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The Latest in Wine Tourism: Meditation and Getting Your Hands Dirty

Sannino Vineyard accommodations on Long Island / Photo by Conor Harrigan

Dr. Thomas Plante, a psychologist who also teaches at Santa Clara University and Stanford University, cautions that vineyard life can be easily romanticized. “Sometimes people forget that it is hard work, there are stressors and you can get dirty.”

Still, Plante notes that the cyclical nature of vineyard work focuses one’s attention in ways that can help them “think, meditate and solve difficult problems.”

Like sipping a glass of wine, learning the basics of vineyard life can be restorative or even meditative. That’s why wineries are offering immersive programming to help guests connect to the rhythmic nature of vineyard work, and why more wine lovers are getting their hands dirty to try to clear their minds.

A firepit at The Vine on Middle Creek / Photo courtesy of Courtesy AirBnB

Staying a few days at a working vineyard also offers an invaluable education that drives home, as Plante says, how complex it is to turn “grapes into quality wine.”

Travel and lifestyle writer Nicole Letts stayed at Jordan Vineyard & Winery’s chateau suites in 2020 and 2021. Letts feels a key benefit to extended time on vineyard property is that, without the time constraints of a typical tasting, observation and learning happens at a leisurely pace, as there is more time to talk in-depth with grape growers and hosts.

Craig Fovel, owner of The Vine on Middle Creek, a bed and breakfast and vineyard in Fredericksburg, Texas, grows Cabernet, Petit Verdot and Mourvèdre for William Chris Vineyards.

The estate offers immersive vineyard tours that are “educational at any time of year,” he says, but the meditative piece comes during harvest, when Fovel offers guests scissors or clippers to help snip clusters off the vine. After a few hours at work in the vineyard, his team prepares a big celebratory meal.

“People really relax here,” he says. “They read a book, play games and rejuvenate.”

The Gables Wine Country Inn is a bed and breakfast in Sonoma County with a guest-accessible Riesling vineyard. Like Fovel, owners Pam and Larry Willis invite guests to learn pruning techniques, assist during harvest and pour wine produced from their vineyard for guests.