It may not seem like it, but wine is a family thing. It’s brought out during special occasions and passed down from generation to generation. It’s also often the first taste of alcohol younger family members are allowed to have, “just this once.” This is why it only makes sense to keep wine production in the family. If you’re looking to add more color to your next vacation, consider visiting a vineyard—the friendly, open hospitality, gorgeous views, and fanciful meals can only be good for your soul. Here are some small-scale wineries to get you started.
Salcheto Winery, Tuscany
Their bottles boast a green carbon footprint sticker—a first for a European winery—thanks to Salcheto’s organic production process. In 2011, it became fully self-sufficient, what with the team’s efforts to cultivate healthy soil, maintain balance in the estate’s ecosystem, reduce water use and pollution, and control energy and material consumption, as well as gas emissions. Salcheto’s energy independent cellar system and self-produced fertilizers via composting are testament to its ability to combine technology, hard work, and dedication to produce romantic and elegant wines. Guests can take part in cellar tours, wine tastings, and cooking classes, and they can even stay in 13th century farmhouse suites with spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside.
Silverlake Vineyard, Chonburi Province, Thailand
Founded in 2002, Silverlake was established with only three things in mind: good wine, good music, and the chance to enjoy both in a lush garden setting. What makes Silverlake worth visiting are the live music shows: local and international acts, and even a music festival, letting their guests enjoy spirited performances under the stars or amidst a setting sun. Visitors may also stroll along the garden, take tours of the winery, shop at the newly established mall, and eat at the restaurant. Stay the night at the Movie House, where each room is an homage to Thai Cinema, to honor vineyard co-founder and actress Supansa Nuangpirom.
Azienda Agricola Montefioralle, Florence, Italy
This small winery, spanning two hectares, came to the hands of the Sieni family when they took over management from a church in 1964, and in the ‘90s, they took ownership of it completely. Located in the village of Montefioralle, with a community of 70 inhabitants, the Montefioralle Winery counts among its very few neighbors the magnificent Montefioralle Castle, and is open for wine tastings and cellar visits. A limited production of only 10,000 bottles a year lets the family produce high quality Chianti Classico wine, down to the last drop.
Fritz Underground Winery, Cloverdale, California
Founded in 1979, the Fritz family’s winery is built into the side of a hill at the top of California’s Dry Creek Valley, a pioneer of what they call “gravity-flow winemaking.” The Fritzes value tradition and sustainability, relying on naturally cool temperatures to produce and store their wines and cutting down on energy usage by foregoing pumps and harnessing gravity to move their juice instead. Guests can enjoy their artisanal handcrafted wine on an on-site picnic, partake in various events and wine tastings, tour the wine cave, or go for walks in the vineyard.