Grapes are nature's antioxidant. We all know that the benefits of drinking wine (specifically red wine) are rooted in science. The medicinal and cosmetic qualities of grape and wine have actually been known since ancient times as royals discovered that rubbing grape juice on their skin resulted in a fresher, more vibrant appearance.
Centuries later in 1970, researchers at the University of Bordeaux in France began studying grapes and their potential health benefits. The French population, known for their high-fat, bread-laden meals, had a much lower incidence of heart disease than other countries and many believe it was a direct cause-effect of the country’s love for red wine (the so-called “French Paradox”).
Scientists found that grapes contain a powerful plant compound, polyphenols, which serves as antioxidants that eliminate free radicals (damaged cells within the body) and increase cellular turnover. They also found that these polyphenols form a protective layer on the skin and stimulate the renewal of both cells and collagen, leading to a more refined, youthful appearance.
Many scientists believe that these polyphenols are up to 50 times stronger than vitamin E and 20 times stronger than vitamin C. Grapes also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B1, C, E and K, in addition to magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
Thus, wine therapy and vinotherapy were born. French spas were among the first to introduce treatments with wine-based products. It wasn’t long before leading spas all over the world jumped on this anti-aging bandwagon.
At the Goretti family vineyard in Umbria, Italy, daughters Sara and Giulia Goretti began realising that the grapes they so carefully tended for their wines also had significant benefits for skin. In 2010, they partnered with a local chemist and began producing wine therapy cosmetics — skin, bath and body products using the grape juice, seeds and skins. Today, their wine therapy line is sold around the world.
Visiting a wine spa as part of your wine travels should be a priority in your trip planning. Winerist’s top vinotherapy hotels include...
1. Les Sources de Caudalie - Bordeaux, France
Les Sources de Caudalie is the perfect place to relax for those who appreciate nature, but don’t want to be too far from Bordeaux city centre (it’s just a 20 minute drive away). Located amongst the vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Graves, the hotel is a charming, cosy retreat boasting an impressive vinotherapy spa as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant!
The spa offers a huge range of wine therapies to help you relax and unwind including a “Crushed Cabernet Scrub”, baths and body wraps using grape and vine extracts, and nourishing skin treatments using fresh grapes.
2. The Yeatman - Douro Valley, Portugal
Located in the city of Porto, the cellars of The Yeatman are home to one of the most comprehensive collections of Portuguese wines. This hotel is discretely themed with intriguing artifacts and pictures provided by different Portuguese wine producers. Everything has been created for the wine lover including the unique barrel room (pictured above).
In their Caudalie-themed spa you can enjoy treatments like a barrel bath immersion, a relaxing Vichy shower massage and other signature body and facial treatments. What we love most about The Yeatman’s spa is their usage of natural ingredients taken from the vineyard. The anti-oxidant properties of these ingredients all help contribute to beauty, wellness and vitality, so after one of their treatments you’ll feel so well-rested and raring to go.
3. Le Tre Vaselle Resort & Spa - Umbria, Italy
Le Tre Vaselle Resort is situated in a peaceful village between Perugia and Assisi in the heart of the Umbrian countryside. This 17th century building has luxuriously comfortable rooms and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The resort's newly open Bella Uve Wellness Centre is more than your typical spa - even its name evokes the grapes and wine connected to the resort (Bella Uve means “Beauty from Grapes”). At the resort, wine is not only considered to be pleasurable for the palate, but it is also thought of as a key ingredient for good health. Taking this on board, there is a wide range of great vinotherapy treatments on offer for any visiting guest.
Photo: Relais San Maurizo
4. Relais San Maurizo - Piemonte, Italy
This stunning 17th-century monastery, turned 31-room Relais and Chateau hotel, on a hilltop in Italy's Piedmont wine region houses Caudalie's second wine therapy spa. Set in a stone and wood building overlooking the vineyards, the spa has an indoor pool, mud bath, hammam and several oak barrel baths for wine treatments such as the Red Vine Bath. The recommended length of stay here is six days; you might be wondering how you would fill your time, but on top of the spa, there are also many activities such as fishing, biking, truffle hunting, riding and wine tastings which will keep your busy throughout your stay.
Photos: Andrassy Rezidencia
5. Andrassy Rezidencia - Tokaj, Hungary
In the heart of Hungary’s famous Tokaj wine region is the beautiful Andrassy Rezidencia. We love this 5-star hotel thanks to its offering of the very best Hungarian wine and food, as well as unforgettable spa treatments and hospitality of the highest quality.
The spa services promise to provide rest, relaxation and pampering to the highest level. Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa comes complete with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and cave bath, a sauna, steam room, salt chamber, shower cabins, and of course, the wine therapy option in their VinoSense Spa.
6. Cavas Wine Lodge - Mendoza, Argentina
The Cavas Wine Lodge is set between the beautiful surroundings of the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the luscious, green vineyards of Mendoza - the heart of the Argentine wine country. Having opened in 2005, it was the first accommodation of its kind in South America - a hotel dedicated purely to wine.
In the full-service spa we love the sumptuous Vinotherapy Pack which features a Bonarda (red grape) scrub, a Malbec bath and a Torrontes (white wine) moisturising treatment, followed by a massage.
On top of that, organic food and award-winning local wines are served in the courtyard restaurant or on the terrace of your private villa in the vineyards.
Photos: Kenwood Inn and Spa
7. Kenwood Inn & Spa - Sonoma, USA
Surrounded by vineyards in California’s Sonoma Valley, the Kenwood Inn and Spa is a mediterranean-style boutique villa specialising in wine therapies such as the Sauvignon Massage. From massages on a terrace overlooking the vineyards to the Vinolift Anti-Ageing facial (grape products are rich in collagen) there's no shortage of choice to help you feeling fresh and rejuvenated.