Thursday 18 February 2021 marks National Drink Wine Day, and in celebration of this much-loved occasion, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the world’s finest wine destinations and hotels that are a must-visit for any oenophile once travel restrictions are eased.
From the new 55,000sqm World of Wine district in Porto to the new Four Seasons in Taormina, Napa Valley’s first resort within a winery; a phenomenal wine experience at Europe’s largest vineyard in Verdura, Sicily, and a Greek wine hotspot, there is a glorious, wine-filled destination for every oenophile on this exclusive list.
San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel
Opening in mid-2021, San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel will be the new hotel taking over the iconic San Domenico Palace on the hilltop of Taormina in Sicily, Italy. The property comprises an ancient Dominican monastery from the 15th century, as well as a Grand Hotel Wing that was added in 1896, with guest rooms and public spaces featuring original architecture and facades from the historic building. Other features include clear views of the surrounding waters and Mount Etna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, beach club, lush gardens, and several restaurants and bars including the two-Michelin Star Restaurant, Principe Cerami.
With Four Seasons, a crafted selection of “Only in Sicily” experiences will help guests discover the island’s authentic character – whether its with a morning trek up Mount Etna, or lunch at a local winery. Guests can also visit the medieval village of Castiglione di Sicilia and enjoy tastings at top vineyards, where fertile volcanic soil produces exceptional wines.
For more than a century, San Domenico Palace has welcomed the world’s most illustrious guests – from Oscar Wilde and King Edward VIII to Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. Now, as a Four Seasons hotel, this iconic venue begins a new era, delivering the highest standards of personalised service.
WOW (World of Wine) Porto
WOW is a 55,000sqm urban regeneration of the historic Vila Nova de Gaia area in Porto, Portugal, which opened on 31st July 2020. The district is extremely diverse and is home to a series of experiences featuring educational presentations, interactive displays and historical artefacts. With6 different museums and 9 restaurants, bars and cafes, WOW brings Portugal’s identity and heritage to life.
- The Wine Experience demystifies wine, taking visitors on a sensorial journey of discovery – exploring regions, climates, grape varieties and production methods.
- The Chocolate Story will take visitors on an exploration of its rich history and flavoursome world.
- The Bridge Collection – 9,000 Years of Drinking tells the story of humanity through the evolution of drinking vessels.
- Porto Region Across The Ages shares Porto’s history, helping to put the city, its people and culture into context.
- Planet Cork will help visitors discover cork and explore this underplayed sustainable and innovative industry.
- Finally, the Fashion & Fabric Museum, due to open in Spring 2021, covers all things fashion, discovering Portugal’s fashion history and culture
WOW is also home to a series of F&B outlets including fish restaurant Golden Catch, Portuguese cuisine at VP and vegetarian Root & Vine. The project is spearheaded by The Fladgate Partnership, owners of iconic Port wine brands such as Taylor, Croft, Fonseca, and Krohn, as well as luxury hotels in Portugal including The Yeatman and Infante Sagres in Porto, and The Vintage House Hotel in the Douro Valley.
Amanzoe Villas, Greece
Nestled on the highest point of the hilltops of Porto Heli, on the coast of the Peloponnese, is the Amanzoe Villas, the perfect location for wine lovers looking for a second home. The hillsides surrounding the Amanzoe Villas are home to over 200 vineyards of the native Agiorgitiko grape, a versatile red wine grape believed to have been grown in the region for more than 3,000 years. The property also overlooks 93 hectares of undulating olive groves and offers spectacular and unparalleled views of the Argo-Saronic Gulf and surrounding countryside.
The nearby, well-known and family-run Domaine Bairaktaris Vineyard is also open all year round, produces over 200,000 bottles per annum and looks out onto the beautiful surroundings of Porto Heli. Also nearby, Nemea is an understated wine region around 90 minutes away from Amanzoe. Known for being the centre of Greek Mythology and where Hercules overcame the Nemean Lion, it is now dubbed as a wine-lover’s paradise and the industry’s best-kept secret. Nemea also boasts up to 3,500 years of winemaking history. The area is typically known for its light and fruity red wines, however, in recent years has also become well known for its rosé production and exportation in the summer months in particular. Since antiquity, the Peloponnese region has been connected with wine production and still, today, produces some of the worlds best and fruitiest wines, and to complement this also is home to some of the world’s most famous olive groves and freshest local produce.
The villas, which all have their own pools and spacious living and dining areas, are incredibly private with uninterrupted views of the Adriatic Sea and have the added option of being serviced by the nearby Amanzoe hotel, offering a huge array of amenities such as private chefs, a 2,850-square-metre Aman Spa and exclusive access to the Beach Club. They make for the perfect base for exploration of the wine-lovers paradise that surrounds them.
At Amanzoe the villas are available to rent and are also for sale. For those taking time to invest in the perfect second home, this opportunity means they’re able to try the villa for a holiday before committing to purchasing their own property – where they work with the developer to create a unique offering in luxury real estate.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley
Opening this Spring, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley will be the ultimate dream destination for any oenophile as Napa Valley’s first and only resort set within a working winery. The hotel boasts 85 rooms, with an on-site, fully operational, organically hand-farmed 5.6-acre vineyard and winery operated by award-winning winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.
Located in the laid back town of Calistoga, the property infuses a farmhouse-chic design with comfort and culture. The hotel also boasts stunning views of the surrounding vineyards, mountains and forest. Other highlights include two outdoor pools hidden amongst the vineyards, a world-class spa and a farm-to-table dining experience by Chef Erik Anderson.
Verdura Resort, Sicily
Verdura Resort, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Sicily, is a sophisticated, luxury resort spanning 230 hectares of Mediterranean coastline and countryside, with facilities and experiences for guests of all ages. The 153 rooms, 44 suites and 6 pool suites, designed by the British hotel group’s Director of Design, Olga Polizzi, fuse modern interiors with eco-architecture, with firm roots in Sicilian culture along with a stylish flair. The flagship spa offers a range of holistic treatments as well as thalassotherapy, and the resort’s organic farm is the sustainable source for the spa’s Irene Forte Skincare products.
With 2km of private beach, Kyle Phillips golf courses, a world-class spa, excellent kids club, multiple restaurants with gourmet and casual dining options, set against the backdrop of charming Sicilian villages, ancient Greek and Roman sites and the blue Mediterranean Sea, Verdura Resort is the perfect Mediterranean gateway.
One of Sicily’s greatest treasures is its wine. Just a few kilometres from the resort is the start of one of the most “intoxicating” wine routes on the whole island. The hotel offers an itinerary that covers the Terre Sicane – named after the Sicani people who arrived on the island in the 12th century BC, and includes the towns of Menfi, Sciacca, Santa Margherita del Belice, Montevago, Sambuca di Sicilia and Contessa d’Entellina.
Accompanied by the hotel’s chefs and sommeliers, guests will visit the great wineries behind the historic labels, as well as those of young wine growers who have now brought the exquisiteness of Sicilian viticulture to the world. Also a few minutes away, The Terre Sicane, arranged in perfect symmetry with the rows of vines adorning the hills, are home to the largest concentration of vineyards in Europe. The first vignerons were the Greeks who, 2,500 years ago, imported the vine and wine culture they had learned in the Eastern Mediterranean to Sicily.
(Photo: Amanzoe Villas, Greece)
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