In the Dark: Weggis, Switzerland
The Swiss are diving into the culture of dark-room wine tasting. At the Park Weggis, a boutique hotel located on the stunning Lake Lucerne, guests can opt for Wine In the Dark and enjoy tasting in a blacked-out cellar. During the hour-long tasting, five wines are selected by hotel sommelier Michael Jenni and then individually tailored for groups. The goal? To heighten your olfactory senses—your sensitive palate will pick up new fragrances and tastes.
Located 65 feet below the Champagne Charles Heidseck Pavilion lies a labyrinth of forty-seven crayères ("chalk cellars"). These crayères date back to the second century and, unsurprisingly, serve as an integral part of Champagne’s aging process. Those visiting this UNESCO World Heritage site can enjoy a Champagne flight inside the historical, chalky walls.
As Close to the North Pole as You Can Get: Svalbard, Norway
Norway’s best and largest wine cellar of 20,000 bottles isn’t found on the mainland—it’s located on the Svalbard Islands some 650 miles south of the North Pole. Huset ("house") offers several different two-hour-long underground tasting experiences, including Champagne, Riesling and wine paired with chocolate. And when you’re done, you can head out on one of the property’s curated adventures where you’re sure to catch a glimpse of the mighty polar bear, known locally as Kongen av Arktis (the King of the Arctic).
The island of Gran Canaria is the result of thousands of years of volcanic eruptions; it's known for its black lava and white sand beaches. It’s also home to a geological gem—an inactive volcanic crater called the Caldera de Bandama. Visitors are encouraged to take a 3.5-mile trip down to the floor of the caldera ("crater"), to take in its grand perspective. At the end of the trail, partake in a wine tasting in underground rooms built from volcanic debris at Hoyos de Bandama situated next to the caldera.
Way Above Sea Level: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Clink glasses at elevation: Jackson Hole Winery is credited with being the highest winery in the world at 6,229 feet. While the grapes are primarily grown in Sonoma and Napa, all wines are produced and cellared at this soaring elevation at the base of the Teton Mountains. What was once an old dairy barn now serves as the tasting room, where guests can sip and swirl a number of wines, like the Catch & Release Zinfandel or the Rendezvous Red.
Recommended reading: View all wine stories here.