Taste local wines in the sun, enjoy long, wine-fuelled lunches and even help out with the harvest at our pick of Europe's boutique wineries, family-run estates and vineyards with rooms
Looking for the best vineyard hotels? Want to go on a wine holiday? Read our ideas for vineyards with rooms, family-run estates and boutique wineries below, then check out our favourite UK vineyards with accommodation.
La Forestiera Planeta Wine Estate, Sicily, Italy
Unsurprisingly it’s all about wine at the Planeta Wine Estate, just outside Menfi in south-western Sicily. As one of the island's most well-established and highly regarded wine producers, Planeta has five different territories dotted around Sicily but Menfi is where it all began, back in the 16th century. At nearby La Forestiera (part of the estate) there are 14 guestrooms set amid regimented vines, plus a restaurant with a menu informed by its surroundings – the herbs of the countryside and seafood from the nearby coast.
Sip a glass of Nero d’Avola on the pool terrace or visit one of Planeta’s wineries for an in-depth tasting. As well as the pool, in the warmer months guests have access to the Lido Fiori on the beach at Porto Palo di Menfi, 10 minutes’ drive away. Planeta also has vast olive groves at Capparriva producing DOP Val di Mazzara oils – guests can sign up for a tasting and learn about harvesting and pressing.
Doubles from £211, check availability at booking.com
L'AND, Alentejo, Portugal
This elegantly luxurious 26-suite spa hotel combines contemporary design and gourmet cooking, set among vineyards in Portugal’s Alentejo region, an hour’s drive from Lisbon. A meal in the hotel’s futuristic, pendant-hung restaurant, whose glass walls frame the vineyards, is the big draw. Chef José Tapadejo was born nearby in Castelo de Vide, and trained in Portugal, but he’s also worked in Scandinavia, so his dishes are creative interpretations of Alentejan classics, often using fermented and foraged ingredients – local black pork, scarlet prawns and pike-perch, on a cushion of Alentejo’s must-eat migas.
Being surrounded by six hectares of vineyards (all organic), you’ll want to taste L’AND’s own wines, made from a blend of native grapes, such as Touriga Nacional, and international ones such as Alicante Bouschet and Syrah. Pick of the bunch is L’AND’s full-bodied Reserva Red 2016. On site you can do tastings, and vineyard and winery tours, and the hotel can arrange visits to neighbouring vineyards, too.
Doubles from £205, check availability at booking.com
Torralbenc, Menorca, Spain
A cluster of 19th-century whitewashed farm buildings, with views out over the sparkling Med, Torralbenc is now a luxury hotel, surrounded by 70 hectares of fields, orchards and vineyards in the south-western corner of Menorca. The restored estate not only makes its own olive oil but also produces wine.
Starting with just five hectares of vines in 2006, the property now has 16 hectares dedicated to growing grapes. Its first wine was bottled in 2016 and the estate now produces a merlot and syrah blend (all red berries and spicy black pepper with a tinge of toasted vanilla), a bright rosé from indigenous monstrell and parellada grapes (floral with strawberries and cherries on the palate) and an easy-drinking white blended from sauvignon blanc, viognier, chardonnay and parellada with citrus, stone fruits and floral notes.
Guests can book a vineyard experience with the hotel’s oenologist, exploring the vineyards on foot or by bike, learning how the wines are produced and enjoying a tasting, with local Menorcan cheeses, among the vines.
Doubles from £210, check availability at booking.com
Arilds Vingård, Skåne, Sweden
Thanks to the region’s fertile soil and relatively mild winters, Skåne in south Sweden has, over the past two decades, become one of Europe’s most northerly wine-growing regions. As well as offering wine tours and tastings, and cosy accommodation, this family-run winery has a restaurant serving traditional country cooking that pairs well with its own reds, whites and rosés, as well as cocktails made with its own gin.
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Simple, well-cooked dishes include the likes of fried mackerel, sourced from local fishermen, with boiled potatoes and a mustard and dill sauce, or local brisket with potato cakes and coleslaw.
Doubles from £203, check availability at booking.com
Village Castigno, Hérault, France
In the small village of Assignan, Village Castigno is a whimsical boutique hotel peppered between old village houses. On warm evenings the gentle hum of Nina Simone flows from the open windows of La Petit Table, while chef Pablo leans out of the window, picking fresh rosemary and sage. Guests, staff and locals from the village relax in the central square with a glass of vin rouge while children chase each other down narrow paved alleys until bowls brimming with mussels are brought to the table and all goes quiet.
