Be it harvesting, pressing, or sipping the first-pressed juice at a grape-pickers’ luncheon, being part of the grape harvest is an unforgettable adventure. Here are Europe’s 10 best destinations for joining harvest toils and traditions or exploring European wines throughout the year.
We have created a list of 10 of the finest places in Europe to experience a wine harvest, whether grape picking and treading or tasting the first juice and lunching like the pickers. They’re just as charming all year-round – whenever your personal cellar requires inspiration.
1. Down in the Douro Valley - The Yeatman, Portugal
Where: The Yeatman is located in the heart of Vila Nova de Gaia in Porto, Portugal, high on a hilltop on the south bank of the Douro River, with panoramic views of the city and river.
Wine experience: Set amid the historic Port wine cellars, The Yeatman is one of Europe’s leading wine hotels with the largest, most comprehensive cellar of Portuguese wines in the world. While staying here, take part in the harvest experiences in the Douro Valley (from September to October) at Quinta da Roêda and Quinta do Panascal.
2. The essence of Mallorca - Son Brull Boutique Hotel & Spa, Spain
Where: This former hillside monastery in Majorca rests at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana, a World Heritage Site, and near to the best beaches on the island.
Wine experience: Surrounded by rows of vineyards, Son Brull’s wines are made exclusively for the hotel by the Can Axartell winery, which you can visit down in a valley south of Pollença in the foothills of the Tramuntana Mountains, about two kilometres from Son Brull. Join the revelry in the vines as Son Brull’s sommelier heads to Can Axartell during the grape harvest to gather the best of the bunch.
3. The best of Bordeaux - La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez, France
Where: At the heart of Bordeaux, tucked away in a 19th-century manor house, La Grande Maison is home to the visionary, Bernard Magrez, and the art of great wines.
Wine experience: La Grande Maison is located in the only place in the world where you can find Bordeaux's Crus Classés or related wines, namely 259 wines, including 172 Grands Crus Classés. Experience the art of the harvest yourself as part of the Bernard Magrez Luxury Wine Experience, with expert teams on hand to offer or create personalised stays, events and tours.
4. Malbec and Me - Château de Mercuès, France
Where: Situated in what was once a medieval castle, Château de Mercuès is today a wine-estate hotel with a restaurant and cellars cared for by owner and winemaker, Bertrand Gabriel Vigouroux.
Wine experience: Celebrate the spirit of the harvest by visiting the hotel’s exceptional wine cellars that are built into the bedrock underlying the castle grounds. It is here in the twentieth-century cellars that the great Malbec wines and vintages are produced and aged. Taste them for yourself during your visit – to be a part of what Vigouroux calls, “the renaissance of an ancient grape variety”.
5. The grapes of Provence - Coquillade Village, France
Where: Welcome to one of most beautiful regions of France… sweet Provence. Located on a hill overlooking a winery, Coquillade Village is situated in Gargas in the Vaucluse, near Roussillon, with views over the Luberon and Mont-Ventoux.
Wine experience: This is the ideal setting in which to celebrate the wines of Provence, with a chance to get up close to the vines of the 36-hectare vineyard and to delight the palate with the Aureto wines during a wine tasting.
6. A private invite - L’Albereta, Italy
Where: This ivy-clad boutique hotel rests in the rolling hills and vineyards of Lombardy, in the Franciacorta region of Italy – an area famous for its sparkling wines. In September each year, the countryside fills with locals harvesting grapes.
Wine experience: The festival of grape-picking in Franciacorta is one of the most awaited occasions in the Italian calendar. While staying at L’Albereta, visit their cellars at Bellavista and Contadi Castaldi on an exclusive tour, with private tastings. At Bellavista, a stone's throw away, you can witness the harvest process of their sparkling wine and the rituals of the occasion.
7. In the heart of Tuscany - Hotel Borgo San Felice, Italy
Where: Surrounded by 140 hectares of grapevines, Borgo San Felice lies in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine district in Italy.
Wine experience: Take this occasion to savour fine Chianti Classicos and visit impeccably restored wine cellars to experience the ‘San Felice method’ of combining traditional elements and scientific innovation first hand. Follow the experts as they weave a tale of their wines for you, with a guided tasting, to complement the experience.
8. Sideways in Switzerland - Castello del Sole Beach Resort & Spa, Switzerland
Where: Castello del Sole sits on the shores of Lake Maggiore, in Ascona in Ticino, in the south of Switzerland.
Wine experience: Visit the hotel’s 150 hectares of Terreni alla Maggia SA wine farm on a guided tour during harvest time or other times of the year and when you’re done chasing tractors and pinching grapes, be sure to savour their quality wines over a meal at the hotel’s one Michelin Star Locanda Barbarossa Restaurant.
9. In the land of Riesling - Burg Schwarzenstein, Germany
Where: Overlooking the Rheingau wine-growing region with views of the Rhine Valley, Burg Schwarzenstein is a magnificently restored castle, surrounded by the Schwarzenstein vineyards.
Wine experience: Discover the world of Riesling amid the lush Schwarzenstein vines and sample the Kabinett, Spätlese and Erste Lage wines in the vineyards where they were produced.
10. An intimate affair - Mörwald Hotel am Wagram, Austria
Where: Mörwald Hotel am Wagram lies in the small wine-growing village of Feuersbrunn.
Wine experience: Here in the heart of the Wagram wine region guests can take time to learn more about wine culture, visiting the vineyards and experiencing the excitement of harvest time first-hand.