Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

A Wine Lover’s Guide to the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean is one of the hottest spots for a cruise and definitely the place to be if you’re indulging in a glass of wine. Its terroir, another way to say soil and climate, is perfectly balanced for growing wine grapes, so the Mediterranean could really just be considered one huge vineyard. Here are five wineries that make us want to pack our bags ASAP.

  1. Quinta da Pacheca Estate

    A picnic in the park is fine, but a picnic in a vineyard is as picturesque as it gets. Make your perfect picnic last even longer with an overnight stay at the Quinta da Pacheca estate in Portugal’s Douro Valley. Here you can quite literally sleep in a giant wine barrel and wake up in the middle of a vineyard, which sounds as refreshing as the wine tastes. The 140-acre estate has 10 wine barrels equipped for guests. The 270-square-foot interior has a private bathroom, a walk-in shower, a circular bed, a private deck, Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a skylight. If sleeping in a barrel isn’t your thing, there are traditional suites available too.

  2. Cantine Marisa Cuomo Winery

    An Italian vineyard typically boasts twisted vines along rolling hills, however, nothing can compare to sipping the finest white wines in Italy 1,300 feet above sea level. Marisa Cuomo, a winery in the village of Furore, sits magically between the sky and the sea on the Amalfi Coast. Some call it the Divine Coast because a lot of courage, belief and luck of the Divine were needed for this coastal winery to thrive since they use only native grapes to stand out in the prestigious wine region. Terraced gardens and vineyards cling to the cliffs, producing wines as extreme as the views. Take a tour and you’ll probably see donkeys and mules roaming around, trying to get a taste for themselves.

  3. Bodegas Ysios Winery

    The only winery in the world designed by Santiago Calatrava, a renowned Spanish architect, is located north of Laguardia in Spain. Ysios Winery is a symbol of the new Rioja in La Rioja, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. The winery is an extremely long, pixilated-looking landmark that mirrors the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range surrounding it. The building is made up of copper-stained cedar, which resembles giant wine barrels. Aluminum bars form the wavy roof, which portrays the dialogue between construction and nature.

  4. Venetsanos Winery

    Santorini’s turquoise caldera can be viewed above the port of Athinios at Venetsanos Winery. It has four different levels that reflect each stage during the winemaking process. It was the first industrial winery on the island and is eccentrically designed, constructed from above while moving downwards which made shipping the wine from the port super easy back in the day. If you visit this winery, you can taste wines that have been produced since 1947. From volcanic islands and stunning views, it’s no wonder why this hidden gem built into the hills of Santorini is aptly nicknamed Sunset Terrace.

  5. Chateau La Coste

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    Vue de La Chapelle, superpositions de verts. Photo @leo.djn

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    Chateau La Coste is in the heart of Provence in southern France and is a place where architecture, art and wine thrive together. Visitors of all ages can wander around the property, since it offers something for everyone. There are wine workshops led by experts in a 19th-century farmhouse and art and architecture workshops that immerse visitors to be as creative as possible. With sculptures, vineyards and endless exhibitions on food, wine and art surrounding every visitor, so it isn’t hard to uncork imagination and creativity.

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