Top Wine Wonderlands
Whether you want to splurge or save, these winter ski vacations are just the ticket for wine lovers.
Telluride's wine-focused eatery, Bon Vivant
Whether you want to drink in stellar sights with your wine during a dream vacation in the French Alps, or hit the slopes and a wine tasting in one afternoon, finding the perfect getaway at the right price can be an uphill battle. Wine Enthusiast gives you a lift to this winter’s hottest vacations, profiling five wine-focused ski trips to fit any budget.
1. Affordable Wine and Ski Overnight: Eldorado Hotel & Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Located just 25 minutes by car from the stunning, Southwestern-chic Eldorado Hotel & Spa (eldoradohotel.com), Ski Santa Fe offers premier skiing and snowboarding for all levels on the Sangre de Cristos Mountains. For $279, wine lovers can take advantage of the Ski and Sip Package, which includes two adult ski-lift tickets at Ski Santa Fe, deluxe overnight accommodations at Eldorado Hotel & Spa and tastes of New Mexico-made wines, including a Gruet Winery flight, which showcases sips of Gruet Winery Brut, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The package also includes a handy outdoor essentials kit, including sunscreen, lip balm, water bottle and walking map.
(Read about other places to sip, sup and stay in Santa Fe.)
2. Après-Ski Wining and Dining: Alpino Vino Wine Bar and Bon Vivant, Telluride, Colorado
One of Colorado’s most famous ski resorts, Telluride beckons with fantastic après-ski drinking and dining at Alpino Vino, a European-style hütte, situated directly off Lift 14. Proclaiming to be North America’s highest wine bar, perched at 11,966 feet, it’s the perfect place to sip great wine after a day spent swooshing through powder. For dinner, the cozy restaurant seats just 26 diners who arrive via enclosed snowcoach from the gondolas, then indulge in a five-course Italian-themed menu complete with wine pairings chosen from some 150 bottles, all while taking in exquisite views of the Wilson Range.
If you’re not staying for dinner, you can still find wine on the resort at Bon Vivant, an outdoor restaurant and sundeck that features more than 45 mainly French wine selections, such as Méo-Camuzet’s 2009 Clos Rognet Corton and Domaine de Beaurenard’s 2009 Boisrenard Châteauneuf-du-Pape, along with French-inspired fare like duck confit and elk sausage cassoulet. Lift tickets start at $106 per adult for a two-day pass; dining prices vary depending on selections.
3. Wine-Centric Weekend Getaway: The Pitcher Inn, Warren, Vermont
If you’re looking for a wine-centric ski weekend for two, head to the 11-room Pitcher Inn—renowned for its handcrafted furniture, art-filled rooms and excellent dining. Wine-and-ski packages start at $1,199, and include two nights of luxurious accommodation: in-room Champagne service upon arrival, daily full breakfast and afternoon tea, and lift tickets for two at Sugarbush for one day. The highlight? A private, five-course dinner for two in The Pitcher Inn wine cellar, featuring wine pairings with each course. Potential matches might include gratin of Blue Point oysters and leeks with Lucien Crochet’s 2009 Le Chêne Sancerre. And if you like romance, there’s plenty of that, too: The stone-walled dining space is situated in a 9,000-bottle wine cellar, and the private table is set under a hand-painted mural dedicated to Ariadne, the bride of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.
4. Luxurious Winter Wine Adventure: The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana
Cross-country skiers with a taste for fine wine will find something to love at the secluded 37,000-acre ranch at The Resort at Paws Up. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the luxurious ranch features 28 private vacation cabins (and 30 “glamping” tents) along with a Wine Enthusiast-award-winning restaurant, Pomp.
This winter, guests can enjoy a private, two-hour guided cross-country skiing tour in the Lubrecht Experimental Forest. Upon arrival, each guest will receive a complimentary bottle from global wine producer The Show—such as a 2010 Pinot Noir or a 2010 Garnacha—and while additional alcoholic beverages are not included in the nightly rate, diners can choose mouthwatering bottlings from the resort’s cellar, which includes more than 150 wines from the Pacific Northwest, among others. Potential pairings might include grilled quail with bacon-onion marmalade served with Pahlmeyer’s 2008 Pinot Noir or smoked bone-marrow tortellini with oxtail paired with K Vintners’s 2009 The Beautiful Syrah. Packages start at $985 per night, including three meals daily (wine pairings and activities at additional cost.)
5. Dream Wine and Ski Vacation: Courchevel 1850, Savoie, France
If price is no object, splurge on a fantasy vacation to the French Alps where drinking premium wine won’t be a problem: Manhattan restaurants il Buco and il Buco Alimentari & Vineria play host, and include an on-trip sommelier (either Paul Lang or Roberto Paris, depending on dates), and some of Europe’s finest wines. Offered in one-week bookings from January through March, il Buco’s owner, Donna Lennard and her husband Luca Boniciolli, a world-class ski instructor, will lead the trips, which highlight the restaurant’s cuisine and wines, not to mention skiing in the heart of the chic Courchevel ski resort.
Depending on the class of chalet selected, you’ll spend approximately $64,930–$194,790, which includes room and board for a group of 8–12 guests. While highly customizable, a typical day might include a ski tour of Les Trois Vallée, lunch in Michelin-starred, ski-in restaurant La Bouitte followed by a multicourse wine dinner with dishes like skillet-roasted Piedmont beef paired with a Mastrojanni’s Vigna Schiena d’Asino Riserva Brunello di Montalcino.