Sheltered at the base of the Andes in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, the 1,500-acre Vines of Mendoza offers the full spectrum of the wine-making process. Guests who sleep in one of its spacious villas can spend days riding horses with real gauchos up the silvery peaks surrounding the valley, indulging at the spa, or actually getting their hands dirty and planting vines that will grow into robust Malbecs. Meals are served throughout the property during the day (in the vineyards, in the winery, on a secluded patch of heaven), while at night one of South America’s most famous chefs, Francis Mallmann, cooks everything from beef to beets on open fires at Siete Fuegos. Naturally, the wine list is stellar; don’t miss watching the sunset beyond the sliding doors of your villa, toasting the breathtaking view.
Art, design, and great wine come together at the wonderfully eccentric Jackalope Hotel on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula. The cool climate and deep volcanic soils mean the Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Pinot Gris produced on the 28-acre property are as memorable as the conceptual artwork by unexpected creatives like fashion designer Rick Owens and Melbourne-based artist Emily Floyd (you can’t miss her 21-foot-tall sculpture of the hotel’s namesake). Jackalope calls its guest quarters “terraces” or “vineyard rooms,” but the top of the food chain are the “lairs”—huge lofted suites that come with daily Champagne/caviar service, massage treatments, and uninterrupted views of the vines. Spend some time in the original 1876 Edwardian homestead, formerly called McCormick House, which has been transformed into Flaggerdoot, the hotel’s cocktail and wine bar. It’s here that the best stories of the day are exchanged over bottles of 2015 Rare Hare Shiraz Grenache or the 2017 Will Creek Chardonnay.
Embrace each morning as you awaken at the UNESCO-listed Val d’Orcia in the Brunello di Montalcino wine-making region. After a hearty breakfast, stroll past ancient castle ruins, a medieval church, an organic vegetable garden, an 18-hole golf course, and a cooking school—or stay within the Borgo, the historic, on-property village that comprises part of the 5,000-acre country estate. Repeat guests are huge fans of the Zodiac collection, a rare yearly vintage that corresponds with the Chinese calendar. This year, the Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo-founded Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco introduces its Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012 Year of the Boar. Share a bottle in the terraces, pergolas, and restored 17th- and 18th-century farmhouses that have been reimaged as standalone villas.
Life, or in this case, the Hotel Marqués de Riscal, imitates art. Architect Frank Gehry took inspiration for this 21st-century château from the distinctive mesh that envelops every Marqués de Riscal bottle. The resulting composition of rectilinear prisms with cascading pink, gold, and silver titanium ribbons is dramatic yet playful, with zigzagging windows and tilted walls strategically placed throughout the 43 accommodations—all of which overlook not only the vineyards but the medieval town of Elciego. Switch from Rioja Reserva to Gran Reserva throughout the 21- or 14-course tasting menu at the Michelin-star Restaurante Marqués de Riscal, or wander an eight-million-bottle cellar that includes some dating back to 1862. The knowledgeable team of sommeliers can give the backstory to almost every vintage.
Dive into the steep, terraced hills of the Douro region via Six Senses Douro Valley’s wine program, an instructional class that differentiates between Ports and Douro wines and the grapes that blend together to create each. With access to more than 80 grape varieties in the valley, the hotel can arrange boat rides down the Douro River to Quinta Nova, even helping guests to produce their own unique blend. The resort’s estate covers 19 acres, including the 57 guest quarters; pay a little extra for one that comes with a private pool, garden, or stunning panorama of the vine-striped hills of the valley.
For some added viticultural education, dine in the duo of restaurants and peruse the wine library, which provides an excellent history of the valley as told through its vintages.
At Les Sources Caudalie, each of the 47 guest rooms possess a unique name, from Claret to Archipels (“archipelagos”), with a decor to match. Succumb to the rows of Château Smith Haut Lafitte grapes, which encircle the farmhouse-style buildings that house both the guests and the wine. Discover the estate’s bio-precision process, a way to promote biodiversity and balance through the planting of hedges, natural grass cover, and the use of horse-powered labor. The Château features a “positive energy” Stealth Cellar: a prototype room that captures and transforms CO2 (a greenhouse gas and a byproduct of the fermentation process) into sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda). End each day by savoring a 2010 Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, at Les Sources Caudalie’s two-Michelin-star restaurant, La Grand’Vigne.