Following my article last month celebrating the health and social benefits of wine drinking, I thought it best to follow that up with a quick guide on some of the best wineries around the world. My selection isn’t based purely on a taste test, but more on the estates as a whole – their prominence, historical significance, architecture and aesthetic beauty.
Of course, there are many more hundreds of wonderful wineries and vineyards around the world producing barrels and barrels of fabulous wine stock, so by all means, explore far and beyond the limited number that I have captured here.
Bodegas Ysios, Laguardia, Spain
Conceived as a place of worship for wine, Bodegas Ysios has a unique design by Santiago Calatrava that features a long and curious structure consisting of waves created from gigantic beams of aluminium. This unmistakable landmark sits in an idyllic enclave at the foot of the Sierra de Cantabria producing expressive and delicious reserve wines.
Château Margaux, Margaux, France
This world famous winery features a striking neo-Palladian style villa and boasts a rich history. It was the first claret sold at Christie’s in the 18th-Century, it was endorsed by Thomas Jefferson as a vineyard of first quality and a bottle of Château Margaux 1787 holds the record as the most expensive ever broken, insured at an eye-watering $225,000 per unit.
Mission Hill Winery, British Columbia, Canada
Mission Hill Winery is located in the heart of British Colombia’s stunning Okanagan Valley and boasts an iconic 12-storey bell tower as its focal point. Heralded as the “Versailles of the Valley” by The New York Times, this prestigious winery is the winner of the Decanter World Wine Awards esteemed ‘World’s Best Pinot Noir Trophy’ and has been named ‘Canadian Winery of the Year’ numerous times.
Darioush Winery, California, United States
Designed to resemble a Persian palace in homage to the heritage of its entrepreneurial owner, Darioush Khaledi, this exquisite winery is a story of blending traditions. The estate comprises of 120 acres in the cooler microclimates of the Southern Napa Valley, which spans Mount Veeder and Oak Knoll, where vintner Steve Devitt has unlocked the full potential of the AVA vineyards.
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Bordeaux, France
Featuring one of the most picturesque chateaux’s in the entire world, Pichon Lalande is a winery in Bordeaux owned by the Rouzaud family, which also owns the Champagne house Louis Roederer. As the most famous Médoc estate to utilise a high Merlot component, Pichon Lalande’s self-titled signature wine, Château Pichon Lalande, has a softer tannic structure than other Pauillac wines.
Marqués de Riscal, Alvara, Spain
Completely revamped in 2006 by famed architect Frank Gehry, the traditional Marqués de Riscal winery has been transformed into a contemporary avant-garde luxury retreat. It boasts a rooftop lounge with spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Riojan vineyards and Elciego’s medieval cathedral, as well as a Vinoteca bar with in excess of 1,000 bottles and the Vinothérapie Spa boasting a range of grape-based treatments.
Castello di Amorosa, California, United States
Castello di Amorosa is a winery in the world famous Napa Valley offering guided tasting and wine pairing tours as well as a two-acre subterranean cellar. The authentically built 13th-century Tuscan castle features 107 guest rooms, a moat, drawbridge, interior courtyard, defensive towers, torture chamber, chapel, 500-year-old fireplace and great hall decorated with fresco paintings by Italian artists.
Ledson Winery and Vineyards, California, United States
Located in the heart of Sonoma Valley among acres of rolling vineyards and pastoral calm are the Ledson Winery and its iconic French-Normandy castle. The estate specialises in small varietal lots reflecting the diversity of its appellations and boasts handcrafted tasting bars, a stocked gourmet market and picnic areas dotted around impeccable grounds populated by pockets of majestic 100-year-old oak trees.
Bodega SOMMOS, Somontano, Spain
Encased in a prism of glass, the Bodega SOMMOS winery’s iconic landmark building is the brainchild of architect Jesús Marino Pascual. Located in the heart of Somontano, the estate cultivates 23 types of white grapes and 50 types of red to craft a broad range of wines including varieties of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Moristel, Parraleta, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewurztraminer.
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova, Alentejo, Portugal
The Herdade da Malhadinha Nova is a family-run, working country farmhouse and winery in an idyllic bucolic setting. It features a tranquil, whitewashed boutique hotel with airy rooms that contain exposed wooden beam ceilings and heated terracotta stone floors. There is a vinotherapy spa, a Michelin-starred chef serving gourmet regional dishes and an infinity pool overlooking 27 hectares of vineyards that produce exceptional Malhadinha wines.