italy
Via Giambattista Lama, 16/18, 84010 Furore SA, Italy
Situated on the breathtaking Amalfi Coast, a visit to Cantine Marisa Cuomo promises an immersive journey into the heart of Italian winemaking tradition. Renowned for producing wines of exceptional character, the winery lies dramatically nestled in steep cliff faces, overlooking the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. Winetravelers can expect panoramic vistas that will leave them spellbound, as they traverse the vineyards’ terraced slopes and explore the ancient cellars carved directly into the rock.
At Marisa Cuomo, you’ll be treated to a comprehensive guided tour detailing the fascinating process of how grapes cultivated on these craggy terrains are transformed into world-class wines. These tours often culminate in a curated tasting session where visitors can savor the distinct notes of the winery’s award-winning offerings, including the complex and minerally Furore Bianco or the intensely aromatic and structured Costa d’Amalfi Rosso. Add to this the warm Italian hospitality, and it’s no wonder that a visit to Marisa Cuomo is considered an essential stop on any Italian wine travel itinerary.
Taste Inside a Submarine (Above Water) at Sottomarino Winery, California, USA
485 Jefferson Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Located on San Francisco’s historical Treasure Island, Sottomarino’s tasting room is built inside a very special vessel — a submarine! You can taste (above water) Italian wines like Pinot Grigio, Primitivo and Muscat Canelli in a decommissioned Naval training facility (once known as the USS Buttercup) all while savoring the gorgeous views of the waterfront and Bay Bridge.
Go Volcanic at El Grifo, Canary Islands, Spain
Carretera, LZ-30, Km 11, 35559 San Bartolomé, Las Palmas, Spain
It’s true — you can grow grapes on a volcano. El Grifo Winery, located on the island of Lanzarote in Spain is proof of that. The oldest winery in the Canary islands, three types of wine are produced there from the Malvasía grape. The grape vines literally grow out of the coarse volcanic ash soil, surrounded by low volcanic stone walls to protect them from wind and dryness.
Tour a Nuclear Bunker at Chateau Siran, Bordeaux
13 Avenue du Comte JB de, Av. du Comté Lynch, 33460 Labarde, France
The wine at Chateau Siran is classic, but the tourism experience is quite unusual. You’ll start with a walk-around of historic artifacts. These range from 2,500-year-old amphoras to an eclectic range of Toby Jugs and tonnelets (small pottery barrels) historically used to serve wine.
Next up is the nuclear bunker, which was installed to protect the wine library – and family – during the cold war, opening (and shutting) its door for the first time in 1980. Visitors enter the bunker through a nuke-proof door made in Switzerland before descending into the 30,000-strong wine cellar. Bottles date back to 1912, so if disaster strikes while you’re in the area, you might have quite a party.
On sunny days, you can enjoy a light lunch and bottle of wine on the winery roof, surrounded by vineyards.
Go Llama Trekking at Divine Llama Winery, North Carolina
4126 Divine Llama Ln, East Bend, NC 27018
A two-mile trek with llamas, followed by a wine tasting, might not be the most obvious way to spend a day off, but it is memorable.
“It was an unexpected day of fun”, says Zippy Sandler of Champagne Living Media.
Divine Llama winery is home to the largest llama farm in the Southeast United States. It also has a winery.
“It’s nice having a furry companion to keep you company as you walk the beautiful property. Be sure to head to the tasting room for some of the area’s best wines. We were lucky enough to see some baby llamas in the barn. The wide-eyed faces are indelible in my memory,” Zippy says.
Roam Among Giant Sculptures at Donum Winery, Sonoma
24500 Ramal Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476
Are you a big fan of art? Or a fan of big art? In either case, you might enjoy a trip to Donum Winery in Sonoma, California.
“There are over 40 giant sculptures placed around the estate by artists including Keith Haring, Tracey Emin and Louise Bourgeois,” says Wine Communicator Charlotte Kristensen, who describes the estate’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as “top-class.”
Kristensen recommends booking in advance and checking the website to plan which sculptures you’d like to see. “Make sure you get a selfie with Richard Hudson’s ‘Love Me’ 2016, a sculpture of a giant polished steel heart,” she adds.
Dine-in a Crater at Domaine du Meteore, South of France
9 Route d’Aigues Vives, 34480 Cabrerolles, France
10,000 years ago, a meteor landed in Faugères in the South of France. It left a large crater. Today, that crater is filled with vines.
