Four Ways to Explore Wine Outside the Tasting Room

Explore Wine in the caves of the Rh么ne Valley.
Wine in the caves of the Rh么ne Valley / Photo by R茅mi Flament

When it comes to wine, experience and context are everything. Travel can serve up the ultimate dose of both. The next time you plan a trip, consider these four unique opportunities to learn by doing and drinking.

Wine in a Cave

(Ard猫che, Rh么ne Valley, France)

Rapha毛l Pommier, winemaker of Notre Dame de Cousignac, and Nicolas Bransolle, veteran颅 spelunking guide, take terroir exploration to new depths in the Rh么ne Valley. Their joint venture, Sp茅l茅Oenologie,颅 derived from the terms 鈥渟pelunking鈥 and 鈥渙enology,鈥 brings visitors deep into the caves of Saint Marcel d鈥橝rd猫che, where Pommier鈥檚 wines are aged in oak casks. English-speaking wine and cave specialists guide this two- to three-hour adventure, which culminates in a subterranean wine tasting. $68 and up.

America鈥檚 Most Unique Wine Tastings

A Tasting of Volcanic Proportions

(Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy)

The Etna Wine School combines history, geography and, of course, oenology in its half-day wine class on Mount Etna. On an expert-led winery tour, you鈥檒l discover the works of a palmento (traditional Sicilian structure for making wine), explore modern techniques used in high-altitude volcanic winemaking and taste indigenous grape varieties Carricante and Nerello Mascalese, typical Etna Bianco (white) and Etna Rosso (red) grapes, respectively. $120.


(Napa, California)

Known for its Bordeaux-style red blend, Insignia, Joseph Phelps Vineyards invites guests to craft their own cuv茅e. A wine educator leads a tasting of the varietal wines used to make Insignia鈥擟abernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc鈥攖o analyze the flavor profiles of the individual components. Then, participants blend their own, taste them against the group鈥檚 and compare their creations to the real thing. $100.

A Taste of Italy

(Multiple cities, U.S.)

Attenzione: If you can鈥檛 make it to Italy鈥檚 wine regions but want to dig deeper into Italian food and beverages, check out Eataly鈥檚 Classes & Events on your next trip to New York City, Chicago, Boston or Los Angeles. An enticing array of one-to two-hour classes varies monthly and seasonally. Past offerings have included Wine & Truffles of Piemonte, Grana Padano & Vespa Bianco Aperitivo with Joe Bastianich and the In Vino Veritas dinner series. $35鈥$165.

Published on January 15, 2018
Topics: Travel