Esteemed Wine Escapes
W.E. explores a wide variety of learning vacations to find the best places for travelers to hone their chef skills while indulging in fine wine.
A good vacation should always entail copious amounts of fine food and wine, but bed-and-breakfasts across the country are now offering more than just a menu. Travelers can now hone their chef skills and learn wine pairing techniques on these culinary learning getaways. W.E. gives you our top picks for places to plan your next wine and food-focused escape.
Chateau Chantal (Traverse City, MI)
The bed-and-breakfast at Chateau Chantal, located on the Old Mission Peninsula, features 11 rooms, with views of the 65-acre estate. Weekend cooking classes, where guests learn to make such dishes as paella and wine sorbet, are offered twice a month from January through May and include a Chateau Chantal cellar tour and wine tasting of varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Wine seminars, led by Winemaker Mark Johnson, cover topics like the winemaking process and pairing wine with food and are offered in March and April.
CasaLana (Calistoga, CA)
At this Napa Valley bed-and-breakfast, you can enroll in a Boot Camp for Cooks course geared toward advanced cooks. Taught by Lana Richardson, a California Culinary Academy graduate, the class (a five hour or a five-day class, depending on the package you purchase) includes a range of topics, such as learning how to cook egg-based sauces, bake bread and pastries, efficiently select and store ingredients, and create a dinner party menu. Participants also travel 30 minutes west to places like the Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards for a three-course food and wine pairing dinner.
Beechwood Inn (Clayton, GA)
Located in the North Georgia Mountains, about 90 miles northeast of Atlanta, this bed-and-breakfast features a 3,000-bottle wine cellar that includes 400 varieties from around the world. Every evening, the Inn offers a complimentary glass of Beechwood Inn wine, made from local Georgia grapes. It also features a three-hour private cooking class where guests learn how to source local products for recipes, pair dishes with wine, and pick up various cooking tips and techniques.
Triple Creek Ranch (Darby, MT)
Situated alongside Trapper Peak in Western Montana, Triple Creek’s most notable feature is the glass cellar in the rooftop lounge, which houses more than 500 wines primarily from California, the Pacific Northwest and France. Guests can take a cooking class led by Jacob Leatherman—Triple Creek Restaurant’s executive chef—to learn how to make his favorite menu items, and Sommelier Jeremy White gives you wine pairing tips.
Row Adventures Culinary Whitewater Series (Merlin, OR)
Tour guides teach rafters how to cook with Northwest regional ingredients, such as wild salmon, Idaho potatoes, mushrooms and apples, campfire-style with Dutch ovens, along the Rogue River or Grande Ronde River, depending on which river trip is chosen. Inspired by Lewis and Clark, pioneers of the Oregon Trail who depended on Dutch ovens, cooking students will learn how to bake cake and cook prime rib in cocottes. Meals are paired with Oregon, Washington and Idaho wines complete with tasting note. All participants receive a complimentary Dutch oven and apron to take home.