Domaine du Meteore now offers dinners (Wednesday – Saturday evenings) under the stars, deep inside the crater. At lunch, you can collect a picnic and make your way down. Produce is local and fresh, and portion sizes are large. The estate’s refreshing white wines are an ideal accompaniment on a warm day.
Sleep in Wine Barrels at Quinta da Pacheca, Portugal
Rua do Relógio do Sol 261, 5100-424 Lamego, Portugal
“Sleeping in the barrel was quite special, especially when you realize that the bung hole is a skylight over the bed, allowing you to look up at the stars as you fall asleep,” says wine enthusiast John Masserini who visited from Miami.
But the wine cellar is even better: “It has an amazing vintage cellar, with a stunning library of single harvest tawny colheitas going back to the ‘60s. The table wines are also fantastic, so join the tasting that includes those,” he suggests.
Guests who arrive around harvest can participate – including grape-trodding.
“Plan your trip WAY in advance,” Masserini suggests. “There are only 10 barrel rooms and they book up quickly – especially around harvest.”
Reach New Heights at Bodega Colome, Argentina
Ruta Provincial 52, Km. 20-Molinos, A4419 Salta, Argentina
With vines planted at up to 3,111 meters above sea level, Bodega Colome in Salta, Argentina, boasts some of the highest vineyards in the world.
Wine writer Jacqueline Coleman calls it a “must-see” for adventurous Winetravelers, but notes that getting there isn’t easy: “To get to the property, you have to drive miles up the mountain on a dirt road after you leave the tiny town of Molinos. You’ll need a good car, lots of water, and perhaps a satellite phone if you want to communicate with the outside world.”
But it’s worth the journey. “Driving through Salta is one of the most incredible road trips you can take,” she says.
Plus, as well as tasting wine and seeing those high-altitude vineyards, you can visit the James Turrell Museum – the only museum in the world dedicated to the American artist.
Taste in a Persian Palace at Darioush, Napa
4240 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558
One minute you’re driving down the Silverado trail, surrounded by famous vineyards. The next, you’re stepping into a large Persian palace; cavernous inside, with pillars inside and out. The wines are impressive, too. They will please fans of serious Napa wine.
Visit Darioush at sunset and you’ll be rewarded with a silhouette of pillars against a magnificent color palette.
Go Truffle Hunting at Tenuta Santa Maria Valverde, Valpolicella
Località Gazzo, 4, via gazzo, 4, 37020 Marano di Valpolicella VR, Italy
This experience in Valpolicella, Italy, combines food, wine, and adventure. You’ll start by following a truffle dog through the forests in search of the region’s famous black truffles.
“The hosts are very knowledgeable and welcoming, and the scenery is breathtaking. In early autumn, the colors of nature are amazing”, says Chiara Gomiero of handywineguide.com.
After hunting for truffles, you won’t have to hunt for your lunch, which will be served alongside Tenuta Santa Maria Valverde’s Amarone wine.
Experience History at Lopez de Heredia in Rioja, Spain
Av. Vizcaya, 3, 26200 Haro, La Rioja, Spain
Lopez de Heredia, one of Rioja’s oldest wineries, is responsible for making some of the region’s most traditional (and delicious) wines.
A visit to the estate is worthwhile, too, according to Master of Wine student Jo Lory. “The guides are brilliant, and the whole experience, from the founding story to the cobweb and penicillin mold festooned cellars is fascinating and unique.”
She says that the El Calado Cellar was a highlight: “It was excavated by hand out of the ground rock in the 1890s. The longest tunnel stretches over 200m out to the Ebro river, where you pop out of the dark to a view of their Gravonia vineyard.”
Taste the ‘Real American Grape’ at Chrysalis Vineyards, Virginia
39025 John Mosby Hwy, Middleburg, VA 20117
Norton is among a minority of grape varieties used to make wine that is indigenous to North America. This is why Jennifer McCloud, owner of Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia and the world’s largest plantings of Norton, calls it “the real American grape.”
At Chrysalis, you can taste it in its many guises: carbonic, off-dry, light, full-bodied and age-worthy – and even a pet-nat (don’t miss that one).
The property also makes its own cheese and has a large pizza oven. So you won’t go hungry during your visit, either.
Frequently Asked Questions about Unique Wineries
More Ways To Explore Wine Country Around The World
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