Written by DANIELLE BAUTER
Descending deep into the earth, wine caves provide ideal conditions for aging wine, where the earthly entombment maintains a consistently cold and humid temperature.
Perfect for the oenotourist, a wine cave is a unique way to experience the influence of the terroir – the special characteristic a region’s environment imparts on the flavor of a wine – underground. Here are some of the best.
Vena Cava Winery – Mexico
Driving up the dusty road to this winery in the heart of Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe, you might think that you’ve hit the Playa at Burning Man. But rest assured, you’ve arrived at Vena Cava Winery.
The owners showcase their passion for sustainability with a cave that is built from reclaimed fishing boats and other recycling materials.
After you’ve tasted from their menu that includes natural wines, take a stroll outside and try a taco or tostada from Troika, the resident food truck.
SpéléOenologie – France
A "hands-on" wine tasting, SpéléOenologie is a spelunking activity in the Rhone Valley. Taking advantage of the dark and humid conditions of the cave, each bottle stays underground for two years.
Don a jumpsuit, secure your harness and ropes, and descend over 300ft into the a cave along with a winemaker who explains his process with pride while you taste his wine in complete darkness.
Palmaz Vineyards – California
With a history of over 140 years of winemaking, Palmaz Vineyards in Napa Valley’s Coombsville area combines the most innovative winemaking techniques to create stellar wines.
Upon arrival at this winery that sprawls over 600 acres you’ll meet your own “ambassador,” who will lead you on a tour that explains the evolution of the grape from vineyard to bottle.
The tour showcases their emphasis on gravity-flow winemaking – a maze of domes and tunnels have been carved into the rock that extend over nearly 100,000 sq ft.
Palmaz was designed with three principles in mind: terroir isolation, gravity-flow and net-zero water consumption, meaning it's one of the world's most technologically advanced wineries.