From Germany to Chile, boutique barriques offer a wine-country stay more immersive than most. Plus, Costco has a wedding cake for if you love cheese so much you want to marry it
Some of us love wine so much, we dream about swimming around in a barrel full of the stuff. And while that fantasy is highly unsanitary and probably a little dangerous (try a bathtub instead), certain wine-minded holiday-spot proprietors are offering an alternative that’s just as immersive: wine-barrel hotel rooms.
The travel trend has been popping up around the world: In the village of Cambres, in Portugal’s Douro Valley, Quinta da Pacheca winery added 10 giant wine barrels to its on-premises lodging offerings in 2017. Each barrel room is outfitted with a double bed, a full bathroom, and a private terrace, and plopped among the quinta’s vines. “They are a real success in the high but also in the low season,” Ricardo Rebelo, a staff member at the hotel told Unfiltered. “At this time we are already receiving bookings for 2020.”
Courtesy of Quinta da Pacheca, De Vrouwe van Stavoren, Cava Colchagua and Alde Gott
In the small village of Sasbachwalden in Germany’s Baden region, visitors to the Alde Gott winery can experience Schlafen im Weinfass (that’s German for “Sleeping in Wine Barrel”), featuring eight 8,000-liter barrels, each with a charming vinous address, such as “Rieslingplatz” (“Riesling Place”) and “Burgunderplatz.” A one-night-aged experience for two includes two bottles of wine and breakfast, plus views overlooking the Rhine Valley, though bookings for 2019 are already almost topped up here as well.
You don’t even need to be at a winery to get a turn in the barrel. At Hotel de Vrouwe van Stavoren in the Netherlands, guests can stay in one of the 12 novelty wine-barrel rooms that were shipped to the property from Switzerland. There are two different barrel room sizes—the smaller is 15,000 liters—and one of the larger barrels serves as a “wellness suite” for two, which could hold 23,000 liters of wine but instead has a couch, a Jacuzzi and a steam room.
And it’s not just a Euro-centric trend. Chile’s Cava Colchagua is an all–wine barrel hotel, created by the Ravanal wine family using barrels that actually once held early vintages of their wine. With more than 12 acres of land, the property includes eight two-story barrels, a spa, a pool and a lagoon.
If you’re a Stilton who’s found your life Port-ner, Costco has you covered for the wedding—with a five-tier all-cheese wedding “cake.” Last May, just in time for wedding season, the warehouse club partnered with specialty produce and foods store Sid Wainer & Son to launch its Cheese Lover Artisan Wedding Cake, a union of sweet cheddar, Danish blue cheese, Spanish goat cheese, Tuscan sheep’s cheese and French brie. Couples looking to walk down the aisles both marital and dairy can get a cake on Costco’s website for $440 and plan on it serving up to 150 wedding guests (for cocktail hour? Dessert? All night? With charcuterie? Yes.). “The reception has been incredible,” Jamie Wainer of Sid Wainer & Son told Unfiltered, pun possibly intended. “This idea has really appealed to brides looking for that ‘wow’ factor at their wedding.”
Since the cheese wheels are shipped undecorated, said brides (and grooms) can choose to add flowers, ribbons, edible garnishes or what have you to take the “wow” to the next level, but many have expressed an interest in a more traditional look for their nontraditional wedding non-cakes: “Now that brides have shown an eager interest, we are working to bring all-white-cheese cakes to the site as well,” said Wainer. And worry not about the wine: Bubbly still makes a perfect pairing for a cheesy wedding cake.
The fashion world runs on wine: Just last week, haute couture and Haut-Brion teamed up to raise money in the fight against AIDS, and another style icon in the news—Karl Lagerfeld, who died this week—dabbled in Bordeaux chic himself a few years ago, designing the label for Château Rauzan-Ségla’s 2009 vintage.
The latest wine with designs on designers is a California belle, though: The new JNSQ, a Central Coast rosé and Sauvignon Blanc dressed up in a bespoke bottle meant to evoke a vintage perfume atomizer, made its debut this month at the Rodarte Fall/Winter 2019 runway show. Rodarte founders Kate and Laura Mulleavy designed mesh “garments” for the bottles, tied at the neck with a rose, for the event’s celebrity attendees, including known enophile Diane Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Brie Larson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Dakota Fanning and Shailene Woodley.
“JNSQ shared the runway with some of the entertainment and fashion industries’ most influential icons, which made for an exciting initial unveiling,” Clarence Chia, VP of marketing and e-commerce for the wine’s parent company, told Unfiltered via email. “JNSQ has plans to break into the wedding and bridal space … The one-of-a-kind bottle has already become a keepsake to many, and we anticipate it quickly becoming the perfect celebratory gift or addition to any bridal tablescape.” (Right there next to the wedding cheese-wheel cake, of course.)
They’re reusable, too: The bottles have resealable glass stoppers. The Wonderful Company that developed the brand (also the parent company of Paso Robles’ Justin winery) suggests repurposing them as an olive-oil vessel or a vase for flowers, or perhaps a wine-themed home for your goldfish, to decorate the wine barrel you live in.
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