Do you find yourself dreaming of sun-soaked holiday destinations as you move from country to country down the wine aisle? Well, a wine-inspired holiday is easier to arrange than you might think – at Prestige Holidays we have a number of luxury vinous retreats which feature stunning vineyard settings and world-class wine lists.
Often I get clients after my own heart, who are looking for intimate country hotels which offer a taste of the good life – properties surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and citrus orchards. There are two destinations that we always highly recommend for an authentic wine experience in an idyllic location: Sicily and Croatia.
For millennia the fertile soil and long summers of Sicily have nurtured grape vines, ever since the Greek god Dionysus first planted them on the island (or so myth would have it). Sicily now has 23 DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata – zones which produce an abundance of grapes, used both “in purezza” or blended.
Wines to look out for:
- Nero D’Avola
- Etna Rosso
Relais Santa Anastasia, Cefalu
I fell in love at first sight with the twelfth-century abbey that is the Relais Santa Anastasia, nestled in its own wine estate. The rustic road that leads you to the front door takes you through row upon row of vineyards and olive trees, with a gorgeous outlook down the valley and out over the sea. This cosy and inviting hotel has just 29 rooms, spread out across the wings of the beautiful stone building.
The undeniable highlight for me was a tour of the winery cellar and guided tasting, which took place in the Abbey’s shady central courtyard. Their wine output is varied, from fresh, floral Chardonnays to a full and fruity Merlot that was so good I had to try it again with my meal in the restaurant, La Corte dell’Abate. Head Chef Antonio Bonadonna presents stunning Sicilian cuisine, accompanied by a fantastic selection of house wines – and they really are from the house!
Our team has noted that the WiFi connection can be somewhat intermittent, but we see this as a blessing in disguise – no buzzing phones or distracting laptops to drag you back into the real world! I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough for pure, laid-back escapism.