Many wineries have gorgeous gardens. Some grow vegetables and herbs to use as produce, while others tend formal gardens that burst with peonies or pink roses. These six international standouts offer impressive grounds as well as an array of wines to sip amidst the flora.
Napa Valley, CA
As a young man, John Williams bought a bus ticket to Napa. A chance meeting with Larry Turley led to a lifelong career in the valley, where he was an early advocate of organic winegrowing. Frog’s Leap earned its California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) in 1989. This organic ethos inevitably spilled over into surrounding spaces that include the estate’s vegetable patches.
Today, a full-time gardener coordinates holistic management of the farm. The gardens feature orchards filled with citrus, persimmons and peaches, while plots dense with aromatic herbs and produce offer bounty for local restaurant partners, the community supported agriculture (CSA) program for employees and farm products. There are also flower beds full of nectar to sustain bees and other pollinators.
Quinta da Aveleda
Vinho Verde, Portugal
Thirty minutes outside the city of Porto sits Quinta de Aveleda, a winery in the Vinho Verde Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC). Clad in trailing ivy, this 17th-century country house is impressive. Walking tours show off the property, not just its wine, but also the historical gardens. At every turn, shades of green hint at the climate, one cooler and wetter than the rest of Portugal, where unique plants can thrive.
Rare species of century-old trees include Japanese Cedar, Swamp Cypress and American Sequoia. Showy Camellias, a relative of the tea plant, come in 100 species that dot red across the lush landscape. Sip a glass of chilled white wine at a mossy table hewed from stone, and revel in the secret garden atmosphere.
Château Lagrézette captures the quintessential ideal of French country living: an ancient stone house anchored to a vineyard and gardens. Built in the 15th century on the foundations of a fortified house from 300 or so years earlier, Château Lagrézette melds medieval architecture with Renaissance ornamentation, details that Alain Dominique Perrin restored after purchasing in 1980.
Though Lagrézette’s Malbec earns accolades, it’s the encircling gardens that delight budding horticulturalists. Rife with fruit trees, rose bushes and sculpted boxwoods, fountains and verandas tie the design together. With permission, guests can climb the dovecote, a structure from the 1700s that housed pigeons, to marvel at the colorful murals inside.
Rhône Valley, France
Inside a UNESCO Biosphere nature reserve, Chêne Bleu winery sits far from the madding crowd. Enticed by the isolation of this southern Rhône location, the Rolet family spent a decade restoring the property’s medieval priory, vegetable garden and organic vineyards on the slopes of the Dentelles de Montmirail.
They sought to recreate the self-sufficiency of Chêne Bleu’s 9th-century inhabitants through sustainably farmed orchards and produce patches, nourished by compost and pollinated by the apiary’s bees. Inspiration for the layout came from a medieval painting. In homage to the area’s stately trees, sculptures by tree artist Marc Nucera dot the winery grounds. His piece, Chêne Bleu, or “Blue Oak,” inspired the brand name. Winery visits include an optional horticultural tour.
Though treated like a tourist attraction with ticketed entry, the Biltmore house in Asheville compensates with sensory overload. Billed and trademarked as “America’s Largest Home,” George and Edith Vanderbilt’s Gilded Era estate spans four acres with 35 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces and 43 bathrooms.
Frederick Law Olmsted of New York City’s Central Park designed the gardens. Archival documents detail which plants belong in such sections as the Walled Garden, Historic Rose Garden and the Italian Gardens and Conservatory, the latter full of tropical plants. Estate vineyards supply grapes for North Carolina Chardonnay and Rosé Reserve wines, which can be enjoyed at the winery opened in 1985 by William Cecil, George’s great-grandson.
Stellenbosch, South Africa
As it turns out, the dirt suited for DeMorgenzon’s Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay is also amenable to spring and summer blossoms. Located in Stellenbosch, DeMorgenzon devotes almost twice its vineyard acreage to flowers and other plants friendly to insects and bees, much of it woven between the vines.
Panoramic views capture the Atlantic Ocean behind Cape Town, Table Mountain and Cape Point. Like a painting, ocean blues and mountain purples complement the wildflower color palette. Spot tall spikes of larkspur, flat petals of viscaria or cheerful blooms of cornflowers alongside a glass of Garden Vineyards Rosé.
Published on July 28, 2020