Pack Your Bags (And Scuba Gear) For These Wild Winery Experiences

published Jul 19, 2017
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(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani)

Europeans have been doing the wine thing so well for so long that it’s no shocker they felt the need to take things up a notch. Dig deep and (literally) dive into these two wild new wine experiences.

Last year, France opened an Epcot Center-esque amusement park dedicated to wine — La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux — and now Croatia and Italy are following suit by creating next-level wine tourism experiences with an underwater winery (yes, really) and an underground winery, respectively.

(Image credit: Edivo)

Located on the Croatian peninsula of Pelješac, Edivo Vina is the country’s first underwater winery, according to Refinery29. Visitors can scuba dive with staff members to the below-sea-level winery, where they’ll get an up-close look at the millennia-old winemaking process — which includes aging the wine in submerged amphorae, or ancient clay jugs with two handles and a narrow neck, just like the ones that would be found and excavated from Greek or Roman archaeological sites and shipwrecks from antiquity. (Speaking of, Edivo Vina diver-visitors will also get an up-close-and-personal look at an old sunken boat at the bottom of the Mali Ston Bay.)

Not into diving? Don’t worry, you can still take home a bottle from the above-sea-level shop. And according to Conde Nast Traveler, the Balkan nation is one of the cultures that drinks the most wine in the world, so you know this is the good stuff.

Or, you can pop down to Italy, where a group of architecture students from various European studios and schools competed to create the perfect underground wine cave in the ancient, recently revived city of Matera, in Southern Italy.

(Image credit: Delfino Sisto Legnani)

Designed by Belgian studio Architecten de Vylder Vinck Taillieu (DVVT), the three-level Enoteca Dai Tosi winery was created within one of the city’s historical caves and was inspired by the client’s Venetian background, according to designboom. It’s meant to “become a familiar and inviting location — a convivial and welcoming place where one may savor Italian wines and chicchetti,” defined by stone and jewel-toned emerald green particleboard furniture and decor elements and Art Deco-era glass fixtures.

A run-down ruin of an ancient city until recently, Matera is currently enjoying a revival as a hipster haven and Airbnb hotspot, according to The Guardian. A nod to the near-prehistoric cave dwellings or Sassi – literally “the stones” – the Enoteca Dai Tosi winery design joins local short-term rental apartments in “providing the economic platform for a more prosperous future.” The Guardian even goes so far as calling it that “on top of enjoying a remarkable tourist boom, Matera will also be 2019’s European capital of culture.”

Time to get to these two unique wine destinations before they become too mainstream, then!