Around the village are 42 hectares of vineyard, all of which produce organic wines. Take an hour and a half’s open buggy ride around the vineyards with Marc and explore hot springs and stunning views, before a tasting in the newly opened wine chai (wine store). Our favourite was the Terra Casta, a red wine with a peppery flavour (derived, as sommelier Charlotte explained, through natural infusion from the wild sage, jennifer and thyme that grow in bushes next to the grapes).
Doubles from £145, check availability at booking.com
The Good Life, Syros, Greece
The villas and studios at this aptly named organic retreat each come with kitchens (help yourself to plums, peaches, figs and lemons from the farm to pep up your holiday breakfasts). Guests congregate around a large outdoor kitchen in the evenings to cook and share stories, and once a week they’re invited to join a (complimentary) communal dinner – think barbecued beef fillet with a range of pitta breads and salads – accompanied by generous amounts of Greek wine. Grapes in the vineyards are also used to distil juice for tsipouro (similar to Italian grappa), and guests are given a small bottle to take home with them.
Join the grape-picking holidays for lower accommodation prices, long lunches in the vineyards and sunset wine tastings, with a full introduction to traditional and newer, lesser-known Greek wines.
Doubles from £130, check availability at booking.com
Rathfinny Estate, East Sussex, England
It may be young, but Rathfinny Estate in the South Downs is still one of Britain’s most beautiful wineries. Vines are separated by rows of wild flowers, there are glimpses of the Sussex heritage coast throughout, and visitors can stay overnight in a stylishly converted 1860s barn.
Head chef Chris Bailey has curated lavish picnic hampers and seafood takeaway dishes (crayfish po’boys, lobster with marsh samphire, Porthilly rock oysters) to enjoy in a quiet spot on the vineyard with a glass of Sussex sparkling wine.
Rooms at the Flint Barns are simple but have expensive bathroom fixtures, quality bedsteads and access to a luxurious communal living room.
Doubles from £100, check availability at booking.com
Son Brull, Mallorca, Spain
Guests at gastronomic bolthole Son Brull can ask the kitchen to pack a gourmet picnic if they’re heading out to hike or bike around the surrounding hills. This elegant finca, or farmhouse, in the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana, dates back to the 12th century but the approach to food and wine is bang up to date.
The kitchen garden, where chef Rafel Perello sources the ingredients for his inventive menus and cookery classes, brims with home-grown herbs, salad leaves and vegetables, while the trees surrounding the hotel are laden with oranges, lemons and figs. The hotel has its own organic vineyard: pair its wines with dinner in the fine-dining restaurant, 365, where seasonal eight-course tasting menus showcase local Mallorcan ingredients. More casual, bistro-style, dining can be had in the bar (with its ancient olive press) during the winter or on the terrace in sunnier months.
Doubles from £242, check availability at booking.com
Il Borro, Tuscany, Italy
Il Borro is a true working estate, set in the remains of a medieval village in Valdarno valley, a wilder, more rustic corner of Tuscany. Grapes are harvested entirely by hand and taken to the winery, 700 olive trees provide oil, and fields of buckwheat are a playground for honeybees, who repay the hospitality by creating a unique bittersweet, slightly spicy honey. Hectare after hectare of organic veg provide the hotel’s three-floored osteria and Tuscan bistro with the ultimate kitchen garden.
Every September, guests at Il Borro can take part in the wine harvest and feast alongside the workers and owners (the glamorous Ferragamo family) at this 800-hectare estate. Think bottles of the estate’s wines plonked on long make-shift banqueting tables under white parasols, and a huge porchetta crackling away on a BBQ set up next to vines of San Giovese grapes ready to be harvested for the next vintage.
The hotel has village cottages as well as several farmhouse suites – albeit farmhouses that come with infinity pools, vine-covered terraces and dining rooms where you can whip up your own meals from the veg and eggs in Il Borro’s organic produce boxes (top up with a trip to Arezzo market).
Doubles from £426, check availability at booking.com
Butul Family Farmstead, Istria, Slovenia
In the lush green hills above Slovenia's short coastline, Butul Family Farmstead is a family-run vineyard and farm. Set in an oasis of olive, pomegranate and fig trees, beehives and vines, it offers B&B accommodation as well as meals. Everything here is made from scratch: the breakfast spread includes three-day fermented bread, home-preserved anchovies, tangy pickled aubergines, thick honey, and fig jams. Taste the estate’s Istrian wines, including the traditional orange wine. Keen ambassadors of a slow Mediterranean way of life, the Butuls are a genuine representation of Istrian Slovenia.
Doubles from £96, check availability at booking.com
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