5 Insanely Cool Wine Tasting Experiences You Need to Try
While we wouldn’t say that wine tasting is boring (anything involving alcohol is at least a little exciting), it’s not the most adventurous activity either. Lucky for oenophiles who want something more than idyllic rolling vineyards, there are a number of cool next-level options. From a Malibu wine safari to an underwater cellar in Croatia, these insanely cool wine tasting experiences are not to be missed.
Jarvis Estate Tasting Tour, Napa, CA
The first United States winery to be built completely underground, Jarvis Estate offers a slice of modern American history. The man-made 45,000-square-foot cave tunnels into the Vaca Mountains and features an interior adorned with bronze doors, arched alcoves and fiber optic chandeliers, which enhance its majestic beauty. The tour takes visitors through all the winemaking steps and includes a special visit to the Cuve Gallery, which houses a collection of 12 massive oak vessels assembled by French coopers. You’ll pass an underground waterfall near the end of the tour, which is responsible for steady cave temperatures and humidity. Finally, you’ll sample six Jarvis Estate and Reserve Collection wines in the tasting chamber.
Malibu Wine Safari, Malibu, CA
For lovers of animals, nature and wine, this Southern California adventure offers the best of all three worlds. Head to Saddlerock Ranch and climb into one of their custom-built, open-air safari vehicles. From there, you’ll zip around the 1,000-acre ranch, taking in the scenery, tasting local wines and visiting all types of animals, from zebras to alpacas. If you haven’t had your fill of Santa Monica Mountain wines by the time the tour is over, hit up the Malibu Wines tasting room for more wine, live music and a stationary school bus where you can hang out and drink.
Le Marathon des Chateaux du Medoc, Médoc, France
Now here’s a marathon we can get behind. The annual Le Marathon des Chateaux du Médoc is a five-day affair that is rife with wine tastings, vineyard tours, luncheons and dinner receptions. The actual marathon meanders through 59 vineyards in France’s Médoc region and offers wine (in addition to water) at aid stations throughout the run. Participants are encouraged to dress up, so clown wigs and crazy sunglasses are not uncommon sights. After a celebratory dinner following the race, it’s back to the grind for the 9K recuperation walk, during which you’ll see bands, taste food and, of course, drink wine along the way.
DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co. Culinary Tours, Locations Vary
For those who are more comfortable adventuring on two wheels, DuVine offers a number of wine-soaked culinary tours around the world. Spring for the Napa and Sonoma Harvest Bike Tour, where you’ll blend your own bottle of wine and taste local varietals after riding through Cali’s mountains and redwood forests. During the Tuscany Harvest Tour, you’ll pick grapes and sample the region’s finest Chianti Classicos and Brunellos. Or get your hands dirty in Burgundy riding through some of the world’s finest vineyards and helping workers pick grapes before joining them for lunch among the vines.
Edivo Underwater Cellars, Drace, Croatia
This Croatian winery, located on the Pelješac peninsula about an hour drive from Dubrovnik, ages their wines in a sunken ship. Supposedly, the ocean’s cool temperature improves the vino’s quality. The juice is stored in tightly-corked amphorae-style bottles in the underwater cellar for up to two years. Aquatic-leaning visitors can arrange a supervised dive to experience the underwater cellar themselves. But if you’re more of a landlubber, you can still taste Edivo’s wines in their bar in Drače.