Three Modern Ways To Do Wine Country
From transportation to stay, wine country is experiencing a modern movement.
There's only one thing better than a fresh-opened bottle of wine: enjoying several glasses of wine right at the source — in wine country. Whether in Napa, California or Provence, France, discovering the vineyards and uncorking wine bottles where they were created is perhaps the most sophisticated way to catch a buzz, and now, there are countless ways to go about a tasting trip.
Vineyard visits used to all be fairly similar by design. One would book a car or van to skip across two to four wineries, all which consist of fairly traditional interiors, only to return back to reality by the end of the day. While the experience is dreamy regardless of the details, the wine country has since upped the ante. Now, options and possibilities are endless.
With their ride program just for the wine country, UberWINE wants you to visit the vineyards without having to book a car service way in advance (and as of this summer, this feature is available seven days a week!). That's right — no designated driver or sky-rocket car rates needed. Wine companies are also thinking outside the box (or the bottle, rather) and taking their interior decor to the next level. For instance, Ashes and Diamonds, one of Napa Valley's newest wineries, is a mid century haven geared toward the design-minded. And finally, wine-goers can take it easy and make a several-night stay out of their visit at savvy, modern retreats — without breaking the bank. For example, the Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa is a newly renovated, 50 room roadside retreat. Here's how these wine country novelties actually work.
It comes as no surprise that when the innovators behind Uber noticed the need for an easy, safe, and affordable way for riders to tour wine country, they created a solution. According to head of product marketing at Uber, Laura Jones, "UberWINE gives travelers the opportunity to request a personal driver to take them around Santa Barbara’s breathtakingly beautiful wine country. The best part? UberWINE allows visitors to choose their destinations, and spend as much time as they’d like at each. Plus, those hopping from vineyard to vineyard no longer need to worry about the hassle of renting a car or organizing a driver." Sounds like heaven, right? It only gets better.
As simple as requesting a regular Uber, calling an UberWINE is actually much easier than (and way less expensive than) alternative options. Laura breaks it down for us, stating, "When you open the app, you’ll see 'WINE,' and when you select it, you’ll be prompted to enter your destination (a winery!) and request a car. If you request 'WINE,' you’ll be paired with an UberX vehicle that seats up to four people, and if you request 'WINEXL,' you’ll be paired with an UberXL vehicle that comfortably seats up to six people." So, what's the cost of booking an all-day wine country chauffeur through Uber? That depends on your itinerary, but here are the basics:
UberWINE Rate: Minimum fare: $10.95
UberWINEXL Rate: Minimum fare: $11.10
Next on our wine country novelty list is a modern take on tasting. Ashes & Diamonds, a Napa-Valley newcomer, consists of a mid century yet vibrant tasting room and modern architecture designed by LA-based designer Barbara Bestor. The property resembles a campus, with minimal, white buildings and a courtyard-like outdoor area. Founder Kashy Khaledi, a music-industry veteran, created this spot with younger consumers in mind — a crowd Napa has struggled to attract for decades.
Kheladi created a team of high-profile winegrowers and makers to create a menu of delicious reds and whites. He even brought in Brian Roettinger, designer behind Jay Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail album cover, to design the bottle's cutting-edge, black and white label. With aspirations to create a cultural hub in Napa, Kheladi even created a membership program, which offers early access to events around food, music, and film; access to an exclusive members’ lounge, and complimentary tastings in addition to the wines. Not only has Kheladi created a stunning spot for wine lovers, but he's also managed to establish a youthful community of art, wine, and design lovers right in the capitol of wine country.
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa
It's hard to imagine staying the weekend in wine country without spending every last penny you have. Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa is a modern retreat that wants you to visit California's Calistoga — and stay the weekend — for as little as $125 per night.
Napa Valley's modern movement continues at this retreat, which is designed by New York-based design firm AvroKo and features a mid century, camper-style aesthetic. Originally a 1940s roadside motel, this spot received a major renovation. The motor lodge even offers a spa, known as the MoonAcre Spa and Baths, which are inspired by classic tiled European bath houses. This spot offers mineral baths, a grape seed body scrub, and even DIY mud baths. This retreat also believes that the wine country is an experience, and offers activities like group hikes, lessons from local artisans at Maker Mondays, and a bevy of boardgames. Oh, and this spot allows dogs, so feel free to bring the whole fam.