Guests experience wine tourism at more than 250 Relais & Châteaux properties, 60 of which produce wine. On these estates, "sense of place" takes center stage where terroir and passion collide to produce some of the world's most interesting wines, all done with sustainability at top of mind.
Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, Yosemite National Park
The vineyard: “Responsibly made wines are a priority to us,” says Jonathan Rosenson of Château du Sureau in California. “We source organic food. Why shouldn’t we do the same for wine?” In this nine-acre paradise near Yosemite National Park, guests can experience organic and natural wine, including those from Coquelicot Estate Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is part of the Château du Sureau family. The label is certified organic and winemaker Mike Roth is a pioneer on California’s natural wine scene for his adoption of biodynamic practices.
The estate: This majestic hotel is in one of America’s most stunning natural landscapes, reminiscent of the French countryside, with beauty and old-world charm. The property’s elegant interior is resplendent with antiques, tapestries, and artwork, while the guest rooms are named after herbs and flowers.
Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena
The vineyard: In California’s Napa Valley, Meadowood Estate focuses on wines made in nearby vineyards and wineries to reduce the impact of shipping. Research shows that wine transportation is responsible for over 60% of the industry’s carbon footprint. “Keeping the vast majority of our selections local not only helps us to celebrate Napa Valley winegrowing, but it reduces the carbon footprint of our wine program,” says Kelli A. White, Director of Education of The Learning Center at Meadowood Estate.
The estate: Meadowood has an intimate, club-like ambiance and the 36 cozy, lodge-style rooms have cottage-like interiors. Closed since a wildfire damaged Napa Valley in 2020, The Restaurant at Meadowood, headed by three-Michelin star chef Christopher Kostow, is anticipated to reopen next year. Chef Kostow draws upon the singular beauty and bounty of the Napa Valley to cook food that is thoughtful, personal, and in concert with the surrounding community and their collaborators. On their 3.5-acre culinary farm, an emphasis is placed on growing unique, organic produce - experimenting with new varieties and seasonal growing methods for The Restaurant and The Estate.
Barossa Valley, Australia
Hentley Farm Restaurant, Seppeltsfield
The vineyard: Daryl Spencer is in charge of operations at Hentley Farm, where preservation adds meaning to an already elevated travel experience. For more than 20 years, the Barossa Valley estate has been dedicated to careful production through minimal intervention. “We believe that the more we look after the land and our resources, the better wine and food we will produce and the more memorable the experience will be for our guests,” he says.
The restaurant: The restaurant occupies elegantly restored stables overlooking the wine cellar. Chef Clare Falzon serves modern Australian cuisine using local ingredients, designed to be paired with the estate wines. The team takes care to minimize waste: surplus fruit is used to make preserves and irrigation needs are met through the wineries’ own catchments and well.
Villa Korta Katarina & Winery, Orebić
The vineyard: Producing about 60,000 bottles per year, Villa Korta Katarina’s philosophy is to maintain the balance between viticulture and nature. Natural farming techniques ensure environmental responsibility and optimum grape quality. On the peninsula’s slopes – up to 1,800 feet above sea level, but sheltered from harsh elements –, the site enjoys ideal sun exposure, resulting in wines that are rich in flavor and high in alcohol and tannins.
The estate: Perched above the Adriatic Sea, the terrace and suites of the Villa Korta Katarina overlook the water. Each of the eight suites has a unique signature and soothing décor in pastel shades, personalized with primarily local antiques.
Château de Valmer, La Croix-Valmer
The vineyard: Château de Valmer represents the spirit of the small vineyards of southeastern France, demonstrating a commitment to producing wine with the least impact by reducing chemicals and synthetic inputs. The property’s four acres of vines are grown organically to preserve the richness of the terroir.
The estate: On the St. Tropez peninsula, a majestic, palm-lined avenue connects Château de Valmer to the Mediterranean Sea. The former mansion’s rooms exude all the authentic charm of the Provençal countryside, while the 6,000-square-foot Carita & Decléor spa is dedicated to well-being and relaxation.
Château de Berne, Flayosc
The vineyard: Château de Berne is situated in the heart of the Côtes de Provence appellation. The estate boasts a 353-acre vineyard at the heart 2500-acre nature, which is certified organic and High Environmental Value (HVE), meaning no chemicals are used in cultivation. The estate also relies on fully electric-powered vehicles.
The estate: Guests can enjoy accommodations with magnificent views of the grounds, a swimming pool, and a vast Cinq Mondes Spa. In 2021, the Michelin-starred restaurant earned the Michelin Green Star award for sustainable practices, as it maintains strict environmental and ethical standards. The establishment’s chef, Louis Rameau, picks his produce in the hotel’s vegetable garden, transforming these natural treasures into delicious dishes that express the very soul of their ingredients.
Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais, Cavaion Veronese - Lake Garda, Veneto
The vineyard: In the Veneto region, Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais cultivates 57 organically farmed acres that are “a viticultural and natural oasis” where wine lovers can immerse themselves in the culture, nature, and terroir of a treasured space. The property is the site of great biodiversity. The signature cuvée, a strong-bodied red wine named Oseleta, is made entirely from the indigenous Veronese grape of the same name. There are also very special guests here: five beehives, each containing 50,000 bees that benefit pollination activity.
The estate: Above Lake Garda, the 17th-century country mansion and chapel sit in a dreamlike setting amid majestic trees, vineyards, and a distinctive Italian garden. The splendid legacies of the noble families who have lived here over the centuries await guests in the 35 rooms and suites, as well as in the Michelin-starred restaurant, where chef Marco Marras practices his culinary mastery.
Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia, Salina, Aeolian Islands, Sicily
The vineyard: Capofaro Locanda & Malvasia in Salina won the Robert Parker Green Emblem 2021 ranking it among the 24 most sustainable wine producers in the world. The property was awarded the Relais & Châteaux Sustainability Trophy 2020 for accomplishments in mindful tourism that protects natural resources. As a member of SOStain Sicilia, the environmental accountability protocol for Sicilian viticulture, the property actively measures and certifies its commitment to reduced chemicals, soil preservation, water use, socio-economic progress, and other key standards.
The estate: This establishment does more than promote its convictions – it practices a wholly sustainable lifestyle, from no plastic in the bathrooms to no printed brochures. Each room opens onto a terrace facing the sea, where the fascinating silhouettes of neighboring volcanoes stand out against the sky. At the restaurant, the chef starts his day by picking produce in his kitchen garden overlooking the pool and transforms ingredients grown on site, as well as locally caught fish, into dishes steeped in Mediterranean culture.