Have you ever noticed how being in a run-down room can make even the best wine taste like disappointment? On the other hand, a $3 bottle can taste amazing when surrounded by friends and a beautifully designed tasting room. The space you are in impacts your perception of what you eat and drink.
We know these five tasting rooms could make even the worst boxed wine taste out of this world. Luckily, when you visit, you’ll definitely be drinking the good stuff!
#1: R. Lopez de Heredia (Spain)
A visit to R. Lopez de Heredia is like taking a step back in time. The original bodega was designed and built in 1877 and the family has been building and expanding ever since. The sprawling 53,000+ square meter property is impressive in its own right, but the new visitor’s pavilion is the must-see spot. Designed by Zaha Hadid, the moveable tasting space is a metallic, wine carafe-shaped building that is the most architecturally unique room on the list. If the vineyard is a step back in time, the tasting room is a step into the future. And the future looks delicious!
#2: HALL Rutherford (Napa Valley, USA)
HALL Rutherford’s subterranean tasting room can only be described one way: over the top. Visitors can indulge in a 90-minute tasting tour that provides an intimate look at the wine-making process. It is a chance to taste the vineyard’s limited-production wines.
And what better way to enjoy exclusive wines than in an opulent tasting room. The space was carefully designed with limestone, reclaimed brick, a long, family-style dining table, and more than 35 pieces of contemporary art. But it is the room’s chandelier that makes HALL Rutherford worth seeing. This jaw-dropping piece was created to represent grapevine roots and is covered with 1500 Swarovski crystals. Like we said: Over. The. Top!
#3: By the Wine (Jose Maria de Fonseca, Portugal)
My family originates from Portugal, so I’ve always known the country’s wine is delicious and has more to offer than your standard Port. This small country is starting to spread its wine wings to the rest of the world and as a result, wine tourism is becoming big business. Wineries with public tasting rooms are popping up all over the country but our favorite has to be Jose Maria de Fonseca’s newest tasting room By the Wine.
Situated in the fashionable neighborhood of Chiado in Lisbon, de Fonseca has created a trendy space for wine tourists to sip their vino and dine on Portuguese style tapas. The long room provides family-style seating, perfect for socializing with fellow wine enthusiasts. But the real show-stopper is the barrel vaulted ceiling tiled with countless green wine bottles. You won’t be able to stop looking up in between sips!
#4: Chateau Haut-Brion (France)
Few places in the world are as synonymous with wine than France. So it’s only natural that some of the most stunning wineries in the world are located in Bordeaux. But if you venture just outside of the city, into the suburb of Pessac, you’ll come across one vineyard that will take your breath away. Chateau Haut-Brion has everything: gorgeous scenery, a history that dates back to the 1500s, and a grand tasting room that will make you feel like French royalty. Sipping French wine, in a grand ballroom, in a French chateau? It’s ok to pinch yourself. Yes, this is real life.
#5: Hewitson (South Australia)
While not technically a room, the deck at Hewitson in the world-famous Barossa Valley still offers a unique experience. Where else in the world can you sip wine while watching kangaroos hop through the vineyard? (Hint: almost any vineyard in Australia actually).
South Australia is covered with vineyards, many of which allow kangaroos to hop freely around the property. So what makes Hewitson stand out (besides their exceptional wine)? Their patio is steps from the vineyard, perfect for watching roos go about their day.