Sipping wine at a châteaux in France, Tuscan farmhouses in Italy and at chic vineyards in Napa Valley are all amazing, but there’s something to be said about a truly unique wine experience. Here are some very special, unusual wineries around the world that deviate just a little bit from your average tasting experience. For a memorable wine visit, check them out!
Tank Garage Winery, California, USA
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.
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 icewine 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.
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.
Bodega SOMMOS, 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.
Siam Winery, 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.
Edivo Winery, Croatia
If you love diving and wine, book a scubadiving 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 scubadiving 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.
Sottomarino Winery, California, USA
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.
El Grifo, Canary Islands, 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.