In 1999, in France’s Bordeaux region, pharmacologist Joseph Vercauteren opened the world’s first wine spa. For years, Vercauteren observed that the French suffered from less heart disease and lived longer than other people. His research led him to attribute those healthy qualities to grapes, and from his studies, he developed a healing process called vinotherapy.
Vinotherapy integrates wine or grape bi-products into the body’s healing process, employing unfermented juices, must, and oil of Chardonnay, Chianti, Pinot, and other grapes. The fruit’s extracts add antioxidants and polyphenols to the body without the side effects of over-the-counter or prescription drugs. Polyphenols, found in greater abundance in the seeds of red grapes, are anti- inflammatory vessel protectors that help prevent tumors and wrinkles. Grape extracts include numerous other benefits, such as vitamins A, C, B1, and B2.
To add to the external benefits of grape extracts, many wine spas offer herbal teas made from grapes, so their guests can enjoy their internal benefits as well. Gayot lists the top ten wine spas in the world, which are all destination spas and use Caudalie products.
Kenwood Inn & Spa, located in Sonoma, California, sits atop a landscape of vineyards in a countryside of crimson-hued twilight. Kenwood Inn & Spa offers concierge service, complimentary breakfast, and a wine bar. Italian furnishings adorn many of the rooms. Kenwood Inn & Spa offers specials for those who want a weekend getaway to a place that allows them to escape the everyday. They also offer gift certificates for those who would like to give the joy of a wine spa.
For years, Vercauteren observed that the French suffered from less heart disease and lived longer than other people.
Villagio Inn & Spa, located in Yountville, California, welcomes guests with wine, champagne breakfast, afternoon tea, concierge service and more. Private patios or balconies extend from Italian-styled guest rooms, which include fireplaces and down comforters. Villagio Inn & Spa offers many specials.
The sea of royal colors, under moonlit evenings, will remind wine connoisseurs who visit Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa in Australia’s Yarra Valley of California’s Napa Valley. For those who would like to enjoy a little more privacy, each room includes a kitchenette. For those who would like to enjoy the utmost privacy, Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa offers private cottages. The spa also offers gift vouchers and wine packs for those who would like to bring a taste of the outback home.
Les Sources de Caudalie, in France’s Bourdeaux region, is the centerpiece of the Château Smith-Haute-Lafitte vineyards. The spa uses a natural water source, from 540 meters below the earth’s surface, and if guests request it, a medical team is available to offer suggestions on health-related issues.
The hotel, adjacent to the spa, offers varied activities. For those who would like to enjoy the outdoors, the staff offers golf and horseback riding. They also offer cooking classes with chef Franck Salein and wine tasting courses. Various packages are available for guests who wish to stay with them during the off-season.
Italy boasts Relais San Maurizio, located in the Reggio Emilia region. During the 17th century, the hotel, tucked within hills that overlook Muscatel and Dolcetto vineyards, housed the Franciscan community.
Ernest Hemingway made many trips to Italy, and for that reason the spa offers a wine and cocktail bar named in his honor. Guestrooms, at one time monks’ cells, are updated with amenities, such as minibars. Relais San Maurizio offers various packages for guests who wish to stay with them during the mid-week.
Peralada (Girona), Spain, in the Alt Emporda region, is home to the Hotel Golf Peralda & Wine Spa, near the beaches of Costa Brava. They offer their guests a buffet breakfast and availability to the famed restaurant El Celler. At the five star Hotel Golf Peralda, guests can enjoy one of two suites or fifty- three luxury rooms.
Gayot lists several wine spas from countries where the casual wine drinker may not expect them. Austria’s Wine & Spa Resort Loisium Hotel is located an hour from Vienna and less than a day’s drive from the Swiss Alps. Argentina’s Patios de Cafayete Hotel and Spa is located in a former colonial mansion and is home to El Esteco Winery. Silver Star Mountain Resort and Spa is in British Columbia, Canada. South Africa hosts Sante Winelands—the world’s second wine spa.
by Erick Petterson