Treehouse tastings are not common in wine country. However, several wineries do offer such heightened experiences designed to connect visitors with the soul of the winery and the terroir of the land in a whole new way. Meet four wineries offering unique treehouse wine tastings.
Château de Rayne Vigneau | Bommes, France
The director of this Graves-based Bordeaux château, Vincent Labergere, wanted to create a tasting experience that matched the sublimity of his Premier Grand Cru Classé Sauternes wines, he says. Made from Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Sémillon grapes, the world-class wines are full-bodied and sweet.
With the help of an instructor and supportive climbing ropes, visitors climb a 200-year-old cedar named Arsene to a 36-foot perch with panoramic views of the château’s vineyards in the Ciron and Garonne Valley. The treehouse fits up to eight guests.
Alongside breathtaking views, the experience includes a history of the property, an overview of the terroir, an introduction to Sauternes production and three wines to taste.
Sandy Road Vineyards | Johnson City, Texas
Nothing about Sandy Road Vineyards is typical.
“My wife Adrienne’s family has had property in the Texas Hill Country for almost 100 years,” says Cofounder Bryan Chagoly.
Five years ago, Adrienne’s brother-in-law Reagan Sivadon, a member of the winemaking team at Ron Yates Wines and Spicewood Vineyards, decided he wanted to plant a vineyard of his own. So, Bryan and Adrienne partnered with Reagan and his wife, Kristina, Adrienne’s sister, to launch Sandy Road Vineyards.
From the 200-square-foot deck 15 feet above ground, visitors get a full view of the entire estate, including the grazing longhorn cattle.
“It’s really experimental, and we are all curious to see how Spanish, French and Italian varieties thrive in Texas soil,” says Chagoly. Currently, in addition to typical Texas grapes like Sangiovese and Mourvèdre, the team also grows Mencía and Prieto Picudo.
“When it came to creating a hospitality program, we wanted something fun and different that reflected our entire philosophy,” he says. “We decided to build a treehouse in our big Texas live oak at the end of the vineyard, and we made it from recycled metal material.”
Quintessa | Saint Helena, California
“It is essential to us that the estate remains as much in its natural state as possible,” says Winemaker Rebekah Wineburg. “We are surrounded by native oak woodlands, with a lake in the center. You can see the Vaca Range to the east. We wanted to incorporate our love of nature into our hospitality experience.”
Quintessa offers a variety of tastings, including ones at three open-air pavilions nestled within oak trees overlooking the lake. While not technically treehouses, these spaces are similar and are ADA compliant, making them an excellent option for those with mobility issues. Plus, these experiences take a deep dive into the viticulture philosophy, terroir and geological history of Quintessa’s estate.
Treehouse Vineyards | Monroe, North Carolina
Treehouse Vineyards is the result of a burst of creativity born from desperation.
“Our 35-acre estate has been in my family for 240 years,” says Phillip Nordan, Jr., Treehouse’s winemaker. “When I was in high school, we moved in to help my grandmother, who was ill. We had to be there 24/7 to support her, and my dad came up with a crazy idea to build a treehouse with a phone in it. That way, he could have a date-night getaway with my mom without leaving the property.”
In 2004, Phil Nordan, Sr. planted Muscadine grapes to honor the state’s history of grape-growing. (Before Prohibition, North Carolina produced more wine than any other state in the country.) Later, he decided to rent out the treehouse to visitors.
“As soon as he made the treehouse available though, the phone started ringing off the hook,” Nordan, Jr. admits. “The first year, we rented it out for 330 nights.”
Today, the winery produces estate-grown Muscadine and Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot and other wines with grapes sourced from growers across North Carolina. The Nordan family sees Treehouse Vineyards as a community hub—and a romantic event space.
This article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine. Click here to subscribe today!