Oh, the bounty of the harvest… The ink-black Sangiovese, regal purple pinot noir and the plump pearl of a chardonnay.
We’re all about the mighty grape this time of year – gathering, stomping and, of course, sipping the fruits of all that labor. Even better if there’s a rolling vineyard view to go with that vintage, like the ones spied from the mod cottages of Napa Valley’s Carneros Inn (pictured above).
Where to swill right now? We’ve selected some of our best boutique hotels for oenophiles, set on working vineyards or in top-notch wine regions from Sonoma to Tuscany. Cheers, cent’anni, santé… it’s five o’clock somewhere.
H2 Hotel: California Wine Country, United States
Green, by nature
Setting the eco-conscious standard in Sonoma, the H2 Hotel has sleek, wood-floored modern rooms in muted earth tones that are fashioned and furnished from sustainable materials. Bath products are locally made and guests are encouraged to refill reusable bottles with still or sparkling water from a bar on each floor. The living roof is rich with succulents and a protected stream runs next-door. The talented chef at the hip restaurant is a veteran of the French Laundry and the bar serves cocktails created from local ingredients. Smith Extra: Two cocktails at Spoonbar.
Conti di San Bonifacio Wine Resort: Tuscany, Italy
Restyled rustic farmhouse
Presiding over a swathe of rolling green Tuscan lands, Conti di San Bonifacio hotel is a restored stone villa whose surrounding farm and vineyards provide most of the ingredients for your meals. Taste wine straight from the source and revel in relaxed rooms with designer-pedigreed polish. If you’re feeling especially Italian, hire the whole five-room farmhouse and make like a master vintner. Smith Extra: Two glasses of Conti Di San Bonifacio Estate prosecco and a platter of cold meats.
Mirabó de Valldemossa: Mallorca, Spain
Sun-kissed 16th-century olive farm
A picturesque 16th-century olive farm on Mallorca, Mirabó de Valldemossa hotel boats a breathtaking array of views out over the surrounding mountains from its sun-flooded rooms and stone terraces. Apart from the peaceful historic village nearby, you’ll feel like you’ve found your own private wilderness – if, of course, living off the beaten path included nine romantic rooms, a palm-fringed outdoor pool, welcoming service and aromatic gardens. Smith Extra: A bottle of red, white or rosé from the hotel’s vineyard.
Domaine des Roullets: Vaucluse (Provence), France
A rustic-chic retreat at the foot of the Luberon Mountains, Domaine les Roullets hotel in Vaucluse is the perfect Provençal pied-a-terre. With Roman roots, mediaeval history and buckets of charm, this special maison d’hôtes also offers pristine grounds, stylishly subtle decor, armfuls of intriguing art and objets trouvés, plus panoramic views to die for. Smith Extra: A bottle of Domaine les Roullets’ own organic red wine.
Herdade da Malhadinha Nova: Alentejo, Portugal
Wine and wicker
Home to a working winery, serene spa and remarkable restaurant, Herdade da Malhadinha Nova hotel is a sense-stimulating experience in the Portuguese countryside. You can sample local wines, go for a dip in the infinity pool or taste creations from the mind of a stellar chef – all with the golden backdrop of Alentejo. Smith Extra: 10 per cent off in the spa and restaurant, and a jar of home-made jam to take home.
Farmhouse Inn: California Wine Country, United States
Nestled away outside Healdsburg in the winery-packed Russian River Valley, the Farmhouse Inn hotel greets guests with laid-back Sonoma friendliness and natural beauty. Understatedly luxurious rooms are the perfect place for romantics to hide away, but you’d be missing out if you stayed inside, when on-site offerings include a wrap-around porch, pool and spa, fire pit and superb farm-to-table Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s the perfect base for busy days out exploring wine country. Smith Extra: A bottle of Russian River Valley wine on arrival, and a VIP wine-tasting pass for two, redeemable at 15 partner wineries.